The five best Canadian Grammy performances
With a bumper crop of Canadian artists set to perform at next week’s Grammy Awards—the Arcade Fire, Justin Bieber and Drake—we thought this was a fitting moment to reflect on memorable Canuck Grammy performances of yesteryear. Given our country’s track record at producing international divas, it should come as no surprise that the list is heavy on acts known principally by their first name. Here, five performers who prove that Canada’s got talent, and that Canadians probably give their costume designers too much creative freedom.
Alanis Morissette—“You Oughta Know”—Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, 1996
Before she played God in Dogma and before she fell for Ryan Reynolds, Alanis took to the stage for the 1996 Grammys, flanked by two dudes with strangely large acoustic guitars, to sing this vengeful little ditty. Points for not self-editing the swears for American prime time.
Céline Dion—“All By Myself”—1997
This is vintage Céline, all chest bumps, hair flicks, theatrical squinting and power vocals. Watch as she gracefully and inexplicably descends a massive flight of stairs to join her stagemate, a no-name musician at a white grand piano, before she bends at the knees, leans back and shows the world that this saccharine Quebecoise sensation can really sing.
Shania Twain—“Man! I feel like a Woman!”—Best Female Country Vocal Performance, 2000
After all she’s been through over the past few years, it’s nice to reflect on what were surely simpler times for Shania. You know, when a pair of thigh-high boots was somehow a sign of feminine empowerment and backup singers didn’t complain about having to wear patent leather pants.
Nelly Furtado—“I’m Like a Bird”—Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, 2002
Remember Nelly Furtado before Timbaland got to her? (In the early days, she was more Women and Songs, and less pleather skirts.) It’s hard for us to decide which we prefer: the adorable 2002 Grammy Furtado, or the sweaty club maneater Furtado. Two entirely different species of guilty pleasure.
Avril Lavigne—“Sk8er Boi”—2003 (nominated for song of the year for “Complicated” and best new artist)
As much as Avril Lavigne was trying to adopt a punk persona in this 2003 Grammy performance, there’s no denying she’s an eighteen-year-old in a bow tie singing about a “boi” who has a crush on a ballet dancer. It’s cute (check out the awkward pogoing with her hand in her pocket), but it sure ain’t hardcore.BONUS PICK: Michael Bublé
Ok, so the boy from Burnaby hasn’t actually performed at the Grammys, but watching him wave his statuette before adoring fans at Madison Square Garden is pretty great anyway.