TORONTO >> Indie-rock songstress Leslie Feist took home a Juno for Artist of the Year on Sunday night, and jazz crooner Michael Buble’s holiday-themed “Christmas” claimed the prize for Album of the Year at the 41st annual Canadian music awards ceremony.
Feist, best known for her whimsical 2007 song “1234,” which became an international hit after it was featured in an iPod nano commercial, might have surprised some with Sunday night’s win since her contemplative fourth disc, “Metals,” wasn’t nominated for Album of the Year.
Feist’s big win brought her Juno tally to three for the weekend, and 11 for her career.
“I just need a second,” she marveled as she stepped to the microphone, shaking her head from side to side, looking stunned, as well as stunning in a red, lace dress.
“I’m just in shock. … I guess all I can really do is try to express some genuine gratitude. I can’t believe I’m standing here.”
Buble, who couldn’t attend the glitzy ceremony, also likely surprised some by winning Album of the Year for his yuletide album, which beat out Drake’s wildly popular “Take Care,” Avril Lavigne’s “Goodbye Lullabye,” Justin Bieber’s “Under the Mistletoe,” and Nickelback’s “Here and Now.”
Although Buble has won the prize twice in the past, in 2006 for “It’s Time” and 2010 for “Crazy Love,” and his latest disc’s retro fireside vibe warmed millions of family gatherings this past holiday season, pre-show speculation put the winning finger on Drake’s “Take Care.”
Another of the night’s winners was no surprise: Eighteen-year-old teen-pop sensation Justin Bieber claimed the Juno Fan Choice award, a prize he claimed at last year’s Junos.
“What’s up everybody? This is Justin,” he said in a prerecorded message. “Fan choice. As we all know I have the best fans in the world, so this award is basically for all my fans. This is just yours.”
Vancouver, British Columbia, singer-songwriter Dan Mangan was named Best Newcomer.
“I feel like there’s a certain amount of chatter around the best new artist award every year going to … artists on their second or maybe third albums,” said Mangan, whose “Oh Fortune” was, yes, his third album.
Dance recording of the year went to Toronto’s Dragonette and French DJ Martin Solveig for the catchy tune “Hello,” not anticipated favorite Deadmau5—who had won the category four years in a row. As a result Deadmau5 went without a Juno this year despite three nominations.
City and Colour’s Dallas Green won Songwriter of the Year, beating out Feist, Dan Mangan and Jim Cuddy.
“If I can find a way to cut this up into five individual pieces I’d gladly share it with all the other nominees,” Green said as he claimed the trophy. “Canada has some of the best songwriters in the world and I’m glad to be a part of it. But I’d also, I’d just like to accept this on behalf of … all the people who truly believe it’s all about the song and it’s not about all the other stuff.”
Divisive rockers Nickelback kicked off the show in Ottawa, Ontario, with a performance of “This Means War.” The 12-time Juno winners didn’t nab a single award this year out of four nominations.
Canadian-born Captain Kirk himself, 81-year-old William Shatner, was this year’s host with the most.
The “Star Trek” icon poked lighthearted fun at Deadmau5 — intentionally mispronouncing his moniker — before riling up the crowd by asking if they were “ready to rock.”
Shatner then strapped on a Les Paul guitar and launched into a medley of a few bars of rock classics including “Born to Be Wild,” “Summer of ‘69,” and “Taking Care of Business” in his trademark sing-speak manner. In pre-show interviews he vowed he wouldn’t lend his vocals to the ceremonies.
He also gamely participated in comedy sketches with Nickelback and Hedley, playing the role of the delusional hanger-on, deadpanning his intention to become Nickelback’s fifth member.
“We change the name of the band to Shatner and Nickelback,” he tells the band, straight-faced. “Or Shatner and the Dimebags. After all, I’m upping your value,” he joked.
Rockers Blue Rodeo were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame after performing their hit “We Are Lost Together,” with chanteuse Sarah McLachlan.
Feist, City and Colour, Hedley and rock outfit Hey Rosetta! performed, while a dance medley featuring Dragonette, Alyssa Reid and JRDN brought the crowd to its feet.
The Arkells won Group of the Year on Saturday night during a gala awards ceremony. Thirty-four of the 41 Juno Awards were handed out during the gala, including New Group of the Year award to bluesy-rock outfit The Sheepdogs. The shaggy-haired band, who rose to fame after winning “Rolling Stone” magazine cover contest, beat out Nickelback, Johnny Reid, Hedley and City and Colour — four outfits with 19 Juno wins under their collective belt — to claim the prize for their bluesy amble “I Don’t Know.”
Adele’s “21” won International Album of the Year. Dan Mangan also achieved his first taste of Juno glory, winning Alternative Album of the Year. Drake’s “Take Care” won Rap Recording of the Year.
Canadian indie band Arcade Fire were the big winners last year, capturing four Juno awards including album of the year for “The Suburbs” and group of the year.