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MARCH 21, 2012
Juno who's watching the awards? Not many
The Juno Awards were handed out last weekend. That statement usually gets one of two responses: "The what were?" or "Who cares?"
Sadly, the country's biggest music awards ceremony is mocked and criticized by the general public and even some artists nominated for awards. But why is that? What did the Junos ever do to us?
As Canadians we are proud of where we come from, yet we have more pride if one of our own makes it big in another country. When someone in the music or entertainment world only sees success here at home, we have a cynical view about how big their fame actually is.
Having reported from a couple Juno Awards (in St. John's, Nfld. and Vancouver) I can tell you there are absolutely crazed screaming fans at the events. I won't deny there are music fans that love our country's artists.
The majority of Canadians, however, won't take a performer seriously if Americans have never heard of him or her. Worse yet, Canucks also lambaste the celebrity talent when it does come back to Canada.
Hosting the Juno Awards probably isn't a career milestone for a celebrity, but at least they have the decency to come back to honour homegrown talent. Arguably it could be because of the paycheque, but nevertheless, they still see Canada as home - even though they aren't here very often.
The day before this year's Junos I talked with singer Daniel Powter. (Billboard called him the decade's top one-hit wonder for his song Bad Day.) Despite living in Los Angeles - and having that flattering title from Billboard -- he spoke about what Canada means to him and how he loves the country. He wasn't asked about Canada or put on the spot, he came right out and said it.
Just because the opportunities and money come quicker in the U.S. (usually), the public instantly jumps on performers as being a sellout who gave into the American lifestyle.
Reading comments of news stories, there seems to be a consensus that artists like Michael Buble and Justin Bieber don't show up to these things because the awards are useless. They have been there. I met them in St. John's. Scheduling conflicts happen at the Grammys and Oscars.
For two years I have not attended the Junos, however it is not by personal choice. My radio audience is primarily American and as much as I pushed Canadian music down their throats, I ultimately lost the battle with showcasing our music because of the lack of public interest for the Juno. But I still watch the Juno broadcast.
Talent is talent. If we are so proudly Canadian we should support our people in as many platforms as we can. Yes, we are a humble people but if we're good, we're good.