Even without the red carpet, the Juno Awards found ways to lead generations of Canadian stars through their 50th anniversary celebration on Sunday evening.
From Shania Twain and Celine Dion to Kaytranada and Justin Bieber, many of the country’s most successful acts paid tribute to Canada’s biggest music night by sharing music and memories from afar.
One of the blatant absences was also this year’s biggest winner.
The Weeknd has selected Artist of the Year while he After business hours was named album of the year. But the Blinding lights Superstar did not show up to accept his awards.
The Toronto singer had already won three Junos in a pre-broadcast ceremony on Friday, bringing his record to five for 2021.
Several other big winners were also missing from the Junos Golden Jubilee.
Shawn Mendes was voted the fan poll winner by viewers, although he did not log in to the honor.
And although Justin Bieber performed Someone from Los Angeles in a kaleidoscopic presentation he did not show himself to accept his win for the pop album Changes.
Others did, however, including pop ballader JP Saxe, who was named a breakthrough artist.
“I’ve never given a speech like this,” said the stunned newcomer as he rummaged through a few sentences before orienting himself and thanking his father and his girlfriend and co-author Julia Michaels.
Toronto-raised Saxe became a radio favorite for duet due last year When the world would endthat he performs Michaels.
Savannah Re won for traditional R&B / soul recordings for Solid.
The members of the Tragically Hip were awarded this year’s humanitarian award by Rushs Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. They reflected on the Kingston, Ontario band’s decades of philanthropic work, which includes supporting Camp Trillium and the Special Olympics, as well as supporting mental health in the music industry.
“The limelight that has been so generously shed on our band for over 30 years has opened up a multitude of opportunities for us,” said hip guitarist Rob Baker.
“We always had the feeling that it is our responsibility to reflect this light back and bring some light to where it is needed.”
Anne Murray inducted Jann Arden into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, a belated induction to take place last year.
From her home on the east coast, Murray talked about them Insensitive the personable personality of the singer.
“Not only is she funny and a good singer-songwriter, she’s a great person,” said Murray.
“Every time I called her, she was there for me. She is warm, funny, friendly, compassionate and has her heart on her sleeve. “
Arden, who joked she was “too young” for the honor, paid tribute to her late mother, Joan Richards, who died in 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, and played the song Good mother.
Amid the glitz of the Junos celebration, it was recognized that Canada is in the midst of a reckoning with the treatment of indigenous peoples.
Buffy Sainte-Marie opened the show on a somber note by addressing the recent discovery of the remains of 215 children buried in a former dormitory in Kamloops, BC.
She said that while the news may be “shocking and a revelation to some,” it is not surprising to indigenous peoples.
“The genocide that led to the birth of this country continues and we must meet it together,” she added.
“And I ask for your sympathy.”
The discovery of Kamloops was briefly acknowledged by Hip, and Susan Aglukark spoke in Inuktitut to indigenous families facing another tragedy.
“We mourn with you and want you to know that you will not be forgotten,” she said.
Cardinal Offishall took viewers on a journey through Canadian hip-hop history to mark the 30th anniversary of the rap recording category.
Maestro Fresh Wes has an appearance with Let your spine slide in front of Michie Mee, Jully Black, Nav and Haviah Mighty and rounded off the generations of artists who were often underestimated at the award ceremony.
The Junos originally hoped to celebrate 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 would be returning to Toronto for the show next year.
Here are the winners announced on Sunday:
Traditional R&B / Soul Record of the Year – Solid, Savannah Ré
Artist of the Year – The Weeknd
Breakthrough Artist of the Year – JP Saxe
Album of the year – After business hours, The weeknd
Pop Album of the Year – Changes, Justin Bieber
Juno Fan Pick – Shawn Mendes
A full list of winners can be found on the Junos official website.