Entertainment

Simu Liu will host the Junos for 2nd year in a row

Canadian actor and Marvel star Simu Liu has been chosen to host the Junos for the second year in a row.

Marvel’s Shang-Chi star is 6th person to host ceremony back-to-back years

Simu Liu hosts the Juno Awards in Toronto on March 15, 2022. Liu will take the stage as host again in 2023, becoming the sixth person to host the awards twice in a row. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Shang-Chi star, Kim's Convenience alum and stock-photo legend Simu Liu has been chosen to host the Junos — for the second year in a row.

Organizers for the ceremony celebrating Canadian music released the news Wednesday through a surprise announcement during a CBC event at Toronto's Massey Hall. 

"There are no words to describe the incredible energy that took over Toronto last spring and I can't wait to help bring that to Edmonton," Liu said in a statement. "If you thought my rendition of Complicated was good, just wait until you hear my Nickelback cover."

Liu first hosted the awards last year at Toronto's Budweiser Stage, the Junos' first outdoor show, planned as such to combat possible pandemic-related restrictions.

In both 2020 and 2021, the awards experienced COVID-related interruptions that forced them to first cancel, then later shift to a virtual event.

WATCH | Simu Liu performs Avril Lavigne's Complicated at the Junos: 

Simu Liu performs Complicated Parody | Juno Awards 2022

9 months ago
Duration 1:36
Simu Liu performs Complicated Parody at the Juno Awards 2022

With Liu as host, the beleaguered musical showcase seemed to return to form. Dancing alongside Regina's Tesher for a performance of his tune Jalebi Baby, crooning a spoof version of Avril Lavigne's Complicated while accompanying himself on guitar, and opening the show with an updated reading of the iconic "I Am Canadian" Molson beer commercial, Liu's charisma managed to make the show a qualified success, despite the prior pandemic hiccups.

That's no small feat after the Junos' COVID struggles — and a run of some of the most difficult years for awards shows in general — left many wondering whether the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the awards' parent organization) could stage a show at all.

Juno Awards' familiar faces

Liu is far from the first host to return for a second year in a row. Six others have hosted the Junos twice in a row over the ceremony's more than five-decade history — five of them within the awards' first 20 years of existence (not including radio broadcaster George Wilson, who hosted the untelevised, original version of the ceremonies from 1970-1974).

After singer Paul Anka hosted the first public showing in 1975, comedian David Steinberg followed him as host in 1977 and 1978. The Guess Who's Burton Cummings took over for the next two years — then, after a single year's rest, he hosted again in 1982 and 1983 (the final time alongside actor Alan Thicke).

After hosting with a number of other celebrities in 1981, Andrea Martin co-hosted with her SCTV co-stars Joe Flaherty in 1984, then Martin Short in 1985. Comedian Howie Mandel took over as host for the next two years, and then — after a gap of more than 20 years — comedian Russell Peters became the next personality to host back to back, in 2008 and 2009. 

Juno Awards show host Russell Peters strikes a pose during the show's opening in Vancouver on March 29, 2009. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Liu's return as host also marks a returning trend of non-musicians propping up the awards on their own personal fame. While comedians and actors often took centre stage during the early years of the Junos, the awards have been almost entirely hosted by musicians in the 21st century.

The only entertainers famous outside the worlds of comedy or music to make a showing as host during that time, Pamela Anderson in 2006 and William Shatner in 2012, had performances that were mostly panned. 

This year's ceremony will take place in Edmonton, broadcasting from Rogers Place on Monday, March 13. It is only the second time Edmonton has been the site of the awards, the first time being in 2004 when Alanis Morissette hosted. 

The Junos will stream live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBC-TV, CBC and Gem, and globally at CBCMusic.ca/junos and CBC Music's Facebook, YouTube and Twitter pages.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jackson Weaver is a senior writer for CBC Entertainment News. You can reach him at jackson.weaver@cbc.ca, or follow him on Twitter at @jacksonwweaver

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