k-os Juno controversy

by W. Andrew Powell

k-os @ the 2007 Juno Awards
courtesy CARAS/iPhoto

There’s been a lot of talk since yesterday about k-os and his little, “This show is propaganda” bit in the middle of his Juno Awards performance of “Sunday Morning”. Aisha even asked me why I hadn’t made a comment about it in my blog posts, so I figured I’d bring it up since everyone else is talking about it.

The truth is, I’m a little tired of k-os. His music is awesome, he’s a good performer, but when it comes down to his views he sometimes just comes off as a hot head.

What bugs me about this isn’t what he said about the Junos though (they are really just about selling records, wouldn’t you say?) but why was he even up there if he feels so strongly about the show in the first place? My only guess is that he’s legally obligated to be there, thanks to his contract with his record label, but I don’t know. Even if his label does have him legally bound like that, why would they force him if they knew he’d just speak out against the show? Kinda seems like bad press to me.

That said, his brief comment did make for a few seconds of good TV. And on the bright side he may have opened some teenage eyes to what the show is all about. I just think there’s a more relevant way of speaking out against the show. At least one artist showed us how in the past – he just wouldn’t show up at the event in the first place. I’m inclined to think that also sends a powerful message to the people who run the event – maybe with more pressure they’ll ditch the current trend and aim for a show that reflects more strongly on what Canadian music really is all about. Maybe they’ll actually present some awards to some artists who aren’t already on the radio. Heck, maybe they’ll finally take the Junos to Quebec after ignoring it for the last six years…

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M April 2, 2007 - 2:20 pm

After reading CASSANDRA SZKLARSKI’s article on last night’s Junos, 2 things are evidently clear: CASSANDRA SZKLARSKI is a huge Nelly Furtado fan (to the point of having her entire world covered with every article, photo and expression ever written/said about Nelly, to the point of stalking) AND/OR, she is truly delusional!

Nelly was not only “The Worst” host in history but the Junos in general, were pretty much what Canadians have come to expect of Canadian TV – low budget and classless. This is particularly evident with the need to have a father as past Prime minister in order to have a face in the Entertainment limelight (I.E. Ben Mulroney and Justin Trudeau…………shoot me please!!!) John Cleese on Montreal’s Just For Laughs said he would do 98% of Canadians a favor by shooting Ben Mulroney – and he was most certainly RIGHT!

So we have our ditzy host which for all intensive purposes, the Juno’s should have been renamed….It’s all about me!

She’s not funny. Brett Butler is funny. And the cameo soap-opera bits about her Aunt were beyond retarded. For a woman with such fashion sense, she looked liked she was wearing a paper bag for the first half AND THEN when it came to accepting awards, remarkably made the transformation to glamour……how self-serving is that?
She’s cute and quirky but PLEASE, not a freakin’ host! Let’s not represent Canadians to the entire world as: shallow, superficial and having an IQ of next to zero. And whoever ran with the commercial concept of bubbly thought icons, got that from his child in Grade 2. Pretty much the entire production overall, sucked big-time!…….all I could think was, “Well, that’s Saskatoon for you.” How completely pathetic!

From acceptance expressions such as “Get drunk. Get very, very drunk.” and “Holy Crap,” the shot of Jim Cuddy opting to forego giving a hug (to not lose a drop of his beer) to Tomi Swick (with his home-made Hamilton t-shirt “to represent,”)and the unibrow………oh, but the absolute worst goes to Nelly herself. Upon entering, looking like a black crow, getting caught up in the shrouds hanging from the ceiling and then having a “moment” hissy-fit, demanding to be put down………….now that was priceless!

We have such amazing talent in this country and yet this is how we’re represented – that is just the saddest admission of all! Instead of showcasing our abilities, we continually have technical error, cost constraints and come off as cheesy, cheap as hell and daft. How pathetic are we?

For someone that is truly talented (that is, without having to go State’s side to shake his ass), it’s no bloody wonder that k-os appeared early in the broadcast with a performance of his hit “Sunday Morning,” changing the lyric to at one point declare: “This show is not me, this show is propaganda.” …………………..NO SHIT!

Boo, boo, boo – this award show should most definitely go down in the history books as “The Worst Ever!” and as the example to NEVER AGAIN repeat!

Listener April 2, 2007 - 4:24 pm

CBC Radio asked K-OS what was up with the guitar-throwing and lyric-changing. Listen to it at


David Taylor April 2, 2007 - 5:12 pm

Somewhat agree with “M” – however “….all I could think was, “Well, that’s Saskatoon for you.” How completely pathetic!”

Not a nice thing to say – Nelly blew – yes – but the sound/presentation was, in my opinion the best of the last 10yrs – but yes – Nelly blows — besides, she looks now like she is 40 – botox?

ET April 2, 2007 - 5:55 pm

M., you hit the nail on the head. K-OS, although his voice was crap and he was off, was the highlight for his comment. I wanted to strangle the hell out of that self-centred twirp of a host and she made me terribly embarrased. Kudos to Gordon Downy too – for that intro speech to Bob Rock. When do you get to hear poetic-weird speeches that aren’t about mutual masturbation? Or then again, maybe it was about that…

boredbyjunos April 2, 2007 - 6:25 pm

yeah ET, i totally dug the gord downie intro too. bob rock is really cool, i just hope he appreciated getting that poetic induction and realizes JUST HOW cool gord’s words were. then again, rock just produced their album, so you’d hope he’d get it that when gord downie strings together something prolific in your honour that it isn’t without a GREAT DEAL of thought that went into it. my fave part was “he makes you want to sing your punk rock heart out….”

anyway, onto k-os for a minute. i must’ve got distracted when he did the lyric-changing, guitar smashing ‘cuz it didn’t register with me. but whatever… he did it, it’s cool, it’s rock, it’s music. what bothers me is i just listened to his interview link above with the cbc, and he goes on for 7 minutes trying NOT to explain himself. he just did it cuz he’s an artist and that’s what artists do– self-expression. okay, great. but he sounds like he FEELS THE NEED to explain himself, like he’s got something to say, but then doesn’t say it, which is kind of a lot like his music.

i mean, i like the song sunday morning.. but it’s not like there’s any great message in it or anything. it’s almost like an unfinished thought.

so you know what? If you’re going to be all controversial and make a statement of some kind during your performance, GREAT, but just MAKE IT and move on. Don’t go on the radio afterwards and waffle about for 7 minutes trying to EXPLAIN yourself for it. if you want to be punk rock or artistic or whatever — let your actions speak for themselves and who cares what people think? you don’t OWE anyone an explanation for doing or saying something during your own performance.

that’s it. i’m finished ranting about the show. did i mention how awful nelly was?

Just Me April 2, 2007 - 8:33 pm

I honestly don’t know what everyone thinks was so bad about the Nelly Furtado and the Junos. I thought Nelly was totally down to earth and was very brave to poke so much fun at herself the way she did. Anyone with half a brain could tell that her entrance wasn’t supposed to be anything but a staged comedy, and to be taken totally tongue in cheek. I thought it was hilarious. The shrouds were placed there on purpose, obviously. I don’t know how anyone could possibly accuse her for making it an “all about me” show since she obviously had no say in which awards she would be receiving. It just worked out that way and apparently some people there and here, are sore losers. I’m just glad she has a good sense of humour which is more than I can say for most of the people writing here today.

I personally feel that K-OS was wayyyyyyyyy out of line by using the Juno stage, which is supposed to be a celebration of Canadian musicians, as his soap box. My daughter was in the pit beside the stage and she said that K-OS was totally disrespectful to his fans as he marched by them without even a glance despite all their cheering and applause. She said she used to like him, but now she doesn’t, and many of the other fans that were in her area feel the same way.

As for the comment about Saskatoon, I don’t even know how to address that. Saskatoon is a great place and anyone who’s been there will attest to that. As David said, the sound and production were fantastic. The way the fans were given the choice seating was also exceptionally generous as this not only gave them a chance to see their favourite musicians perform up close, but also gave them the opportunity to shake a few hands to show their appreciation as they walked by to accept their awards. The fans are what makes a musician famous and everyone except K-OS seems to be aware of this.

I for one, and obviously the minority on here, am proud of Canada and our talent and give applause for Nelly Furtado and Saskatoon for putting on a great show.

u dumb moron April 3, 2007 - 1:05 am

but why was he even up there if he feels so strongly about the show in the first place?

when u have a point of view that u want the world to know about u just keep it to urself. what kind of a question is that? f%$k the junos and their staged nelly furtado crap. she wanted to act so surprised as if she hadn’t gone over the script 100 times. it was pathetic how she would invite herself to grab the prizes or sing. it became quite obvious after the first 2 that she would win everything. and to all of u that thought furtadopresenting the jnos was all cute and cozy f%#k u too, u deserve to spend money on crappy remixes of stolen hits.

boredbyjunos April 3, 2007 - 2:53 am

i have to say i kind of agree, nelly was fake fake faking the surprise. trying WAY too hard to pretend to be humble and ‘oh i didn’t think i’d get single of the year. oh i didn’t think i’d get album of the year. oh, by the way, i recorded in miami, but i’m canadian. yay!” big f-in’ deal. WTF?? i’d be EMBARRASSED if i was her about being plastered all over the junos like that. and i kind of thought when she mentioned TWICE that she recorded in miami that it was anything but humble, it was almost like saying ‘oh i’m such a big star i recorded in miami w/timbaland.’ like she had to let everyone know it (if we didn’t already) by mentioning it twice.

i think she’s an f-in’ phoney little twit. all this fawning over her by the media saying how cute and perky and “kooky” she was as a host is embarrassing too. do these people really think THAT SHOW was entertaining?? it was LAME.

Just Me April 3, 2007 - 1:09 pm

Well let’s just pretend that Nelly isn’t as stupid as you seem to think. Let’s pretend that she caught on to the predictableness of who was getting the awards, the same as you and I did. Now what is she supposed to do about it? Is she supposed to go up and accept it graciously like she did, or is she supposed to walk up there and say, “I knew I was getting this, thanks” and walk off? How about….”Oh I can’t possibly accept this beautiful tribute, so I must pass it over to someone who nobody voted for”. Or maybe, let’s put it this way….Is there ANYTHING Nelly could have done to please you? Not very likely.

She was chosen to host the awards and had no idea she was going to win anything when she accepted the job. In fact, there is an interview with her online where she’s saying that she really didn’t count on winning anything as she hasn’t been very successful at the Juno’s in the past. She agreed to host simply because she was asked. Of course she has a script, but the script doesn’t tell her who is going to win the awards. If she wins the awards, of course she is going to accept them. Why wouldn’t she? She would obviously be fairly certain about predicting that she was going to win the last couple of awards since she already won everything else and I feel she acted very humble and gracious. If she tried to act surprised, then bless her. We’ve all done the same thing on Christmas or our birthdays when we already know what we’re getting but don’t want to hurt the givers feelings by not being surprised.

I’m not even a fan of Nelly’s singing and certainly never thought I would be coming to her defence, but boy, you guys are just plain bitter and nasty. Try and be happy for her. If she was your sister/mother/aunt/cousin you’d be ecstatic!

boredbyjunos April 3, 2007 - 2:33 pm

hey, just me…. i hear you going blahblahblahblahblahblah but you don’t know what you’re talking about. you don’t know how the junos work and you’re just defending it and her because you live in saskatchewan. people are entited to their opinions, even if they’re negative ones, so lighten up and don’t take it so personally that i thought i nelly SUCKED.

i am sure the juno braintrust might’ve had an idea that nelly would win a few awards this year. so to put someone in as HOST who was also going to be running up to the podium 5 times to accept awards is just RIDICULOUS and it looked awkward and amateur. What, do we have only have ONE talented person in this country, so we have to make the whole show about HER?? i guess what would’ve made me happy is if they hadn’t put her in as host when she was also going to be performing and collecting a ton of awards. they should’ve just made a freakin’ nelly furtado special, which I and other nelly non-fans could’ve skipped, and use the 2-hour timeslot for the junos to try to showcase ALL the musical talent in this country. not just her. okay??

yeah, you’re right, i’m not the biggest fan and maybe i’m being nasty, but it’s like the emperor’s new clothes to me… everyone saying how fantastic she is, when she is MARGINALLY talented and her hosting abilities were LACKING at best. so there. i’m done. i’m so sick of seeing her face and name in the media i don’t even want to rant about it anymore. if there’s something nelly might learn from this… it’s that overexposure and overkill is not a good thing. it can turn people off.

Just Me April 3, 2007 - 5:14 pm

I’m actually from Ontario. I’m not saying that it wouldn’t have been nice to see some other talent on stage. I would have loved that. I’m just saying that Nelly Furtado was put in the position that she was in, and I thought she did as good of a job as she could. If you should be mad at anyone, you should be mad at the people who voted that she receive all the awards and placed her on stage that many times. Like I said, nobody knew she was going to win all 5 awards. K-OS was nominated for just as many, and didn’t win a single one. She performed every duty she was hired or expected to do and I’m sure she felt just as uncomfortable having so much stage time as opposed to others, as the rest of us.

It made sense to have her perform ONE song, especially if so many people love her so much that they would have given her all those accolades, but I agree, she should only have performed once. The spoof video wasn’t necessary but it was cute nonetheless. That time slot could have allowed another great band/nominee to perform for the fans.

The one thing that bothered me about this year’s junos was the fact that the celebrities never bothered dressing up. Walking the red carpet is typically a glitzy occasion where the fans can ooh and ahhh over the glamour that they expect from a star. It seemed that the normal enthusiasm of the Junos was not there which possibly put a cloud over the events from the start. It’s unfair to blame Saskatoon, because, coming from the east, I know that there is a stereotypical redneck vision of the prairie provinces, especially Saskatchewan and they were probably being prejudged before the festivities even began.

Just MY opinion.

kath April 4, 2007 - 2:46 pm

nelly furtado KICKS ASS

It's my first time April 4, 2007 - 6:39 pm

Ok lets get this straight

It’s not Nelly’s fault that she’s so talented and snatched all 5 Juno Awards. If the other artists were pissed or mad that she won everything, than they should do something about it. Work harder and one day they’ll be in Nelly’s position. She deserved the awards she received, regardless of what anyone says. She was the best-selling artist in Canada in 2006, so of course she’ll get the most awards.
PS. I thought she did an OK job of hosting, highlights included her comedy sketch with Buble and the remake of her ‘Promiscuous’ music video. She’s a great ambassador of Canadian music.

M April 4, 2007 - 8:46 pm

Just Me………..shut up all ready!………….what are you on her payroll?
Nelly soooooooooo freakin’ sucked and that’s a huge understatement! Whether you’re from Ontario or now calling Saskatoon people rednecks – you obviously have no taste and equally no class.

Andrew April 4, 2007 - 11:07 pm

I think we’ll all just have to agree to disagree folks – please don’t attack each other.

Hello All April 18, 2007 - 12:37 am

Just me may not know how the Juno’s work, but I do!
As a sub-contracted event planner for the Juno committee in Saskatoon, I can very safely say that NO ONE knows who is going to win until 3 days prior, and then only the top officials have that information.

I am sorry that you didn’t feel that Nelly signified Canadian Music. Her fan base is quite large, and the committee felt as though a current music celebrity would be better placed in this position then just ‘any star’.

I feel that Saskatoon did an amazing job at hosting the Juno’s. The tourism side was fantastic, the production, and the 6 corresponding events that come with the Juno’s were very well executed. The Juno’s is actually a 3 day long event in the host city. All of the singers and stars where happily impressed with the events that were held in Saskatoon and the welcome and hospitality that they received.

Saskatoon is very far from a red-neck community. They are hoping to have dispelled any of those notions by hosting one the best ever attended Juno Award ceremonies in history. The dress style of the celeb’s was decided by each of them on their own accord. There was no mandate or request to have glitz, glam or jeans worn by any one. I was in attendance at the event, and I can tell you that many, many of the patrons were very well dressed. A lot of them simply were not star worthy enough to end up on camera.

The truth of Nelly hosting the event is, she was asked before the vote requests even go out for each of the awards. At the time of her acceptance the list of who was eligible for each award was not even devised yet. There is no conceivable way to know that she would be eligible for that many awards, and voted the winner on them as well. As a subcontractor, this was not one of my decisions. I will state, however, that I completely stand by the original committee decision, always!

I appreciate you opinions and the passion in which you state them, it makes for good discussion for planning in the years to come.

GATEKeeper April 18, 2007 - 9:51 am

I think I’ve clearly had my say on the whole Junos experience, but the last poster reminded me of something I said in another post…

“…I can’t accept that this is the best show CTV, CARAS and Insight Productions can put on. I’d even be willing to bet that the ratings will bear witness to that…”

And the ratings did bear witness – they were down substantially from other years. I think a part of the issue was that people like Nelly Furtado as a musician, but do they care for her as a host?

That said, I’ll admit that Nelly was the only international name on the roster this year, and the last few years have featured some big appearances, including the Black Eyed Peas and Coldplay. So obviously ratings will be down a bit based on that too.

Anyway, it has been a good discussion. I hope some of it makes its way to the ears of CARAS/CTV, although I’d take some of the advice with a grain of salt of course…

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