The Weeknd wins four Junos, Pickering, Oshawa stars shut out as topless protester steals show


Published March 14, 2023 at 9:02 am

NHL star Connor McDavid presented Nickelback with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo

Pickering’s Shawn Mendes was up for three awards; Oshawa’s Daniel Caesar one; but both were shut out of the winner’s circle at this year’s Juno Awards with pop star Avril Lavigne – shortly after confronting a topless protester with a message for Ontario Premier Doug Ford and the greenbelt – taking Mendes’ final chance at a prize when she was named the TikTok Fan’s Choice Award winner.

The topless protester, who Lavigne ignored for a moment before telling her to “get the f*** off,” was certainly the most bizarre moment in the event, held at Rogers Arena in Edmonton.

The Weeknd was the big winner at the 50th annual Junos, hosted by Mississauga’s Simon Liu for the second year in a row, leading the way with six nominations and winning Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Pop Album of the Year (Dawn FM) and Single of the Year (Sacrifice). He was also a no-show at the event, prompting some boos from the crowd.

Most of the awards were handed out Saturday night, with just Album of the Year, Contemporary R&B Recording (Yessie, Jessie Reyez) and Rap Album (Shall I Continue, Tobi) reserved for Monday’s televised show.

The last handful of awards included a tribute to rap and hip-hop and a special lifetime achievement award presented to Nickelback by Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid, with Liu showing off his vocal chops in performing one of their songs.

Mendes was also up for Single of the Year (When You’re Gone) and Artist of the Year, losing to The Weekend both times. Caesar was nominated for Traditional R&B/Soul Recording for Do Not Lean feat. BadBadNotGood, losing out to Savannah Re for Last One, feat. Dylan Sinclair.

Mendes’ producer, George Seara, was up for Recording Engineer of the Year but was beat out by Serban Ghenea, who won for his work with Lil Nas X and Sam Smith. The award was won last year by Pickering’s Hill Kourkoutis – the first woman to be nominated for the award, let alone win it – for her talents working on an album by Uxbridge singer/songwriter Tania Joy.

The Weeknd’s four awards ties him for second all-time with Bryan Adams. Anne Murray is number one. Arkells, who recorded their last album in Hamilton, won for Album of the Year for the sixth time, a record in the category.

Timothy Matwey, Canadian Press

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