Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Juno who's going to host?

We speculate on who gets the reins when Canada's annual celebration of music takes over the MTS Centre at the end of March

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Host Michael Buble starts the 2013 Juno Awards in Regina on Sunday, April 21, 2013.


Host Michael Buble starts the 2013 Juno Awards in Regina on Sunday, April 21, 2013.

If there is such a thing as awards-show karma, Winnipeg deserves a major celebrity to host the Junos this year.

The last time the Canadian music awards were held in the city of spring flooding and Salisbury House, broadcaster CTV decided to give us Brent Butt.

At the time, it sort of made sense: the Saskatchewan actor-comedian was starring in Corner Gas, a CTV sitcom set on the Canadian Prairies. But the pride of Tisdale, Sask., couldn't quite make his nice-guy humour work in front of a national audience, not to mention on an arena-sized stage.

With the Junos set to return March 30, Winnipeggers can be justified in hoping for a host with a little more of an edge, as well as greater star power.

Confirmed performers at the show so far include Tegan & Sara, Serena Ryder and Walk Off the Earth, while Arcade Fire, Michael Bublé and Ryder have the most nominations.

The character of the show will be determined by who else is booked to perform, who else agrees to show up to present and accept awards and who gets tapped to play the role of host.

While only CTV knows what its actual options are, there's no harm in making semi-educated guesses about the Canadians who may be considered for the hosting job. What we came up with is a list of actors, musicians and comedians -- plus Toronto Mayor Rob Ford:

Robin Thicke

Why him: Miley Cyrus's creepy dance partner is nominated for three Juno Awards this year, thanks to his regrettably rape-y single, Blurred Lines (which, interestingly, was not nominated in the Single of the Year category). As annoying as he is, slick Thicke would add considerable star power to the show. And star power is key for an awards show desperately seeking eyeballs.

Why not: If elitist media snobs wish hard enough, maybe it won't be so.

The odds: It's actually totally possible. When the Juno nominations were announced in Toronto, it was strongly implied Thicke would be in Winnipeg for the show, albeit in an as-yet-undisclosed capacity. And he did cancel his March 27 gig in Vancouver...



Why them: You may love to mock it, but the CanRock union between power-stance specialist Chad Kroeger and eyeliner enthusiast Avril Lavigne serves as the closest thing this country has to a patriotic power couple. The duo actually got married on Canada Day. Lavigne released a self-titled album last fall that got lost in a flurry of high-profile fourth-quarter releases, so hosting an awards show could give it a bit of a bump. Nickelback is slated to release a new album this year.

Add in oodles of familiarity with the Junos and you have a distinct possibility here. Just imagine the potential for self-mocking skits -- and possible pop-culture redemption. Hey, they might even have a sense of humour; last year, when Michael Bublé announced he was hosting the 2013 Junos Awards in Regina, he did so from the centre of a Chavril sandwich and it actually wasn't the worst.

Why not: You may love to mock them a little too much. The mere mention of the word "Chavril" provokes strong emotions.

Odds: Entirely plausible.


Dave Foley

Why him: The former NewsRadio and Kids In The Hall star will soon return to television as the star of Spun Out, a sitcom that just so happens to air on CTV, the Juno broadcaster. There's precedent for such a move: CTV enlisted Brent Butt to host the Junos when Corner Gas still aired on the network. The Junos would serve as a platform to promote Foley's new show, slated to debut March 6.

Why not: The Kids In The Hall went off the air in 1994 and NewsRadio wrapped in 1999. An entire generation has been raised without any knowledge of the Etobicoke-raised actor-comedian.

Odds: Within the realm of possibility.


Cobie Smulders

Why her: The Vancouver actor best known for playing Robin on How I Met Your Mother and Agent Hill in The Avengers has enough star power to host an awards show and has an especially high profile among the younger audience the Junos hope to capture. She also may be available before The Avengers: Age Of Ultron begins production.

Why not: Given Smulders' U.S. film and television success, there may not be any upside in hosting a Canadian show.

Odds: A long shot. You may have to content yourself with Smulders' next turn as Hill in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which comes out March 26.


Tegan and Sara

Why them: Canada's most famous twins are having a bit of a moment. The Quins broke into the Top 40 consciousness in a big way with their shimmering, unapologetically pop album Heartthrob, which had its praises sung by everyone from Girls creator/star Lena Dunham to Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, who handpicked them to open for her on her upcoming Prism tour. And, as anyone who has been to a Tegan and Sara show knows, these women could teach a master class in stage banter.

Why not: Unlike hosts past -- mostly hyphenate performers -- Tegan and Sara are strictly musicians. They might not be able to carry an entire broadcast. In fact, they might not want to.

The odds: Slim. Tegan and Sara are up for four Juno Awards and have already been announced as performers.


Hugh Dillon

Why him: As the lead singer of The Headstones and the star of CBS/CTV series Flashpoint, the Kingston, Ont., performer is familiar to both the music and TV establishment in this country. Plus, The Headstones made their triumphant return last year with Love + Fury, the band's first record since 2002, which is up for Rock Album of the Year.

Why not: Even though most Canadians have seen Hugh Dillon, he's not exactly what you'd call a mainstream star. He also has a fondness for a certain four-letter word, which may pose issues for a telecast.

The odds: Not great. But so were the odds of a Headstones singer becoming a lead on a CBS series.


Sabrina Jalees

Why her: Quite simply, the Toronto-via-New York writer/actor/comedian is hilarious. Her 2013 Canadian comedy tour Brownlisted racked up rave reviews. Plus, she's well-versed in skewering music; she was one of the funniest contributors on MuchMusic's Video on Trial, and she just joined the cast of VH1's Best Week Ever.

Why not: "Who?"

The odds: Not likely. But she'd rock it.


Rob Ford

Why him? Right now, Toronto's crack-smoking, booze-pounding, profanity-spewing mayor is the biggest celebrity in the country. Mayor Ford is an unwitting comic genius -- and a guaranteed ratings winner, should the Junos somehow manage to enlist the national embarrassment.

Why not: Even if CTV was crazy enough to approach Ford and he was stupid enough to agree, there's no way to guarantee a family-friendly performance. He also has more than enough TV to watch at home.

The odds: Call it a million to one, which is equal to the chance of Ford making it out of 2014 without further creating further chaos.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 8, 2014 G1


Updated on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 12:14 PM CST: removed reference

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