Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 03/31/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
AS awards-show telecasts go, The 2014 Juno Awards was, well, another awards-show telecast.
Buoyed by some crackling performances and dressed up nicely by a killer set, but dragged back down by dry-as-dust category intros, acceptance speeches and rather tepid attempts at comedy, Sunday night's two-hour broadcast was a decidedly middle-of-the-road affair.
The show opened promisingly with co-hosts Serena Ryder and Classified sharing the stage for an energetic opening number, and the crowd was pumped up by fellow co-host Johnny Reid's cheap-applause invocation of the Jets, Bombers and pretty much anybody from Winnipeg who ever got famous in the music biz.
Tegan and Sara were the show's first award winners, for single of the year (Closer), and Walk Off the Earth followed with a rootsy, old-time-radio-flavoured performance.
The show's first hiccup occurred during Classified's introduction of the Olympic gold-medal-winning Jennifer Jones curling team, when he went off script and told the Winnipeg crowd to "make some (high-end expletive) noise!"
Jones and her teammates received the obligatory standing ovation, but things took an unexpected turn when the winner of the award they were presenting -- Justin Bieber in the Fan Choice Award category -- was booed heartily by about half the crowd.
After a very engaging performance by Matt Mays, Ryder shifted from co-host to trophy winner when she took the stage to accept the Juno for songwriter of the year. She started amusingly -- "Oh, my gosh, my pants are falling down!" -- but then lapsed into bleep-worthy language for a few moments, chastised the crowd for booing Bieber ("We need to support how awesome he is"), and rambled on until she was played off the stage for taking too long.
Ryder was featured in a mostly laugh-less taped gag in which she and Tegan and Sara discussed starting an all-female Canadian supergroup (they planned to sing about cold weather), and then Reid introduced a lovely performance by Sarah McLachlan (who later returned to plug the MusiCounts charitable effort).
Saint-Boniface MP Shelly Glover, accompanied by the Sadies, presented the Breakthrough Group of the Year award to A Tribe Called Red, and then Tegan and Sara took the stage to perform their Juno-winning single. After McLachlan's MusiCounts pitch, One Republic delivered another noteworthy performance.
One of the evening's highlights was Cmdr. Chris Hadfield's introduction of Juno Hall of Famers Bachman-Turner Overdrive -- he opened with an a capella rendering of a couple of lines from Takin' Care of Business, then revealed he played the song one night for the Russian cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station ("They loved it!").
The video tribute to BTO was impressive, including congratulatory greetings from Metallica, Elton John and Paul Rodgers of Bad Company. Randy Bachman wrapped up a long-ish, every-member acceptance speech by offering a pithy bit of wisdom to kids dreaming of a career in music: "There is no Plan B. Plan B is stick to Plan A."
The Jones rink showed up again, in a taped gag that involved "curling" Reid onto the stage -- while corny, it was probably the only smile-worthy joke of the evening.
Country music got only a brief nod during the telecast, in the form of a Dean Brody/Brett Kissel/Gord Bamford medley, and then things rushed to a conclusion with the last two awards (including an appearance by Chantal Kreviazuk and husband Raine Maida as presenters) and a musical tribute to BTO by the Sheepdogs, BTO and assorted others.
Good performances; below-average banter and jokery.
The local CTV affiliate's attempt at a red-carpet pre-awards show was a well-intended effort, but its timing left much to be desired.
The red carpet outside the MTS Centre was tented and heated -- good news for celebs, not so much for sales of Canada Goose parkas -- which made the pre-show excitement comfortable for crimson-rug-traversing nominees and presenters, as well as fans and assorted media types.
But the fact the red-carpet special aired from 6:30 to 7 p.m. and then disappeared so as not to disrupt the CTV network's simulcast of CBS's The Amazing Race meant there was no momentum from preshow to show. An hour-long gap before the Junos show began rendered CTV Winnipeg's enthusiastic effort mostly meaningless.
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @BradOswald
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 31, 2014 A1
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Reason for wanting to see ex just creepy
Learning SimCity's lessons
Let's get to know each other a little bit better
Selinger's foes suck and blow
Your weekend weather
Farm boys and they love it
Final showdown should be bloody good
Trending that caught Doug's eye... heroic animals
Oscar has a woman problem
Daring sexcapades too risky, could ruin reputation
Put your palate to the test
Bounce back after a layoff
Never fear: Coward fare is frothy theatrical fun
Yeah, well, tell us something we don't know
Jones makes it look easy
Mid-term report card
What's in a name? Plenty of mistakes, says Speers, er, Speirs
Insurance policy can be sold to corporation
Manitoba Senate seats sit empty
Tell lover hard truth about unsatisfying weekend
Glimpse of a great motivator
Substance over style
Swede and sour
Friend got a big ego boost telling you about his dates
What would Hillary do?
Outdoor game wasn't a fit
Waiter! Where's my popcorn?
Romantic trip goes off the rails after his admission of marriage
Poking the Patriots inspires them
Heavy promises, light delivery from former Kid in the Hall
Pickled performances a put off for partner
Hockey world taking notice
Ashton in scrap over leadership-vote rules
Tending to robotic baby not exactly child's play
From why Winterpeg to why not?
Lewd statement opening salvo in flirtation game