The Weeknd Sweeps 2023 Juno Awards

The Weeknd has cleaned up at the Junos, Canada’s music awards.

On Monday night, the Canadian superstar won for best album of the year for Dawn FM. That followed the Toronto-raised pop superstar, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, in pre-telecast award-giving picking up trophies for best artist, best single for “Sacrifice” and songwriter of the year.

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The Weeknd, who penned “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” for Avatar: The Way of Water, came into the Junos with a field-leading six nominations. He earlier won for best artist at the Junos in 2015, 2016 and 2021, and this year, beat out competition from Avril Lavigne, Lauren Spencer-Smith, Michael Bublé and Shawn Mendes in that high-profile category.

The Weeknd’s participation in the Junos, with Dawn FM put into contention, came as he continues to snub the Grammy Awards stateside. At the same time, the Rogers Place arena in Edmonton rang with boos when the popular Canadian artist was a no-show at the Junos to accept his album of the year trophy.

Also during the live telecast that aired nationwide on the CBC network, Lavigne shouted expletives at a topless environmental activist who crashed the stage — with “Save the Green Belt” drawn on her back — as the Complicated singer was introducing a musical performance by AP Dhillon.

Lavigne also picked up the Juno Fan Choice Award for the fourth time. “Now no one try anything this time,” the Canadian superstar said while accepting the award, before uttering another expletive, only this time it was bleeped out.

An emotional high-point for this year’s Junos came during a performance by Oji-Cree singer-songwriter Aysanabee that was accompanied by video testimony that recalled his grandfather’s time at the McIntosh Residential School in northwestern Ontario, where Indigenous youth removed from their families made widespread allegations that they endured physical and sexual abuse.

In other prize giving on Monday night, the best rap album prize went to Toronto rapper TOBi, also known as Nigerian-Canadian artist Oluwatobi Feyisara Ajibolade, for Shall I Continue?. And Timmins, Ontario singer-songwriter Preston Pablo won for breakthrough artist of the year, while the best contemporary R&B recording went for the third time to Jessie Reyez for her second studio album, Yessie.

Also Monday night, Nickelback was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame by Ryan Reynolds and Bublé, via video appearances, and Winnipeg-based Lakewood School music teacher Jewel Casselman was recognized as the Canadian music teacher of the year.

In other pre-telecast prize giving at the Junos, the best international album trophy went to Harry Styles for Harry’s House, and the Arkells picked up the Juno for best group, a category they have won five times before.

The Junos, organized by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, were held with an in-person awards and concert gala in Edmonton, Alberta. The 2023 edition was hosted for the second year running by Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star Simu Liu, who showed off his song and dance skills, which included performing a backflip and a medley of Lavigne hits.

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