(from Broadcaster Magazine, March 28, 2011) A procession of Canadian music stars took to the stage for Canada’s biggest night in music, The 2011 JUNO Awards. CTV’s special two-and-a-half hour anniversary broadcast of the Awards experienced power-packed performances, tributes to 40 years of the JUNO Awards, and eight winning categories announced.
The first JUNO Award of the night went to Arcade Fire, the indie rock sensations who are taking the world by storm, who won for Group of the Year and later accepted Album of the Year (sponsored by Canadian Recording Industry Association) and Songwriter of the Year (sponsored by SIRIUS Satellite Radio), adding to their win last night at the JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards for Alternative Album of the Year (sponsored by Long & McQuade).
The bill continued with electrifying performances from Broken Social Scene, Chromeo and Tokyo Police Club. Hedley gave an absolutely “Perfect” performance, while Johnny Reid (JUNO Award winner for Country Album of the Year sponsored by Country Style) swept the audience off their feet. Sarah McLachlan delighted fans with an unusual departure from her angelic ballads and took to the stage to perform a spectacular and upbeat “Loving You Is Easy.”
Bringing down the house was a 40th Anniversary Tribute to the JUNO Awards arranged by Musical Director Jim Cuddy featuring himself, City and Colour, Derek Miller, Greg Keelor, Justin Rutledge, Kevin Hearn, Sarah Harmer, Sarah Slean, Serena Ryder and The Sadies. The 10-minute all-star tribute not only paid homage to four of Canada’s most respected artists from the past 40 years, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and The Band, but was also a “Love Letter to Toronto,” this year’s host city where each of the artists first made their mark.
One of the longest standing ovations of the night went to Shania Twain. From one Canadian icon to another, Bryan Adams presented the multi-platinum superstar with the 2011 Canadian Music Hall of Fame. After a long hiatus from the spotlight, Twain was welcomed home and on to the stage by a roaring arena filled with her legion of fans.
Another stirring moment and ovation came when legendary rocker and LE NOISE producer Daniel Lanois (2011 Jack Richardson Producer of the Year, sponsored by Slaight Music) presented collaborator and rock icon Neil Young with the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award. Young was honoured for his outstanding contributions to fundraising and social awareness events for causes at home and globally including Farm Aid, one of the most successful and longest running music charity events in history.
Neil Young was later surprised during the show by his “Prairie Town” partner Randy Bachman, who presented him with the JUNO Award for Artist of the Year. Having won last night for Adult Alternative Album of the Year (sponsored by Galaxie, Your Musical Universe), this brought Young’s 2011 JUNO Award count to three.
Global pop phenom Justin Bieber was a double JUNO Award winner for JUNO Fan Choice Award (Presented by Live Nation) and Pop Album of the Year. Although Bieber was unable to attend and accept his Awards, it didn’t stop the hundreds of screaming fans from cheering on their favourite pop idol.
Meaghan Smith won for New Artist of the Year (sponsored by FACTOR and Radio Starmaker Fund) and Single of the Year went to K’NAAN’s international smash anthem, “Wavin’ Flag.” His runaway hit found worldwide success as Coca Cola’s official song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup as well as the Canadian charity song recorded by Young Artists For Haiti.
Broadcast sponsors of THE 2011 JUNO AWARDS are Chevrolet, Garnier, Molson Canadian and Rogers.
Sponsors of the 2011 JUNO Awards include FACTOR, Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters and The Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage’s “Canada Music Fund,” Radio Starmaker Fund, Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), The City of Toronto, Tourism Toronto, Aeroplan and funding partner Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund.