Blurred lines? Not according to Juno. At a Toronto media conference on Tuesday, it was announced that the American-born-and-raised Robin Thicke had qualified for three Juno awards, including artist of the year and top pop album for his breakthrough LP Blurred Lines.
"We're inclusive," explained Melanie Berry, president and CEO of The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS). "We celebrate the music made by all Canadians, regardless of where they were born or where they reside." Berry spoke to The Globe and Mail on the day nominations in 41 categories were announced for this year's Juno Awards gala, to be held at Winnipeg's MTS Centre on March 30.
Although the thrice Grammy-nominated Thicke was previously nominated for a Juno in 2012 (for the song Pretty Lil' Heart), his eligibility for the national music award was still in question. In 2012 it was reported by Quebecor Media that Thicke's father, Growing Pains star Alan Thicke, had never applied to make his son a dual citizen. "I'm fiercely Canadian and oddly, it just wasn't something I thought about," said the L.A.-based native of Kirkland, Lake, Ont.
When asked yesterday about singer Thicke's eligibility, however, Berry said that CARAS staffers had seen the proper paperwork. "He holds a Canadian passport, which is all that is required."
Conspicuous by its omission from the slate of nominations was the title song to Thicke's album. The smash single Blurred Lines ruled the summer, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for a dozen consecutive weeks. According to Juno, the charismatic but controversial song (for its racy video, plagiarism charges and perceived misogynistic lyrics) was on the long list for single of the year honours, but wasn't judged by CARAS voters as one of 2013's best five.
That handful includes Tegan and Sara's Closer, Serena Ryder's What I Wouldn't Do, Michael Bublé's It's a Beautiful Day, Classified's Inner Ninja and Arcade Fire's Reflektor.
Arcade Fire was the day's biggest winner, with six nominations. On the strength of its robust double album (also titled Reflektor), the Montreal rockestra is in contention for top album, group, alternative album, songwriting and fan's choice. Last year's Juno host, the affable crooner Bublé, scored five nominations, as did the big-voiced singer-songwriter Serena Ryder.
Other artists in the running for major prizes include Celine Dion (album, artist, fan's choice and adult contemporary album for Loved Me Back to Life) and the bottom-starting superstar Drake (fan's choice, album, artist and rap recording for Nothing Was the Same). B.C. pop-rockers Hedley won love in four categories (for Wild Life), as did the Calgary-born twin popsters Tegan and Sara.
Eight-time Juno winner Avril Lavigne and professional rascal Justin Bieber both scored noms in the fan's choice categories, but were shut out elsewhere.
The first list of performers for the Winnipeg event – "musical magic in Manitoba," as Juno has dubbed the occasion – were also announced. On stage will be the earnest singer-songwriter City and Colour, the Stompa-singing Ryder, the viral-video specialists Walk Off The Earth, Tegan and Sara and the blue-eyed R&B crooner Thicke.
A host has yet to be announced.