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Blogging the 2011 Juno Awards in Toronto: Part 1

Deadmau5 on the Juno Awards red carpet

Deadmau5 on the Juno Awards red carpet

Welcome to my 12th annual Juno Awards coverage. That’s right, I’ve been covering the Junos since 2000 when they were last in Toronto, but I’ve only been to the awards five times, including tonight. The special oddity of the night though is that this is the first year I’ve actually watched the show live. This should be interesting.

Drake opens the show with a pre-taped bit featuring CTV news anchor Lloyd Robertson, who was ready to play Call of Duty. Drake gets rid of Lloyd though to get a Skype call from Justin “the girls are screaming” Bieber, who is currently on tour and the two sing a little duet.

That leads us directly into the show where Down With Webster are play the opening set. Once they’re gone we get Drake live on stage in a tux with the one and only Chilly Gonzalez on piano. Drake welcomes the big names and sings a little song he’s working on called “I’m playing hockey…” before Drake serenades Shania Twain.

So far, the big thing to take note of is that Drake is actually a pretty good host. Certainly better than Oscar host James Franco, but then again, as Alan Cross pointed out on Twitter, the bar was set pretty low. At the very least I’ll admit that Drake is a better host than he is a singer.

After that, Arcade Fire rightly take Group of the Year. No big surprise there, but it’s certainly well-deserved. I would have to say that the best part night so far might have to be Deadmau5’s reflective head wear, when he was on stage to hand out the award.

In between the live sets on the stage, the audience is being treated to smatterings of retro Juno Award happenings on the big screen to keep us amused.

After the break though we get Sarah MacLachlan on stage for her performance, and then our ears are bleeding again shortly after that as Justin Bieber wins the Fan Choice Award. Again, no surprises, especially in the “screaming girl” category like Fan Choice.

We’re then treated to a few moments of K’Naan on stage as he hands out the award for Songwriter of the Year–and guess what–Arcade Fire won again, taking their second award of the night, and their third at this year’s Junos.

Hedley perform “Perfect” which draws some criticism from the Twitter-elite, but the fans in the Air Canada Centre seem pretty happy…