It seems you can take Bieber out of the country - or is that back in? - but you can’t take the country out of Bieber.
Yes, Canada’s most maligned pop star of late - 19-year-old Justin Bieber of Stratford, Ont., whose spate of run-ins with police has led to a petition to have him deported from the U.S. - got a single 2014 Juno nomination for the Fan Choice Award at Tuesday’s press conference.
Montreal’s Arcade Fire led the pack with six noms including album and single of the year for their double-album, Reflektor.
“Fan choice is a combination of social media as well as sales,” Melanie Berry, the president of the Juno Awards, told QMI Agency when asked about Bieber’s nom.
“I’m not surprised at all (that he got nominated). He has a massive fan base and personally, he’s a kid who’s got a lot of money, and I hope he gets through it.”
In the fan-voted category, The Biebs will go up against Arcade Fire, Vancouver crooner Michael Buble and Toronto’s Serena Ryder (both next in line with five nods each including album and single), Quebec diva Celine Dion, Toronto rapper Drake and Vancouver pop act Hedley (with four noms apiece), L.A.-based R&B star and (Alan’s son) Robin Thicke and Burlington, Ont.’s Walk Off The Earth (with three nods each) and Avril Lavigne.
The Juno’s best single race is rounded out by East Coast rapper Classified featuring David Myles’ Inner Ninja, Buble’s It’s A Beautiful Day, Ryder’s What I Wouldn’t Do, and Calgary twin act Tegan and Sara’s Closer (the other four-time nominees).
Also vying for album of the year are Dion’s Love Me Back To Life, Drake’s Nothing Was The Same, Buble’s To Be Loved, and Ryder’s Harmony.
Meaghan Smith, who was among the musicians announcing the 2014 nominations, said people need to give Bieber a bit of a break.
“Honestly, he’s a 19-year-old kid - if everybody had a camera on my life when I was 19 years old,” she said, before adding: “I feel like he’s doing irresponsible things and obviously the drinking and driving is inexcusable, but I don’t know man. He’s had like a crazy childhood IF he’s had a childhood. I just wish him the best. I hope he works it out. And if people want to vote for him, they should.”
One of Bieber’s most vocal critics, Toronto deejay Deadmau5, who got a 2014 best dance recording nod for >album title goes here<, had another idea for the pop star.
“I could probably beat him in a drag race,” said the musician whose real name is Joel Zimmerman.
“If they do extradite him to Canada, I think we should have a drag race. Me and my souped up car. Him in whatever the f--- he wants. A rental car with insurance.”
The 2014 Juno Awards will be broadcast on CTV and take place on March 30 in Winnipeg with Thicke, Ryder, WOTE, Tegan and Sara, and Toronto singer-songwriter City and Colour (Dallas Green) are set to perform.
Berry said Bieber’s attendance at this year’s awards, along with other major nominees, is up in the air, depending on their tour schedule and availability, but she agreed his presence would be a ratings grab.
“He’s always been a ratings grab,” said Berry. “Last time we had Justin Bieber and Drake when we were in St. John’s in 2010 so that’d be quite amazing.”
Miley Cyrus, who plays Toronto’s Air Canada Centre on March 31, has also been extended an invitation.
Bruno Mars, who wowed at the Super Bowl half-time show last weekend, is among those up for International Album of the year for Unorthodox Jukebox.
Among the breakthrough group of the year nominees are July Talk featuring singer Leah Fay (daughter of The Toronto Sun’s Lorrie Goldstein.)
For a full list of the nominees, visit junoawards.ca.
Junos list: And the nominees are ...
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Reflektor — Arcade Fire
Loved Me Back to Life — Céline Dion
Nothing Was the Same — Drake
To Be Loved — Michael Bublé
Harmony — Serena Ryder
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
GROUP OF THE YEAR
Tegan and Sara
Walk Off the Earth
JUNO FAN CHOICE AWARD
Walk Off the Earth