ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – On a weekend when a dense blanket of fog wreaked havoc in St. John’s, one thing was still perfectly clear on Sunday: Michael Buble was the shining star of the 39th annual Juno Awards.
The Vancouver crooner nabbed a leading four trophies overall, including album of the year for his blockbuster “Crazy Love,” single of the year for “Haven’t Met You Yet” and the Juno fan choice award.
“This is the best one,” Buble said from the stage. “I mean, because we talk about our managers and our companies and all that stuff but we don’t talk about you enough. The fans, without you, none of this happens.
“I love you from the West Coast to the East, black, white, rich, poor gay, straight, thanks for the support. I love you.”
Two Toronto hip-hop artists split much of the remaining spoils, with 23-year-old rapper Drake picking up trophies for rap recording of the year and new artist of the year and K’naan winning songwriter of the year, to go with the artist of the year trophy he earned at Saturday’s gala.
“Last night, I won one of these things at the ceremony for artist of the year and I’m just as baffled as I was then,” K’naan said from the stage. “Honestly, there is no greater dream than the one that comes true in the way of a song. I feel like you couldn’t really write my story any better.
“K’naan here, and (I) really appreciate you Canada.”
Toronto new-wave outfit Metric also became double winners Sunday, picking up group of the year honours to go with the alternative album of the year trophy they won Saturday.
“Wow, this is too much,” said guitarist James Shaw as he took the stage, visibly surprised. “This has been an unbelievable year.”
But this was Buble’s show. The 34-year-old entered the weekend with six nominations and left with four crystal trophies, winning one Saturday and three Sunday. That brings his career Juno tally to 10 awards.
The Juno haul is the latest high point in a sparkling year for Buble.
Last September, his fourth studio album, “Crazy Love,” spent two weeks at No. 1 on the charts both in the U.S. and Canada.
In January, the crooner announced his engagement to Argentine model Luisana Lopilato, whom he credited as the inspiration behind “Haven’t Met You Yet” as he picked up the award for single of the year. Also in January, he won his second career Grammy, for best traditional pop vocal album.
He also made a prominent appearance during the Olympics’ closing ceremony in February, taking part in an elaborate production piece that saw the reliably self-deprecating crooner ride atop a motorized Mountie hat.
That sense of humour popped up again when Buble took the stage to accept the fan choice award, which is sponsored by Pepsi.
“I would like to thank the sponsor, Pepsi. Pepsi tastes great in a glass – but in a slurpee, it completes me,” he cracked.
And he was gracious as always in accepting each of his awards.
“I’m nervous, I don’t get nervous usually,” Buble said as he leapt onstage to collect the award for single of the year.
“I was nominated against incredible, incredible songs and I really didn’t expect to take this.”
All of the night’s big winners – Buble, Drake, Metric and K’naan – performed in front of an appreciative St. John’s crowd that began assembling along the red carpet in the early afternoon of a balmy day in the windswept island town.
Shrieking fans gave 16-year-old teen-pop heart-throb Justin Bieber a typically zealous welcome then, but the Junos weren’t quite as warm.
The mop-topped crooner lost out in all three categories in which he was nominated, but still took the stage for a performance.
Billy Talent was similarly shut out during the broadcast, but the Mississauga, Ont., rockers didn’t go home empty-handed after securing the trophy for rock album of the year on Saturday.
Other winners at Saturday’s non-televised gala included Jacksoul, who lost frontman Haydain Neale to cancer in November, hometown favourite Amelia Curran and Scottish-born country crooner Johnny Reid.
Bryan Adams was presented with the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award but couldn’t make it to St. John’s because he was stuck in London, where planes were still being grounded due to the volcanic ash cloud.
“It’s humbling and I’m honoured to receive this award, but I want you to know it’s a bit odd for me to be recognized for what countless people around the world do every day,” Adams said in a recorded message.
April Wine, meanwhile, was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
At the opposite end of the seniority spectrum, Drake was the Junos’ newest star.
His blistering solo performance of technicolour new single “Over” was the penultimate of the evening (afterwards, he collapsed dramatically to his knees) and he also joined Bieber for an acoustic version of “Baby” (lord, how they shrieked). His two trophies are particularly impressive given that they come before the release of his first official full-length album – the oft-delayed “Thank Me Later” is currently scheduled for a June release.
And the charming rapper had the good sense to thank his mom.
“I want to dedicate this award to my mother – she’s responsible for not only the artist I am but the man that I am, thank you very much to my mom,” he said.
After beating out Bieber for the award, he hugged the teen and gave him a shout-out in his speech.
“Justin Bieber, man, I swear, you work really hard, man, and I want to share this with you,” he said.
Fortunately for organizers, the show’s scheduled performers were not similarly delayed.
Excessive fog and rain had left scads of journalists and performers stranded in airports around the country before the Junos, but ultimately the full complement of scheduled performers made it into St. John’s to perform during the telecast.
The show was held without a single host, instead using a revolving cast of musicians, including Dallas Green, Shiloh and Danny Fernandes.
“What, Russell Peters couldn’t make it because of a volcano?” Barenaked Ladies drummer Tyler Stewart cracked, referring to the Brampton, Ont., comedian who hosted the show two years in a row.
The show got started on another unorthodox note, with an outdoor performance by Classified from storied George Street.
Buble then pitched in with the first performance inside, crooning “Haven’t Met You Yet” as he embarked on a leisurely stroll through the audience and confetti streamed from the ceiling.
The show ended, meanwhile, with K’naan – clad all in white – singing his increasingly ubiquitous unity anthem “Wavin’ Flag,” joined by a cluster of musicians that included Drake, Bieber and Montreal singer Nikki Yanofsky.