Buble knows how to play to a big room

I was worried The Junos may have gotten off on the wrong note Sunday night when Leonard Cohen was named songwriter of the year. What year was this–1968?
But, really, what do I know about music. As for television, well, the more I watched, the more impressed I was with CTV’s 2013 Juno Awards.
It looked fantastic, it sounded great, and it never lagged. It had “moments,” especially k.d.lang’s rousing, patriotic and uplifting sermon–with Anne Murray looking on–on that centre ice stage. Later, Marianas Trench brought a nice circus touch with their lead singer dangling from the rafters.
Speaking of which, Regina’s Brandt Centre really works for The Junos. You get a sense that the audience is seeing a cool show and that there’s not a bad seat in the house.
Technically, lighting and shooting that glitter-y, see-through platform had to be a challenge, but you’d never know it. Performers and presenters worked fully in the round and that kept things from getting stale and also made viewers at home feel they had the best seats.
Impressive, too, was the flow of the two-hour broadcast. You expect clunkers in live shows, but everything seemed to go right Sunday. This had the up-close, street-level immediacy of the best of the MuchMusic Video Awards, with all the you-are-there elements, combined with slick performance coverage. Hats off to John Brunton’s Insight Productions for a job well done.

Regina loves The Sheepdogs. CARAS/iPhoto

Throughout the evening there was so much diversity on view. The show swung effortlessly from arena rock (Billy Talent, Marianas Trench, Metric) to intimate lounge act (k.d. lang). And these band names: Monster Truck, the Sheepdogs…only in Canada.
Michael Buble rose to the occasion as host, carrying the quips off as well as the vocals. He came to play, effortlessly vocalizing while trekking from backstage to mid-arena, clowning around on skates, wandering into the audience for a sweet and low-key sing-a-long at the end. The opening taped bit with Russell Peters, Kelly Ripa and Dr. Phil was okay but unnecessary–Buble didn’t need the borrowed star power.
Even the bright Junos graphics were grabby. You always knew who was presenting, what was coming up, who won earlier.
The damn show even ended on time.
The quick salute to Rita MacNeil could have included a clip of her voice, and the sticky envelopes need to open a little easier (Cohen’s son Adam had to shred his on stage just to read his dad’s name). Those are quibbles. The Grammys could take a lesson on how to be start-to-finish entertaining from these 2013 Juno Awards.

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1 Comment

  1. I missed the other memorial tribute. Not for Stompin’. I mean George Beverly Shea! If I ever live to 104, perform on 70 albums across 60 years, and have sung in front of an estimated 200 million people… hey, someone please offer a kindly what’s up head nod for me.
    MacNeil and Shea were reported as deceased the same day last week.

    Otherwise, I disliked some of the TV-only production aspects; the in-arena stuff looked good.

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