TORONTO (CelebrityAccess) – The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and CBC celebrated Canada’s biggest night in music Sunday (May 15) at the 51st Annual JUNO Awards broadcast for the first in-person since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hosted by Marvel’s own “Shang-Chi,” actor Simu Liu, the awards were broadcast from the outdoor venue, the Budweiser Stage, for the first time in history. The evening was marked with breathtaking performances and appearances by Canada’s most influential personalities.
The night’s big winner was Charlotte Cardin, who won three major awards at the JUNO Opening Night Awards on Saturday (May 14). Leaving the crowd wanting more, she performed her hit “Meaningless” and added Album of the Year to her collections of statuettes, making her the most decorated artist of the night with four wins.
The Arkells took home Group of the Year after a two-song performance of “Reckoning” and “You Can Get It” that the crowd began to sing before the band could. JESSIA, hailing from Vancouver, took home her first win for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, and Haviah Mighty (Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class alumni) became the first female in JUNO history to win Best Rap Album/EP of the Year before her heartfelt performance medley of hits “Protest” and “So-So.”
The TikTok JUNO Fan Choice Award, obviously voted on by the fans, went to hometown “good ole boy,” Shawn Mendes. This is the fourth time Mendes has taken home that award, bringing his total JUNO count to 13 awards. Mendes made a special appearance during the ceremony to accept the prestigious JUNO International Achievement Award, given only eight times in JUNO history. The award honors Canadian artists (s) who have attained extraordinary success outside their native land and have helped Canadian music rise in prominence worldwide.
MusiCounts recognized Canadian music teacher/educator Darren Hamilton (David Suzuki Secondary School, Brampton, ON) and his impact on the students he teaches, the surrounding community, and the music education field with the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award (Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation) and what some consider the most important award of the night.
For a complete list of winners, including images and biographies, go to www.JunoAwards.ca.
In addition to the showstopping performances and much-deserved awards, the JUNO Awards put another mark in the history books with the induction of award-winning recording artist and Broadway, TV, film, and fashion icon Deborah Cox. Cox became the first black woman to join the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and was inducted by Raptors alumni, NBA Hall of Famer, author, and friend, Chris Bosh. Cox delighted the crowd with her four-song medley of hits “Beautiful U R,” “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” “Where Do We Go From Here,” and “Who Do U Love.”
In one of the most heavily anticipated moments of the night, nine-time JUNO Award winner and pop-punk icon Avril Lavigne rocked the stage and the audience with her mashup of “Complicated,” “Girlfriend,” “I’m With You,” and “Sk8r Boi.” Rounding out the electric performance was “Bite Me,” from her latest album Love Sux. Lavigne recently announced her engagement to rapper, producer, and actor Mod Sun.
One of the biggest bands on “fire” in the industry as of press time, Arcade Fire, turned it out performing “Unconditional 1 (Lookout Kid),” while rap sensation and JUNO nominee bbno$ had the crowd out of their seats with his viral tracks, “Lalala” and “Edamame.” His songs have streamed more than 2.8 billion times worldwide.
JUNO Award winner DJ Shub and JUNO nominated hip-hop duo, Snotty Nose Rez Kids performed a politically charged medley of “War Club,” “Uncle Rico,” and “Rebirth. Presenter Lauren Spencer-Smith performed her platinum single, “Fingers Crossed,” and the first time JUNO nominated Tesher performed some of his hits with a surprise collaboration on “Jalebi Baby” with host Simu Liu. Mustafa, the winner of Alternative Album, moved audiences with a “Stay Alive” alongside fifteen members of his hometown community.
The evening’s presenters included a Who’s Who of Canada’s most recognizable and notable personalities, including Bilal Baig (co-creator and star of the hit series Sort Of), The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez (Minister of Canadian Heritage), Tia Wood (TikTok star and Indigenous activist), and Roxane Bruneau (Francophone nominee).
The JUNO broadcast is available on CBC Gem, CBC Music.ca/junos, and the JUNO Awards social media channels.