The Weeknd topped the Junos' nominations list announced today with six, putting him as a front-runner at the ceremony for the third year in a row — and positioning him to jump even further up the awards show's list of most-lauded artists.
Organizers also announced three performers at the 52nd annual Juno Awards, which will be held in Edmonton. Four-time Juno winner Jessie Reyez, first-time Juno nominee Aysanabee (for contemporary Indigenous artist or group of the year) and rock group Alexisonfire will take the stage during the March 13 show.
The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) is nominated for fan choice, as well as single of the year (Sacrifice) and both best album and best pop album for Dawn FM. He's also nominated for artist and songwriter of the year.
With those nods, Tesfaye now holds a career 40 nominations and 17 wins going into the 2023 awards.
That ties him with the Tragically Hip, and behind only Canadian greats Anne Murray, Bryan Adams, Céline Dion and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal for most trophies ever.
The Weeknd rivals most-lauded artists
That long list of wins is even more impressive when considered in light of how quickly he amassed them. The Tragically Hip, for example, earned their 17 wins and 46 nominations between 1990 and 2021, having been nominated at 19 separate Juno events. Dion earned 20 wins and 75 nominations between 1987 and 2021, with her name in the running at 22 separate ceremonies.
And front-runner Anne Murray gained 25 wins and 52 nominations between 1971 and 2008 — a span of nearly four decades — at 25 shows.
Meanwhile, the entirety of The Weeknd's presence at the Juno Awards has now taken place between 2013 and 2023 — a decade in which he was nominated each and every year.
Close behind him at this year's awards is pop-punk singer Avril Lavigne and Calgary's Tate McRae, each with five nominations. Both are up for similar categories: McRae for fan choice, single of the year (She's All I Wanna Be), album and pop album of the year (I Used to Think I Could Fly) and songwriter of the year.
Meanwhile, Lavigne — back after a career-spanning performance at last year's awards, her first time performing there since 2008 — is up for single (Bite Me), album and pop album (Love Sux), artist of the year and fan choice.
While she won fan choice in 2020 and 2019, the last time Lavigne has been awarded in a category noting a specific music release was in 2005, when she won artist of the year and pop album of the year — and winning fan choice then once again.
This will mark the 20th anniversary of Lavigne's first appearance at the Junos, but it is only the third for McRae. The singer — and one-time professional dancer — arrived on the scene when her track You Broke Me First achieved viral fame, largely due to TikTok. Despite being nominated twice in both 2021 and 2022, she has yet to win.
Nominees in key categories:
TikTok Juno fan choice: Avril Lavigne, Lauren Spencer-Smith, MacKenzie Porter, Preston Pablo, Rêve, Shawn Mendes, Tate McRae, The Reklaws, The Weeknd, Tyler Shaw.
Artist of the year: Avril Lavigne, Lauren Spencer-Smith, Michael Bublé, Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd.
Album of the year: Who Hurt You? Ali Gatie; Love Sux, Avril Lavigne; Demons Protected by Angels, Nav; I Used to Think I Could Fly, Tate McRae; Dawn FM, The Weeknd.
Single: Bite Me, Avril Lavigne; Flowers Need Rain, Preston Pablo and Banx & Ranx; When You're Gone, Shawn Mendes; She's All I Wanna Be, Tate McRae; Sacrifice, The Weeknd.
Group: Arcade Fire, Arkells, Billy Talent, Metric, The Reklaws.
Breakthrough artist: Dax, Devon Cole, Preston Pablo, RealestK, Rêve.
Breakthrough group: Banx & Ranx, Harm & Ease, Rare Americans, Tommy Lefroy, Wild Rivers.
Songwriter: The Weeknd, Faouzia, Tate McRae, Tenille Townes, Tobi.
Though organizers tried in both 2021 and 2022 to promote a wider slate of mostly new names and first-time nominees, a number of categories this year seem to be more of a look back. Singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes is nominated for fan choice for the seventh year in a row (and is also up for artist of the year and single of the year for When You're Gone), while the nominees for both group and rock album of the year are a serious blast from the past.
Group of the year
Consummate rockers the Arkells are up for group of the year once again, marking their seventh time competing for the award. That puts them ahead of many of the most well-known rock acts in Canadian history, including Sum 41, the Matthew Good Band (each nominated three times), Three Days Grace, Bachman-Turner Overdrive (each nominated four times), the Barenaked Ladies, Billy Talent, Hedley and Our Lady Peace (each nominated six times).
While the Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo and Rush all hold more nominations (with 11, 14 and 15, respectively), only Blue Rodeo holds the same number of wins, with five. And as the Arkells have only lost that category once, that record could very well be broken this year.
The category is also filled with other familiar names who have been nominated before. The group that has been up for the category the fewest times is brother-sister duo The Reklaws, whose single What the Truck went platinum last year. This is their fourth time nominated.
Toronto's Metric is in the running for the fifth time, while rockers Billy Talent are up for their sixth — three decades after they first formed in Mississauga, Ont., then calling themselves "Pezz."
The final group in the running is Arcade Fire, which is nominated for the fifth time. Late last year, several radio stations across Canada pulled the band's discography from their lineups and musicians Beck and Feist both dropped out as opening acts for the band's tour after lead singer Win Butler was accused of sexual misconduct.
In subsequent statements, both Butler and his wife and bandmate Régine Chassagne denied the allegations.
Rock album of the year
Rock album of the year sees the return of Nickelback, the much-derided alt-rock group that was first nominated for — and won — the category in 2002. They're nominated for their album Get Rollin' this year and will also be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame for remaining "at the forefront of the music scene in Canada and around the world," according to organizers.
Also nominated in that category is Billy Talent for Crisis of Faith, Alexisonfire for Otherness (their first album in 13 years), The Sheepdogs for Outta Sight and Three Days Grace for Explosions. Of those bands, only two, The Sheepdogs and Alexisonfire, were founded this millennium. Of those, only The Sheepdogs are younger than two decades.
Younger familiar faces include Ali Gatie, the singer-songwriter nominated in both 2020 and 2021, whose Who Hurt You is up for album of the year.
Romeo Aniello — son of Walk Off the Earth members Gianni Luminati and Sarah Blackwood, whose children's album of the year nod last year made him the youngest ever nominee at the age of four — is again nominated in the same category. This year's nomination is for Walk Off the Earth & Romeo Eats, Vol. 2.
And Kairo McLean, who last year became the youngest Juno winner of his category ever at 13 when he took home the trophy for reggae recording of the year, is not only nominated in that category again — he's nominated twice. His In the Streets is eligible, as well as his feature in Kirk Diamond & Finn's Reggae Party.
The 52nd annual Juno Awards will be broadcast from Rogers Place in Edmonton at 8 p.m. ET/6 p.m. MT on CBC-TV, CBC Gem, CBC Radio One, CBC Music, CBC Listen, and globally at CBCMusic.ca/junos and CBC Music's Facebook, YouTube and Twitter pages.
Other nominees include:
Country album of the year: Way Back, High Valley; Honkytonk Revival, Jade Eagleson; Bronco, Orville Peck; Masquerades, Tenille Townes; Good Ol' Days, The Reklaws.
Adult alternative album of the year: Born Losers, Altameda; The Garden, Basia Bulat; Being Somewhere, Dan Mangan; Colder Streams, The Sadies; How is it that I Should Look at the Stars, The Weather Station.
Alternative album of the year: Blue Rev, Alvvays; Duality, Luna Li; Sewn Back Together, Ombiigizi; The Unraveling of Puptheband, Pup; Tongues, Tanya Tagaq
Rap album/EP of the year: Gonzo, Boslen; Retrospected (Acoustic), Classified; The Fleur Print Vol. 2, Jazz Cartier; Demons Protected By Angels, Nav; Shall I Continue?, Tobi.
Rap single of the year: Alejandro Sosa, 6ixBuzz and Pengz; Been Himma, Dom Vallie; Wrath, Freddie Dredd; Twin Flame, Kaytranada; Wrong Decisions, Nav.
Contemporary Indigenous artist or group of the year: Watin, Aysanabee; Zhawenim Digging Roots; Code Red, Indian City; Beyond The Reservoir, Julian Taylor Howling; The Crossing Susan Aglukark
Traditional Indigenous artist or group of the year: Kâkîsimo ᑳᑮᓯᒧᐤ, Cikwes; Katajjausiit, Iva & Angu; Mikwanak Kamôsakinat, Joel Wood; Ôskimacîtahowin: A New Beginning, Northern Cree; Unbreakable, The Bearhead Sisters.
Pop album of the year: In The Meantime, Alessia Cara; Love Sux, Avril Lavigne; The Loneliest Time, Carly Rae Jepsen; I Used to Think I Could Fly, Tate McRae; Dawn FM, The Weeknd.
Album Francophone de l'année: Medium plaisir, Ariane Roy; Mercure en mai, Daniel Bélanger; Pictura de ipse: Musique directe, Hubert Lenoir; Crash, Les Louanges; Chiac Disco, Lisa LeBlanc.
Contemporary roots album of the year: O Glory, Blackie and The Rodeo Kings; That Was You and Me, Fortunate Ones; Hold on to Love, Shakura S'Aida; Come Morning; The Bros. Landreth; House of Dreams, The East Pointers.
Traditional roots album: Hurricane Clarice, Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves; 20 printemps, Le Vent du Nord; Narrow Line, Mama's Broke; Tell 'Em You Were Gold, Pharis & Jason Romero; The Empress, The McDades.
Contemporary R&B recording of the year: When Flowers Bloom, Adria Kain; If I Get Caught, Dvsn; No Longer in the Suburbs, Dylan Sinclair; Yessie, Jessie Reyez; WTF, Savannah Ré.