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Last week, our nation’s capital was taken over by JUNO mania—including music-filled events like the JUNO Cup, JUNO Fanfare, JUNO Songwriters’ Circle and so much more. Last night, the big 2017 JUNO Awards broadcast finally went down at Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre, featuring more than a few standout moments worth revisiting.
In case you missed the main event, here were the most noteworthy happenings.
Performing his two-times platinum song “Mercy,” the 18-year-old Pickering native delivered flawless vocals from center stage—captivating the screaming throngs with his enviable range and presence. Unsurprisingly, the young heartthrob also brought down the red carpet, the press room and Twitter, where “shawnmendes,” “mendesarmy” and “jfcshawnmendes” were the top-used JUNO-related hashtags throughout the night.
The pop-rock veteran was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame last night, and used her speech as an opportunity to commend the great opportunities our country provides us. She said Canada is a country “where the rights of girls and women are respected, where people of all ethnicities, genders and sexual identities can stand together as one. Where diversity is cherished. Where the arts are revered. Where people being polite is still an important thing. We Canadians, we’re far from perfect, but we have a lot to offer the world and we have to continue to set the bar high.”
The five-piece indie rock band from Toronto took to the JUNOs stage for the first time, delivering an electric performance of their upbeat single “Picturing Love.” As always, lead singers Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay showed off their impassioned vocals and wonderfully eccentric dance moves, making it impossible to take your eyes off the pair. The night prior at the JUNO Gala, the band’s album Touch earned them Alternative Album of the Year.
Honestly, we’re pretty pumped any time the guy shows up anywhere. But, the Prime Minister’s JUNO appearance allowed for a cameo in the goofy opening skit and cheeky on-stage teasing from co-hosts Russell Peters and Bryan Adams—which are different sides of our political leader we love to see. Trudeau and wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau also had the chance to introduce a tribute to the late Leonard Cohen, where they told a story about his father Pierre Trudeau’s funeral. The PM recounted, “I remember a gathering the night before the funeral. That was the night I learned Leonard—a great man—but not a big hugger.”
The JUNOs had a little something for everyone last night, including appearances by the stars of what Peters called his “favourite Canadian television show ever.” CraveTV’s Letterkenny stars Michelle Mylett and Nathan Dales presented Country Album of the Year, while Dales and co-star Jared Keeso appeared in a pre-recorded skit alongside Blue Rodeo frontman Jim Cuddy. If you haven’t gotten into this hilarious show yet, you need to “figger it out, bahd.”
While fellow members of The Tragically Hip were wrongfully played off (and then cut off) while accepting Group of the Year, the famed frontman delivered yet another powerful message when his stunning and important Secret Path project nabbed him Songwriter of the Year. “Thank you for stepping into the wind, for following the sound you’ve been sort of hearing your entire life. For looking to see what has been bothering you a little bit,” Downie stated in a pre-recorded video. “For recognizing that we’re not completely Canada yet. For seeing we have friends, our fellow countrymen and women, who are in big trouble. For recognizing our friends who were here before us, at least for thousands of years.”
Instagrams and Snapchats from the JUNO Awards rehearsal let the cat out of the bag that chart-topping German producer Zedd flew in to support Cara on piano for their hit song “Stay.” While Zedd’s appearance was a treat, he slinked off stage following their collab, so Cara could perform a killer rendition of “Scars To Your Beautiful” on her own.
Introduced by Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, Feist brought the packed arena to a full hush with her exquisite cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye.” Earlier in the night on the red carpet, Feist even steered clear of questions about her own forthcoming release, stating that promoting her own music wasn’t why she was there. Classy lady. (Watch the full show for Feist’s performance.)
What’s more Canadian than some of the biggest JUNO stars—from all stages of their music careers—on stage helping Bryan Adams sing his classic “Summer of ’69”? Nothing. July Talk, Arkells, Alessia Cara, Billy Talent, Dallas Smith, Whitehorse, Sarah McLachlan, Strumbellas and more lent a hand to the JUNOs co-host in the boisterous, oh-so-Canadian finale, which even had PM Trudeau on his feet.