There was nothing complicated when it came to showing appreciation for Avril Lavigne at this year’s Juno Awards.
After Canada’s biggest music night has turned into a virtual party for the past two years, the celebration has welcomed its live audience back with open arms and lots of love for the Canadian pop princess of Nappanee, Ont.
Lavigne performed a variety of her biggest hits, including Complicated, “Girlfriend”, “Sk8er Boi” and “I’m With You” before returning to Shawn Mendes for the TikTok Fan’s Choice Award.
Even Junos host Simu Liu praised Lavigne by singing a vocal performance that is far from “Complicated” to a very supportive reception from the audience.
“I should have started with a low key,” Liu exclaimed as the performance deliberately derailed.
It was one of several moments of showmanship from the “Shang-Chi” star who opened Junos with a nod to his Marvel character before releasing his own version of Molson’s famous vow of “I Am Canadian.”
“I grew up on ketchup chips, roti, and Jamaican beef patties,” he told an audience at Toronto’s Budweiser Theater.
“By the way, it’s pronounced ‘bubble tea,’ not ‘buba,'” he joked.
Liu also used it as an opportunity to get more politics out, stating, “Canada is a place where the government is also our drug dealer; we’re into ice skating and not waterboarding; and where women always have the right to choose.”
A few moments later, he joined forces with TikTok star Tesher to perform the “Jalebi Baby” dance.
Other Canadian stars have had their moments, too, including Montreal singer-songwriter Charlotte Cardin, who won the year’s biggest winner with a total of four titles.
It earned Album of the Year for “Phoenix” on the air after the project won Pop Album of the Year at an industry event on Saturday. She was also named Female Artist of the Year and won Best Singing Song at a pre-television event.
“A year ago I wouldn’t believe you for even a second if you told me I had won four Junos,” Cardin said after the show.
Mendes also received a Special International Achievement Award for his global impact on music, which he accepted with a view to his rise in the stratosphere to success.
“When I was younger, I was thinking…if I could only write one great song, people would love me, and I would be enough,” he said.
“We’ve been taught to believe that what we achieve is the same as what we deserve. But the thing I know is true now is that I was enough before anyone knew my name.”
Other winners include rock star Hamilton’s representative Arkels for Group of the Year, and Havia Mighty who became the first woman to receive this year’s rap album or EP for “The Stock Exchange.”
“This woman is into hip-hop,” she said.
Vancouver-based pop singer Jessia has won a hit artist in part because of the huge success of her single “I’m Not Pretty” on TikTok.
“Thank you very much,” she said, crying as she waved Juno in the air. “This is a dream come true.”
Deborah Cox was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame by former Toronto Raptors player Chris Bosh, who told audiences how her hit “Nobody Should Be Here” made a lasting impression on him.
Next, he provided a congratulatory video of Cox’s contemporaries, including John Legend and Melanie Fiona and CEO Clive Davis who signed her for the first time.
Cox took to the stage in a chic gold-tone thigh-high slit dress to reflect three decades in the music industry.
“Growing up as a black girl in Toronto, Canada, this vision seemed intangible,” she said as she accepted the honor.
“It wasn’t easy to leave my house but it was necessary. Otherwise, I’m not sure I’d be standing here tonight. This refusal became my redirection and only fueled up.”
Even before Junos started, many of this year’s nominees were already talking about Avril Lavigne of everything.
Toronto rockers are represented by The Beaches, who have repeatedly expressed their obsession with Lavigne and finally got a chance to meet their idol when they crossed the aisles on the red carpet.
“We were all six and eight years old (when) her first album came out. It was very important for us to see a wonderful woman playing amazing rock music,” said lead singer and bassist Jordan Miller, whose rock band won the band’s rock album. Saturday.
“For her to be a local Canadian girl, (meaning) we can do what she’s doing, which is one of the reasons we’re here tonight.”
– With files from Sadaf Ehsan
This report was first published by The Canadian Press on May 15, 2022.