The Time I Cried At The Juno Awards

Photo courtesy of Dana Gorab

It was the spring of 2013 and The JUNO Awards were being held in my hometown, hosted by Michael Bublé. I was super into Bublé’s smooth crooner vocals as a kid, and I was sure he’d put on a good performance. I was all coiffed, suited and booted in generic hipster attire, having been styled meticulously by my first girlfriend with suspenders, dress shoes, a bowtie, some pomad, and a smug smile that says, “Yeah, I heard of them ages ago.” It was a year after I graduated high school, and as such, I had zero confidence in my ability to dress myself.

Somewhere between us getting ready at her mom’s house, we found the time to argue enough to warrant the occasional silent treatment from one another. Arguing was the activity we did the best, and certainly the most frequently throughout our relationship. When her mom dropped us off at the venue, we took our place in the long line at the entrance, and despite our catty antics with one another, my ex and I got to talking to the other JUNO attendees on either side of us. I tried making conversation with a 40-something year old man in very tight leather pants, but he wasn’t very talkative and he must have found the deathly stranglehold on his groin distracting, as he squirmed around uncomfortably in his tight leather prison. It seemed clear to me that this was the first time he had worn them. I turned away from him to a small woman, not much older than the first man, who was telling anyone who would listen that she had followed Michael Bublé from all of his previous appearances across the country, and was excited to finally be able to see him live again for the 400th time. She also showed us a picture of her with Oprah, and I noticed the strained expression on Oprah’s face was identical to mine at that current moment, as I examined the uncomfortable photo that was the background on her phone. “What a shameless, crazed fanatic - I can’t stand people like this,” I thought. Security opened the doors and my ex and I filed into the arena, with about 50 bodies between us as we dare not look at each other’s annoying face (*sigh*, young love…).

I found myself perpetually pushed forward from the in-flowing crowd behind me, like garbage in the trash compactor of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. I ended up being stationed about six feet from the long, narrow stage, with my ex being about one foot from it, sandwiching a bunch more stinky strangers between us.

The event was finally officially getting under way, and the lights shutting down heralded the beginning of the night’s entertainment as a voice called, “Please welcome your host: Michael Bublé!” Every person around me sounded out their enthusiasm with unbridled excitement at seeing a REAL LIVE CELEBRITY! Michael walked up the stage steps with his arms turned up towards the heavens, walking slowly like a Greek god greeting us peasants. I was well out of my adolescent Bublé phase, and as such was unaffected by the hysteria. Again, I scoffed to myself, “What sheep! What brainwashed, mindless-“ and as Michael drew closer to me, crossing the strip of stage, I felt my heart rate start to increase. As Michael’s beautiful head swivelled in my direction, I could feel my armpits sweating off my cheap sports deodorant. I was immediately gripped with fear, as I started to understand that the gut reaction to seeing Mr. Bublé just feet from me was making me lose control. The shrieking in my midst was at a fever pitch, and from the depths of my desperate, 19-year-old soul, a ball of unpredictable fire was making its way up my windpipe. As Michael passed directly in front of me, my arms shot up towards the ceiling, my mouth fell open and I cried out (to my total shame): “MICHAEL! YOU’RE AMAZING!”

Even the tweens beside me looked at me with contempt, as my arms slowly descended and I realized with horror that I was without a doubt the most despicably desperate of all the brainless sheep there that night. As I felt my JUNO pass that hung from my neck between my sweaty fingers, this realization combined with all of the previous pent-up emotions from my ex and I fighting, and a single tear rolled down my baby-faced, razor burned cheek, as I silently mourned the loss of my self-respect.

- Ben Sefton, singer/songwriter