TORONTO — The Juno Awards are getting back to business this weekend.
After two years of muted virtual ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s biggest music awards show is returning to an in-person celebration in a historic outdoor setting.
The televised party gets underway Sunday at Toronto’s Budweiser Stage with “Kim’s Convenience” and “Shang-Chi” star Simu Liu as host.
Charlotte Cardin holds a leading six nominations, including as artist of the year and TikTok Juno Fan Choice, an award voted on by viewers through the social media platform.
Her fiery debut “Phoenix” is up for album and pop album of the year, while the track “Meaningless” vies for single and music video of the year.
Most Juno awards will be handed out on Saturday night at a music industry gathering streamed live on YouTube. The main event Sunday will be broadcast on CBC.
Here are five Juno moments to keep an eye on this weekend.
THE NOMINEES: While Cardin is the front-runner, some of the country’s most celebrated musical acts follow close behind. Justin Bieber and the Weeknd each have five nominations. Shawn Mendes holds four, a tally he shares with Pressa, a rising star of the Toronto rap scene, and Vancouver pop singer Jessia, known for her body-positive hit “I’m Not Pretty.”
THE PERFORMERS: Sunday night’s Juno broadcast promises something musicians haven’t seen much of lately — a live Canadian audience. And so, it’s likely that performances by Montreal collective Arcade Fire and Hamilton band Arkells will rock the house down. Round that out with the punky pop of Avril Lavigne, the careful consideration of Toronto poet Mustafa and the smoky vocals of leading nominee Cardin, and the evening is set to offer music for a variety of tastes.
DEBORAH’S SUPPOSED TO BE HERE: The Canadian Music Hall of Fame rolls out the red carpet for this year’s inductee, Deborah Cox, on the Junos broadcast. The Toronto R&B/soul singer is the first Black woman to receive the honour since its inception in 1978 and only the second Black musician, after Oscar Peterson. The vocal powerhouse, known for singles “Who Do U Love,” “Beautiful U R” and “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” is slated to perform on Sunday’s show, a day after a new exhibition celebrating her career opens at Studio Bell in Calgary.
NOTHING HOLDIN’ HIM BACK: Shawn Mendes will pop by the Junos broadcast to accept an international achievement award for his global impact on music. The Pickering, Ont. musician joins an exclusive group of Canadian musicians who hold the honour, including Arcade Fire, Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, Drake, Sarah McLachlan and Shania Twain. Mendes already has 11 Junos to his name and three No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.
THE CATEGORY IS… NEW: The Junos frequently make tweaks to reflect the changing music industry, but this year they’ve taken bigger steps to catch up with cultural shifts. A new award for underground dance single will toast music heard on nightclub dance floors. The inaugural nominees are Blond:ish, Carlo Lio and MC Flipside, Hntr, Korea Town Acid and Grammy-nominated Jayda G. Other changes include splitting the rap category into two — rap album/EP of the year and rap single of the year — while Indigenous artist or group of the year is now two awards as well, with one honouring contemporary Indigenous artists and another for traditional artists. While rap album/EP of the year will be handed out during the broadcast on Sunday, the rest of the new categories are set to be handed out at Saturday’s industry event.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2022.
David Friend, The Canadian Press