The Weeknd attends the LA premiere of “Uncut Gems” at ArcLight Hollywood in Los Angeles on December 11, 2019. Justin Bieber and the Weeknd could be taking home some serious hardware at tonight’s Juno Awards. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Invision, Richard Shotwell

The Weeknd attends the LA premiere of “Uncut Gems” at ArcLight Hollywood in Los Angeles on December 11, 2019. Justin Bieber and the Weeknd could be taking home some serious hardware at tonight’s Juno Awards. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Invision, Richard Shotwell

Juno Awards ring in 50th anniversary; Justin Bieber, the Weeknd lead nominations

Both performers are also among the stacked list of popular artists nominated for fan choice award

Justin Bieber and the Weeknd could be taking home some serious hardware at tonight’s Juno Awards.

Both global pop stars are vying for several major categories at the 50th anniversary show celebrating the best in Canadian music.

Bieber leads the contenders on the broadcast with four nods, including artist of the year and album of the year for his 2020 release “Changes.”

The Weeknd, born Abel Tesfaye, is close behind with three nominations, some of them in the same categories. He’ll be up against Bieber for artist and album of the year with his global smash “After Hours.”

Both performers are also among the stacked list of popular artists nominated for the viewer-voted fan choice award.

Others named in the category are Shawn Mendes, Tate McRae and Ali Gatie, who has three nominations.

The Juno broadcast airs Sunday on CBC-TV and its digital platforms.

Tesfaye has already had a winning weekend at the Junos, picking up three awards at a pre-telecast event on Friday.

His megahit “Blinding Lights” won single of the year, his album won R&B contemporary recording of the year and he shared a songwriter of the year award.

The Weeknd also helped Romanian-American engineer Serban Ghenea, who grew up in Montreal, score a win for producer of the year. He was recognized for his contributions to the singer’s megahit “Blinding Lights” and Ariana Grande’s “Positions.”

Some musicians took the opportunity during Friday night’s pre-telecast to speak out about the lasting wounds of Canada’s residential school system, given the discovery in Kamloops, B.C. last month of what are believed to be the remains of 215 Indigenous children in an unmarked burial site near one of the former schools.

Oshawa, Ont.-founded rock duo Crown Lands, which picked up the award for breakthrough group of the year, used their acceptance speech to call for every former residential school to be “thoroughly investigated.”

Friday’s event was hosted by CBC Music’s Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe with pre-taped performances from R&B singer and rapper Tobi and country singers Lindsay Ell and Mackenzie Porter.

The winners were announced live with many of them appearing over webcam to accept their awards.

The Junos originally hoped to mark their 50th anniversary with an event at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena, but Ontario’s COVID-19 restrictions put an end to that goal. Instead, organizers announced they’ll return to Toronto for next year’s show.

David Friend, The Canadian Press


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