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Nickelbash

Our panel of experts predicts the winners---but mostly the losers, which is most of us---at the 2006 Juno Awards.

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ALBUM OF THE YEARMichael Bublé, It’s Time (143/Reprise)Diana Krall, Christmas Songs (Verve)Kalan Porter, 219 Days (ViK)Nickelback, All The Right Reasons (EMI)Rex Goudie, Under The Lights (SonyBMG)

Michael Catano: I raised money for CKDU FM by auctioning off a chance to smash a copy of All the Right Reasons into pieces live on the radio. I played the first few bars of “Photograph” over and over until someone called in and gave us money to stop. If that doesn’t make for Album of the Year, then I don’t know what does.

Phlis McGregor: Christmas is not all year long, so Krall is out. Rex sings he’s “just a guy in love with a girl.” And it takes a lot more than that to win in this category. Kalan: just be happy with the nomination. And Michael, you didn’t sell quite enough records. So once again, we’re back to the big nickel.

Tara Thorne: Surely CARAS has realized the embarrassment of nominating Krall five times for a Christmas album, and the appearance of two Idols should be enough to sate cash cow CTV. So it comes down to Nickelback, who sold the most records, and Bublé, who stole the most hearts. People love the Bublé, so it goes to him.

Jessica Whyte: Two Canadian Idols?! There are conspiracy theories abounding, connecting CTV’s relationship with both Canadian Idol and the Junos---could it be a coincidence that the Canadian viewing public and CARAS both like over-produced, sparkle-filtered pop music? Bublé wins again!

Anna Zee: It’s between Nickelback and Michael Bublé. Nickelback has six Juno nominations and they’re on their third single from All the Right Reasons. They’ll probably take this one.

SINGLE OF THE YEARBedouin Soundclash, “When the Night Feels My Song”Michael Bublé, “Home”Feist, “Inside and Out”k-os, “Man I Used to Be” Nickelback, “PhotographMichael Catano: I am unable to listen to Nickelback’s “Photograph” without laughing out loud at that line that goes, “what the hell is on Joey’s head?” The world needs laughter in these troubled times, so I’m going to give the nod to them. Also, bonus points for stealing the title of the best Def Leppard song, ever.

Phlis McGregor: History shows that bands with most screaming females win the most awards. Based on this, Michael Bublé should win. But who may swipe it from him? The band that has sold the most records and is worth its weight in nickel.

Tara Thorne: I can’t condone rewarding a cover song, it’d be like giving an Oscar to Jonathan Demme’s version of The Manchurian Candidate. Sorry, Leslie! The k-os song feels like it’s a million years old. Bedouin’s song is catchy and their success was helped by a Kmart ad, which is new, but it’s probably a Bublé or Nickelback win. Sigh.

Jessica Whyte: Tell me 2005 wasn’t so dry that the only thing this country could cough up was the “reggae-my-mom-could-dig” sounds of Bedouin Soundclash. And weren’t half of these released in 2004? I’m voting Bublé, the greatest Canadian since Donald Sutherland.

Anna Zee: This is a strong category. Feist has had a fantastic year since her appearance on last year’s Junos. K-os is great. Bedouin are new to this category. It’ll either be Nickelback or Bublé, who sang live on Dancing with the Stars and made some b-list actors shake their bon-bons.

ARTIST OF THE YEARMichael BubléBoom DesjardinsRex GoudieDiana KrallKalan Porter

Michael Catano: I’m giving it to the francophone. Out of all five, I’ve only ever heard the music of Diana Krall and Michael Bublé, which is enough to disqualify both of them. The other two were both on Canadian Idol, so I’m going to assume that they don’t really care if they win or not (people without souls can’t really care about much of anything, can they?), which leaves us with the francophone. Vive le Quebec libre!

Phlis McGregor: Again, the Christmas theme will surely eliminate Krall as an artist for all seasons. It’s also not her best work. Boom and the Idols: thanks for coming out kids. So, the winner is Michael Bublé. I have no difficulty with that…I mean I could be a big fan of his if I were just a little older and had a drinking problem.

Tara Thorne: I vote for no one. Juno will vote for Bublé.

Jessica Whyte: Boom Desjardins is super hot---the hair and beard say Kroeger Alert, but the face is all Jared Leto-y goodness. That said, I think Bublé out-sold him by a kabillion records. Hopefully, Boom will let me console him when he loses.

Anna Zee: It’s been a big year for Bublé. He put on one of the year’s great shows at The Metro Centre. I happened to be at the Joel Plaskett show at the Rebecca Cohn on the same night which was amazing…no regrets.

GROUP OF THE YEARBarenaked Ladies Blue Rodeo NickelbackOur Lady Peace Theory of a DeadmanMichael Catano: I would make some flippant, cutting remark about the nominees in this category, but I feel like everyone would glare at me like I just made a 9/11 joke at a NYFD convention. Let’s all have a moment of reverent silence for the state of Canadian music.

Phlis McGregor: Umm, Pamela Anderson? I guess that would be Pair of the Year. But that’s just a detail, because face it, if she was even in this category, she’d probably win over the other ladies in the running, probably over a dead man too. I’m sorry. I’m just trying to avoid the inevitable: N_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . How can millions of fans be wrong?

Tara Thorne: They have no chance, but Blue Rodeo is always awesome, and Jim “Silver Fox” Cuddy is not only hot, he’s got one of the most pleasing voices in this country. But it’s gonna be damn Nickelback.

Jessica Whyte: The Barenaked Ladies have started selling tickets to their “Ships and Dip” cruise, a four-day trek from Florida to the Turks and Caicos that promises “intimate solo jams to jam sessions.” Short of trying out for Canadian Idol, I can’t think of anything worse than being trapped on a boat with a thousand rabid BNL fans. That said, it’s a “green cruise”---so I’m giving this one to them, but only if they let Cuddy touch it.

Anna Zee: Theory of a Deadman is the relative newcomer compared to the others in this category. They’re the underdogs. Blue Rodeo, Barenaked Ladies, Nickelback and OLP have been nominated before. Nickelback could win this just because of having the most nominations and could sweep the whole thing...but that’s the mentality I had in our office Oscar pool when I voted for Brokeback Mountain and that got me nowhere. I’m going with the underdog this time: Theory of a Deadman.

ROCK ALBUM OF THE YEARHedley, Hedley (Universal)Jonas Déjà Musique, Jonas (DKDD/Fusion III)Nickelback, All the Right Reasons (EMI)Our Lady Peace, Healthy in Paranoid Times (Columbia)Theory of a Deadman, Gasoline (604)Michael Catano: Rock is all about fist-pumping good times. Given the degree to which I want to pump my fist into Chad Kroeger’s face, my choice is obvious.

Phlis McGregor: I know it’s not for All the Right Reasons, but I think Hedley should win. Their producer is up for a Juno category named after his own father---The Jack Richardson Producer of the Year Award---and that’s heartwarming. OK…never mind…you know and I know…it will go to that other band who will win for all the wrong reasons.

Tara Thorne: I will admit that Jacob Hoggard is very pretty (I dig the lip ring) but how is the Canadian Idol second runner-up in this national contest? Honestly. Theory of a Deadman had one of the guilty pleasure songs of the year in “Santa Monica,” but it will go to labelmates Kroegerback.

Jessica Whyte: You might think this category has escaped Idolization, but you’re wrong! Hedley is fronted by Jacob Hoggard, a CI alumni, while Theory of a Deadman is fronted by Tyler Connolly, a man with terrible choice in facial hair configurations (goatees make mouths look like vaginas). Give it to the francophone.

Anna Zee: Hedley’s good. Our Lady Peace could take this one. I like “Gasoline” by Theory of a Deadman...but Nickelback’s All the Right Reasons has done well in Canada and in the US. So they may be taking home the hardware on this one, especially if they lose in the Album of the Year category.

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEARDivine Brown Jonas Déjà MusiqueDaniel Powter Skye Sweetnam Martha Wainwright Michael Catano: Out of all the nominees in all of the categories, Martha Wainwright is the most likely to do or say something scandalous (by Canadian television standards) if she makes it to the podium. I’m crossing my fingers for her.

Phlis McGregor: With several EPs to her name, an appearance on Letterman, a European tour, plus a musical family that probably had her singing before she could talk, Martha Wainwright is not someone I’d call a “new artist.” But there’s something else that makes her stand out in this category: She’s also the best. Too bad there’s a chance she’ll be beat out by a newcomer who has a song in a Coca-Cola ad. That would be Daniel Powter, and that would be a “Bad Day.”

Tara Thorne: Martha’s easily the best of this lot---but will she be considered Canadian royalty or a lesser Rufus? Hard to say. Divine Brown has been working for years and is coming off a strong debut, so she might nab it if they’re concerned about upping the hip-hop content in the winners’ circle. Powter had the biggest hit though, so it could be his.

Jessica Whyte: I really liked the Divine Brown record, but I wonder if she knows that her name is shared with the prostitute that Hugh Grant so famously solicited in the mid-’90s?

Anna Zee: It’s been a stellar year for Daniel Powter.<\f>He’s had some international hits, toured with Bryan Adams and American Idol now plays his song “Bad Day” when the losers get voted off.

NEW GROUP OF THE YEARBedouin SoundclashBoys Night OutHedley Pocket DwellersSilversteinMichael Catano: Once, when I should’ve been paying attention to a lecture on “Poetry of the Romantics,” I wrote something I like to call my “All-Purpose Haiku.” It goes a little like this:

Shoot me in the head Shoot me in the fucking head Shoot me in the head

I think that sums it up nicely, don’t you?

Phlis McGregor: I’d like this award to go to the band with the best name: Bedouin Soundclash. And I think it will---they’re playing on the TV show and you know what that means.

Tara Thorne: It will be Bedouin or, if the Idol conspiracy maintains, Hedley, but my heart is with the one screamo band in this entire competition, Silverstein.

Jessica Whyte: I’m giving this one to Boys Night Out because their band name sounds like a delightfully decadent gay porno, and the artwork is pretty (kudos to Mr. Butchart).

Anna Zee: Bedouin Soundclash has a lot of buzz. Critics and fans alike are on the same page for these guys. Hedley has an outside chance.

ADULT ALTERNATIVE ALBUM OF THE YEARBlue Rodeo, Are You Ready (Warner)Luke Doucet, Broken (and other rogue states) (Six Shooter)Kathleen Edwards, Back to Me (Maple)Low Millions, Ex-Girlfriends (Manhattan)Neil Young, Prairie Wind (Reprise)Michael Catano: Unless Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor are up to something that I don’t know about, “Adult Alternative” sounds like a much racier category than these nominees would suggest. Let’s go with Neil Young. It’s about time people started giving him his due.

Phlis McGregor: A member of a nominated band (not in THIS category!) told me that an industry insider told him that if his band plays at the awards show they’d be more likely to win. Huh! So, is the reverse true? If so, I’ll pick Neil Young, please. Although, based on the L&L factor (Leno & Letterman), it will go to Kathleen.

Tara Thorne: Kathleen Edwards put out one of my favourite records last year, so I’d like to see her win because she deserves something. Almost as much as I’d like to see native Haligonian/Sarah Slean heartbreaker Luke Doucet grab it for the sake of hometown pride. But Neil Young almost died so it’s his. Where the fuck is Sarah Harmer?

Jessica Whyte: Other than rap, this is the only category that didn’t make me sob softly over the state of popular Canadian music. Despite being an obviously uncool geezer, I hope you’ll accept my vote for Blue Rodeo.

Anna Zee: I’m going with Neil Young’s Prairie Wind. A very personal CD. He came back from his brain aneurism and losing his dad a few months later. His movie Heart of Gold scored big at the Sundance Film Festival. Neil is back big-time and cooler than ever.

RAP RECORDING OF THE YEARClassified, Boy-Cott-In The Industry (Urbnet)Eternia, It’s Called Life (Urbnet)Kardinal Offishall, Fire & Glory (EMI)K’Naan, The Dusty Foot Philosopher (Track & Field)Sweatshop Union, United We Fall (Battle Axe)Michael Catano: My confusion as to why these are “recordings” rather than “albums” aside, Classified is the hometown Davey taking on the Canadian hip-hop Goliaths in this category and for that alone he gets my vote. K’Naan probably has this thing locked, but my heart will always be with Halifax.

Phlis McGregor: There’s some pretty stiff competition in this category. Of course, I’d like to see Nova Scotia’s Classified walk away with it, and I’d also be happy with a K’Naan win. But with BET, MTV and MuchMusic under his belt and lotsa CD sales it just may go to Kardinal Offishall.

Tara Thorne: As sweet as it would be to see the hard-working Class take this---East Hants represent!---he’s got some of the stiffest competition in this whole deal. Kardi dropped a huge pile of joy, and K’Naan has been winning hearts and minds all over the country. Kardi’s better known so it’s probably him.

Jessica Whyte: Quality artists that release on independent labels? Was there a misprint? With resounding confidence and pride, I’ve got to vote for Eternia---a fantastic performer, an engaging artist and a truly indie spirit. She rocks it.

Anna Zee: This category I’m not so familiar with so I’m going to defer to my homie and colleague R$ $mooth. He says it’s between Kardinal Offishall and Classified. Classified has the edge. He’s the home team, the vibe of his music is different from what’s out there in the mainstream and his message is good.

ALTERNATIVE ALBUM OF THE YEARBroken Social Scene, Broken Social Scene (Arts & Crafts)Hot Hot Heat, Elevator (Sire)Metric, Live it Out (Last Gang)The New Pornographers, Twin Cinema (Mint)Tegan & Sara, So Jealous (Superclose)Michael Catano: Given that I work at a campus/community radio station, I’ll probably get fired if I don’t pick The New Pornographers and then whinge loudly about how Twin Cinema deserves to take every Juno in every category. Truthfully, I’ve never actually heard that record, but I’ve got rent to pay.

Phlis McGregor: My vote goes to Broken Social Scene. But I can’t even count the times I’ve seen Metric on eTalk Daily, so there you go. CTV + MTV + Metric = you do the math.

Tara Thorne: Shake your head, it’s empty, Junos! BSS is the best known among the mainstream voters, the Pornos are the most beloved, the twins have had great success in the US and Metric has the most buzz (and the hottest singer, we’re just saying). Hot Hot Heat’s anticipated second record disappointed. They’re in town, so it will be a Scene.

Jessica Whyte: The New Pornographers. I’m somewhat endeared to Hot Hot Heat, possibly because lead singer Bays reminds me of Gino Vanelli, but to Vancouverites The New Pornographers my vote must go. Here’s to hoping some Atlantic Canadians get on the roster next year.

Anna Zee: Some great albums to pick from, but I think Broken Social Scene will take it. My personal pick is Victoria’s Hot Hot Heat. Great use of melody and a cute lead singer.

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