Safe but slow Junos given life by Tegan and Sara statement, Talk and Charlotte Cardin wins

The 2024 Juno Awards on Sunday rolled along smoothly, but perhaps more tamely than last year’s ceremony, without a clear-cut winner or streaker confronting Avril Lavigne on stage.

But over its two nights of roughly 50 trophies, the ceremony culminated with a multi-way tie for most awarded artist, some impressive live performances — and at least a couple newsworthy moments.

In a glittering space-age outfit, host Nelly Furtado kicked off Sunday night’s event with a medley of her biggest songs, going through Say it Right, Maneater, Promiscuous, Give it to Me, Eat Your Man and I’m Like a Bird — a song she also performed when she last hosted the Junos in 2007.

That performance gave way to music superstar Anne Murray announcing The Beaches as group of the year, as the Junos alumnus joked that many in the audience would be too young to know her and recollected the very first Juno awards.

“It was basically just a great big party,” Murray said. “No TV coverage, where lots of people got hammered — well, not me of course.”

WATCH | The Juno Awards ceremony closes out weekend of celebrating Canadian music

Juno Awards ceremony closes out weekend celebrating Canadian music

The televised Juno Awards ceremony, hosted by Nelly Furtado, was the big finale for a weekend celebrating Canadian music of all genres in Halifax.

The awards ceremony was a professional if somewhat lacklustre night that only featured four music awards. Even so, there were some memorable moments.

Tegan and Sara talked politics on stage

The most noteworthy moment may have been the 2024 humanitarian award presented to Tegan and Sara by Halifax native Elliot Page, who introduced the singer-songwriters with a powerful statement.

“We are at a time in history where the rights of 2SLGTQ+ people are being revoked, restricted and eliminated throughout the world … the effects of which are devastating,” the actor said.

The twin rockers and prior three-time Juno winners were honoured with the award for the Tegan and Sara Foundation’s efforts to support 2SLGBTQ+ youth.

In accepting, they had equally strong words about Alberta’s proposed legislation limiting gender-affirming care for young people.

WATCH | Tegan and Sara recieve Humanitarian award: 

Tegan and Sara receive Humanitarian award | Juno Awards 2024

@TeganAndSara receive the Humanitarian Award at the 2024 Juno Awards. Host Nelly Furtado hosted the 2024 JUNO Awards on Sunday, March 24, live from Halifax. Featuring performances from the Beaches, Maestro Fresh Wes, TALK, Josh Ross, as well as appearance from Elliot Page, Tegan and Sara and more.

“If the world were not so hostile to 2SLGBTQ+ people, we would see ourselves purely as musicians,” said Sara Quin, who then directly referenced the the coming legislation announced by premier Danielle Smith earlier this year.

“These attacks are harmful because they are directed at the kids who need our support the most,” Sara continued.

Speaking to CBC News afterward, the Calgary-born sisters explained their decision to address the situation.

“We’re painfully aware that it’s not just Alberta of course. But because it’s our home province, it feels like a very particular situation we want to call out,” Tegan Quin said.

“I just think that some of these adults, especially the Conservatives, need to keep their noses out of families’ business.”

When it came to award winners themselves, anyone’s haul was a far cry from the Weeknd’s dominant performance in 2023. Instead, musicians Charlotte Cardin, Tate McRae, Aysanabee, Tobi, The Beaches and producer Shawn Everett all took home two awards each over the course of the weekend. 

The Beaches broke a record

Toronto’s The Beaches kicked off the night by taking home the award for group of the year. It was their fourth career win, coming six years after their first Juno for breakthrough group and just one day they won rock album of the year.

The group’s Sunday win also broke the streak held by fellow nominee Arkells, who have won that category six times before, and for the last three consecutive years — more than any group in the history of the Junos. 

But when The Beaches accepted their prize from Murray to loud cheers, they shone a light on another of this year’s trends: women’s success.

“To all the young girls watching, go start bands with your best friends,” guitarist Kylie Miller said to another round of applause. 

Of all the winners, Charlotte Cardin stood slightly ahead of the pack. The Montreal artist led nominees this year and winners last year, and this weekend took home both pop album and album of the year for 99 Nights. Cardin also performed her lead single from that album, Confetti, shortly after receiving that second award.

Though absent from the show itself, Tate McRae on Saturday won both artist and single of the year for Greedy. It was a belated triumph for the Calgary singer-songwriter, who has been nominated every year since 2021 but had never before taken home a trophy.

Talk surprised by breakthrough win

While he only won a single award, Ottawa’s Talk (real name Nick Durocher) had a night more triumphant than most. Just a few years after finding himself out of work and back living in his parents’ basement, the glam-rock singer took to Canada’s biggest stage to accept the trophy for breakthrough artist. 

Two musicians stand back to back as they perform onstage.
Talk, left, performed before winning the Juno for breakthrough artist, which seemed to surprise him. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

After performing the viral earworm that got him there, Run Away to Mars, Durocher seemed to barely believe he’d been selected — beating out the likes of Lu Kala, Connor Price and Karan Aujla.

“I put my hair up. I thought I was done for the night after the performance,” Durocher said, laughing. And after thanking his bandmates, fans and family, he had a few loud words for the auditorium. 

“To all of you for listening and loving everything I have to say, thank you. Halifax, it’s time to party!”

Indigenous representation boom

Elsewhere, artists celebrated a milestone for the awards: the most Indigenous artists ever nominated at the Junos. Though he himself did not win, it was something singer and composer Jeremy Dutcher — who performed on Sunday with a large group of fellow Indigenous artists — spoke of on the red carpet ahead of the show. 

“When I was in London in 2019, six nominees,” Dutcher told CBC reporter Eli Glasner. “We got 33 this year, in many categories — not just the Indigenous categories … That’s the shift, that’s the transformation. And it’s something to celebrate, and tonight we’re here to celebrate it.”

Aysanabee was among those winners, having taken home his first two trophies for songwriter and alternative album of the year on Saturday. 

A man holds two golden Juno awards.
Aysanabee poses with the Juno Awards for songwriter of the year and alternative album of the Year during the Juno Awards on Saturday. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

But perhaps the biggest surprise of Sunday night was fan choice winner Karan Aujla. The Punjabi Canadian singer had some tough competition: Tate McRae, Daniel Caesar, Charlotte Cardin and the Weeknd. 

But after performing his song Admirin’ You earlier in the night, Aujla was all smile. He held the award above his head. 

“Sometimes I just can’t believe I’m that same kid that lost his parents when he was in India, made my way out to Canada — this beautiful country — and today I’m here,” he said.

“I just want to end by saying this: if you are dreaming, make sure you dream big.”

WATCH | Karan Aujla wins TikTok Juno fan choice: 

Karan Aujla wins TikTok Juno fan choice award | Juno Awards 2024

Karan Ajula wins TikTok Fan Choice award at the 2024 Juno Awards. Host Nelly Furtado hosted the 2024 JUNO Awards on Sunday, March 24, live from Halifax. Featuring performances from the Beaches, Maestro Fresh Wes, TALK, Josh Ross, as well as appearance from Elliot Page, Tegan and Sara and more.

Full list of Sunday night winners: 

Group of the year
The Beaches; Walk off the Earth; Nickelback; Lould Luxury; Arkells 

Album of the year:
99 Nights, Charlotte CardinNéo-Romance, Alexandra Stréliski; Never Enough, Daniel Caesar; Mirror, Lauren Spencer Smith; Lord of the Flies & Birds & Bees, Talk

Breakthrough artist of the year
Talk; Connor Price; Karan Aujla; Lu Kala; Shubh

TikTok Juno fan choice
Karan Aujla; Shubh; Tate McRae; the Weeknd; ThxSoMch; Walk off the Earth; Charlotte Cardin; Daniel Caesar; DVBBS; Josh Ross

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