Nominees for the 41st annual Juno Awards were announced Tuesday in Toronto, with City and Colour, Dan Mangan, Drake, Feist, Hedley and Nickelback all competing in four separate categories.
"It means something to everybody, whether they acknowledge it or not," said Jim Cuddy, the Blue Rodeo frontman whose group will be inducted into the 2012 Canadian Music Hall of Fame. "Whether you're an established artist or a new artist, the hype around the telecast is definitely important for all of the nominees."
Cuddy, who is also nominated for two solo Juno Awards for his album, Skyscraper Soul, will perform with Blue Rodeo (and their special guest Sarah McLachlan) at the ceremony on April 1 in Ottawa. Additional performers include City and Colour, Feist and deadmau5, who wore his trademark oversized mouse head to the unveiling of the nominees.
Rapper Drake, pop prince Justin Bieber, and crooner Michael Buble will face off for album of the year. Rounding out the contenders for that prize are Nickelback (Here and Now) and Avril Lavigne (Goodbye Lullaby). Bieber (Under the Mistletoe) and Buble (Christmas) are both nominated for their holiday albums, while Drake is nominated for his critically acclaimed effort, Take Care.
In the Artist of the Year category, finalists include City and Colour, deadmau5, Drake, Feist and Buble. Diamond Rings, competing in the New Artist of the Year category, says he doesn't make music to win prizes. That said, he also admitted that being nominated for a Juno was "pretty cool."
"If the Junos want to acknowledge an album that was made in my bedroom on Garage Band, that's awesome," says Diamond Rings, competing against Lindi Ortega, Alyssa Reid, JRDN and Dan Mangan for his rookie of the year prize. "Even my gramma knows what a Juno is, and if I win, it might make the next family dinner a little more exciting."
Last year's Juno telecast was watched by 2.4 million viewers, a 48 per cent increase in total audience over 2010. Aiming to surpass that TV record â 7.6 million Canadians tuned in to at least some of the 2.5-hour program â the Junos are beaming in William Shatner to host the event.
"He's this country's Betty White," joked Phil King, president of CTV programming. "Although he hates when I say that, he's not really that old."
Other multiple nominees include Lavigne, Buble and deadmau5, who wore a wallet chain, blue jeans and red T-shirt with a polar bear firing two guns. D-Sisive, competing against Classified, Kardinal Offishall, Swollen Members and Drake for the Rap Recording of the Year, says he has a bone to pick with Drake, who hosted last year's show.
"We were at the club last year. and he goes, âYo, D, can you spot me 15 bucks?' So I go to the ATM, but dude still hasn't paid me back," says D-Sisive, nominated in this category for the third time. "I'm happy to be nominated, and feel lucky to be here, but I need my 15 dollars. I need to take a mega-bus to Ottawa â Drake's not letting me on the jet."
Best new artist contender Alyssa Reid said she was heartened to see the Junos also honouring smaller artists.
"I was very surprised, actually, at the amount of HUGE Canadian artists that, I thought they were going to completely sweep the awards because of popularity," Reid said after the announcement. "But I was very happy to see that the Junos actually stay true to recognizing a lot of other Canadian talent."
Nominees in some of the major categories:
-Album of the year: Avril Lavigne (Goodbye Lullaby), Drake (Take Care), Justin Bieber (Under The Mistletoe), Michael Buble (Christmas), Nickelback (Here and Now)
-Fan choice: Arcade Fire, Avril Lavigne, City and Colour, Deadmau5, Drake, Ginette Reno, Hedley, Justin Bieber, Michael BublÃ©, Nickelback
-Group of the year: Arkells, Down with Webster, Hedley, Nickelback, Sam Roberts Band
-Artist of the year: Avril Lavigne, Drake, Justin Bieber, Nickelback, Michael Buble
-New artist of the year: Alyssa Reid, Dan Mangan, Diamond Rings, JRDN, Lindi Ortega
-New group of the year: Braids, Hey Rosetta, Mother Mother, The Rural Alberta Advantage, The Sheepdogs
-Single of the year: "Fragile Bird" (City and Colour), "Invincible" (Hedley), "Let's Go Higher" (Johnny Reid), "When We Stand Together" (Nickelback), "I Don't Know" (The Sheepdogs)
-Pop album of the year: Avril Lavigne (Goodbye Lullaby), Down With Webster (Time to Win Vol. II), Hedley (Storms), Lights (Siberia), Marianas Trench (Ever After)
-Alternative album of the year: Braids (Native Speaker), Dan Mangan (Oh Fortune), Destroyer (Kaputt), F*cked Up (David Comes to Life), Timber Timbre (Creep on Creepin' On)
-Rock album of the year: The Sam Roberts Band (Collider), The Sheepdogs (Learn & Burn), Arkells (Michigan Left), Matthew Good (lights of Endangered Species), Sloan (The Double Cross)
-Electronic album of the year: Arthur Oskan (A Little More Than Everything), Austra (Feel it Break), Azari & III (Azari & III), Junior Boys (It's All True), Tim Hecker (Ravendeath, 1972)
-Rap recording of the year: Classified (Handshakes and Middle Fingers), Drake (Take Care), D-Sisive (Jonestown 2: Jimmy Go Bye Bye), Kardinall Offishall (Anywhere (Ol' Time Killin' Part 2)), Swollen Members (Daggermouth)
-Dance recording of the year: Anjulie ("Brand New Chick"), Deadmau5 ("Aural Psynapse"), Duck Sauce ("Barbara Streisand"), Martin Solveig & Drgonette ("Hello"), Mia Martina ("Devotion")
-(First-time category) Metal/hard music album of the year: Anvil (Juggernaut of Justice), Cauldron (Burning Fortune), F*ck the Facts (Die Miserable), Ken Mode (Venerable), Devin Townsend Project (Deconstruction)
-International album of the year: Adele (21), Coldplay (Mylo Xyloto), Lady Gaga (Born This Way), LMFAO (Sorry For Party Rocking), Rihanna (Loud)
The 41st annual Juno Awards will take place in Ottawa on April 1, with William Shatner as host of the gala. For more info, visit junoawards.ca.