OTTAWA - Screaming fans turned out in droves to see their favourite artists at Saturday's Juno Fan Fare, where many were also buzzing over rumours that Justin Bieber might make a surprise appearance at Sunday's show.
"I'm going to die if he comes! I'm going to, like, cry if he comes," exclaimed one fan at the event at St. Laurent Centre shopping mall in Ottawa.
"He would cause a riot!" shouted her friend.
Rumours that Bieber might make an unscheduled stop at Sunday's Juno bash started Thursday when his dad, Jeremy, tweeted "Montreal bound then Ottawa for junos."
The 18-year-old teen-pop sensation is nominated for two Junos but is not among the confirmed guests for the show.
In a recent interview, Melanie Berry, head of the organization that runs the Juno Awards, said while it's not a "100 per cent" certainty that the Stratford, Ont., native will skip the Junos, organizers weren't counting on his presence.
Despite Bieber's absence Saturday, hordes of fans still showed up to Juno Fan Fare to get autographs and snap photos of acts including Carly Rae Jepsen, Deadmau5, Down With Webster, JRDN, Jully Black, Kardinal Offishall and Simple Plan.
"I was freaking out. I had to sit down," said Ottawa native Ellen Huang, 15, after Simple Plan lead vocalist Pierre Bouvier signed her jeans, which she now plans to "keep forever."
"And then he saw our poster and he waved at us," she added, holding up a poster that said: "I've got my heart on for Pierre."
Blue Rodeo was also on the minds of some fans who were pleased to see the band will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at tomorrow's Juno show, which will air on CTV.
"They seem like a Canadian institution, so it seems to make sense," said University of Ottawa student Sasha Spanchak, 19.
"They've been around in the music scene for so long that whether you like them or you don't, you've heard of them at least."
"They're just a great band," noted Lucy Saumier, who counts "Try" as her favourite Blue Rodeo hit.
And her favourite Blue Rodeo band member?
"Greg (Keelor). He's cute. Hey, I'm 55, I have the right to say that."
Carolyn St. Louis, 48, of Ottawa is partial to frontman Jim Cuddy.
"Just an awesome, awesome Canadian, big-hearted. He's got a great voice," she said while also praising the band for appealing to a wide range of Canadians and staying true to their roots.
"They've been a wonderful influence in terms of their charity work and everything else they've done across Canada. They're awesome. They can really meet a lot of different fan bases, from country right through to pop."
The Canadian Press
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