OTTAWA — Awards shows are usually good for a few surprises, and Sunday night’s Junos telecast is shaping up to have its share of memorable highlights.

After co-hosts Bryan Adams and Russell Peters parachuted in as substitutes for Michael Buble less than a month before showtime — and organizers suddenly added an extra half hour to the broadcast — it became clear this wouldn’t be a typical year.

Holding the event in the nation’s capital to mark Canada’s 150th birthday also raises the likelihood of something special happening.

With heaps of Canadian artists set to hit the stage during the CTV telecast, here’s five storylines that could create some major buzz:


BRYAN ADAMS: Many were shocked when one of Canada’s biggest rock stars volunteered to step in as Junos co-host this year. Sure, the musician wanted to help his friend Buble — who bowed out to care for his young son Noah as he fights cancer — but hosting an awards show is entirely new territory for Adams. Luckily he’ll share the responsibilities with Peters, a grizzled veteran who’s done this gig twice before. Will Adams play the straight man to Peters, or is there a secret king of comedy hiding inside the guy who sings “Summer of ’69”? Whichever way it goes, Adams is also expected to perform a song live.

FEIST: Leslie Feist is slated to pay tribute to the late Leonard Cohen — a multiple Juno Award winner who died last November — with an arrangement of one of his “classic songs.” Could it be a cover of his iconic track “Hallelujah?” If done right, this could be the night’s most powerful moment.

ALESSIA CARA: Even your grandma probably recognizes a song from this pint-sized singer and emerging pop star from Brampton, Ont., who melted hearts last year with her humbled Junos acceptance speech for the breakthrough artist award. Following a stunning year in which she lent her singing voice to Disney’s “Moana,” Cara is returning to the Junos for a victory lap. She’s in the running for another four awards and will bring another global superstar to the show: German electronic producer Zedd, who will join Cara to perform their single “Stay,” which is currently scaling the Billboard Hot 100.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU: He’s an international rock star in his own right, but it’s unlikely the prime minister will pick up an instrument. There is a good chance, however, that he’ll show up at the Junos in some non-musical capacity, considering the show is in his backyard. What he’ll do is anybody’s guess, but might we suggest he takes a swing at a karaoke rendition of Drake’s “One Dance”?

MYSTERY GUEST: Juno organizers say this year’s show will close with a surprise performance from a guest they’re not revealing. Will it be one of the country’s young superstars or a favourite from another era?


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David Friend, The Canadian Press

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