TORONTO – Actor Gerard Butler, talk show hosts Kelly Ripa and Dr. Phil and comedian Russell Peters added some star power to the 2013 Juno Awards in Regina on Sunday night — appearing in a video-taped opening with host Michael Bublé.
A little later in the show, British boy band One Direction appeared on video to introduce performer Carly Rae Jepsen and Shania Twain appeared in a clip to promote the MusiCounts program.
The broadcast got off to a shaky start with audio problems and the sight of a crew member nearly running into Bublé as he entered the arena. It ended on a sombre note with a low-key performance by k.d. lang, a quick reference to the passing of Rita MacNeil and the audience singing “I want to go home.”
Bublé fired off some one-liners in his opening monologue, calling Regina “the city that rhymes with fun” and referring to a local commodity.
“Potash is not what you think it is,” he said. “It is totally not what I thought it was either.”
Bublé also addressed becoming a father for the first time.
“I have heard the horror stories about no sleep and the late-night feeds and the little poopy diapers and the puking,” he said. “I figure it’s just like being on tour with Justin Bieber.”
The night’s first award, Songwriter of the Year, went to Leonard Cohen. Presenter Adam Cohen accepted it on his father’s behalf.
“I know that he has a deep, deep fondness for the love that Canada has always expressed for him,” said Cohen, who is also a singer-songwriter.
Not surprisingly, the Single of the Year award went to Carly Rae Jepsen’s ubiquitous “Call Me Maybe.”
“It’s crazy to think that one song can change your whole life,” the B.C. pop star said before thanking a long list of people including Justin Bieber and her boyfriend Matthew Koma (who is on tour in Europe opening for Ellie Goulding).
Jepsen also picked up the Juno for Album of the Year, beating out like Bieber, Celine Dion, Hedley and Marianas Trench.
Bieber, who is currently on tour in Europe, won the Fan Choice Award.
Anne Murray was on hand to pay tribute to Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee k.d. lang, who received a standing ovation following videotaped testimonials from the likes Leonard Cohen and Tony Bennett.
“The fact that I’m standing here receiving this award says more about Canada than it does about me because only in Canada could there be such a freak as k.d. lang receiving this award,” said lang. “Only in Canada could there be people like Stompin’ Tom Connors and Rita MacNeil. So I am here to tell you that it is OK to be you. It is OK to let your freak flags fly.”
Group of the Year honours went to B.C. band Marianas Trench, who were soon back on stage to perform while backed by a full choir.
Hamilton, Ont. rockers Monster Truck picked up the Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year.
Adult Alternative Album of the Year was awarded to Serena Ryder’s Harmony. The Toronto singer performed her hit “Stompa” at the top of the show.