Awards shows are usually good for a few surprises, and Sunday night’s Junos telecast is shaping up to have its share of memorable highlights.
After co-hosts Bryan Adams and Russell Peters parachuted in as substitutes for Michael Buble less than a month before showtime — and organizers suddenly added an extra half hour to the broadcast — it became clear this wouldn’t be a typical year.
BRYAN ADAMS: Many were shocked when one of Canada’s biggest rock stars volunteered to step in as Junos co-host this year. Sure, the musician wanted to help his friend Buble — who bowed out to care for his young son Noah as he fights cancer — but hosting an awards show is entirely new territory for Adams. Luckily he’ll share the responsibilities with Peters, a grizzled veteran who’s done this gig twice before. Will Adams play the straight man to Peters, or is there a secret king of comedy hiding inside the guy who sings “Summer of ’69”? Whichever way it goes, Adams is also expected to perform a song live.
FEIST: Leslie Feist is slated to pay tribute to the late Leonard Cohen — a multiple Juno Award winner who died last November — with an arrangement of one of his “classic songs.” Could it be a cover of his iconic track “Hallelujah?” If done right, this could be the night’s most powerful moment.
ALESSIA CARA: Even your grandma probably recognizes a song from this pint-sized singer and emerging pop star from Brampton, Ont., who melted hearts last year with her humbled Junos acceptance speech for the breakthrough artist award. Following a stunning year in which she lent her singing voice to Disney’s “Moana,” Cara is returning to the Junos for a victory lap. She’s in the running for another four awards and will bring another global superstar to the show: German electronic producer Zedd, who will join Cara to perform their single “Stay,” which is currently scaling the Billboard Hot 100.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU: He’s an international rock star in his own right, but it’s unlikely the prime minister will pick up an instrument. There is a good chance, however, that he’ll show up at the Junos in some non-musical capacity, considering the show is in his backyard. What he’ll do is anybody’s guess, but might we suggest he takes a swing at a karaoke rendition of Drake’s “One Dance”?
MYSTERY GUEST: Juno organizers say this year’s show will close with a surprise performance from a guest they’re not revealing. Will it be one of the country’s young superstars or a favourite from another era?