Junos 2023: Topless protester crashes the stage
Monday saw an unpredictable Juno Awards show as a topless protester charged the stage, leading to some raucous words from Avril Lavigne, while the Weeknd’s absence was this year’s top winner.
Canada’s biggest music celebration took a few twists and turns on its usually tame schedule shortly after the broadcast began. Lavigne was interrupted by a topless woman who jumped on stage wearing leggings and “Back to the Mountain” painted on her arm.
The pop-punk princess appeared blindsided by the fighter and proceeded to curse at him, demanding he get off the stage. The security guards quickly left.
Undeterred, Lavigne launched into a performance by Punjabi-Canadian singer and rapper AP Dhillon.
He returned later to accept this year’s Fan Choice Award with some choice words and another rant; “No one tries anything this time, or the Canadian will get out of my way and I’ll hit the (mess). “
The surprise moment set the stage for an energetic Junos, which earned him album of the year for the Weeknd’s hit “Dawn FM,” adding to the four wins he earned at Saturday’s industry event, including artist and single of the year for “Sacrifice.” : “
WARNING: The following embedded video contains strong language.
After pop singer Tyler Shaw announced that Toronto native Abel Tesfaye was missing from the Junos, the crowd expressed their disappointment and started booing.
Tesfaye sent a written statement provided by Junos organizers to the Canadian press.
“I am so honored to have received such recognition from my native country, which I love so much. I am so humbled by all of this and can never thank the fans enough,” she wrote.
Other highlights included Jessie Reyes, who took home Contemporary R&B Record of the Year for “Yessie,” as her father tearfully looked on, and Toby, who won Rap Album/EP of the Year.
Newcomer Preston Pablo, who sings “Flowers Need Rain,” was named Breakthrough Artist of the Year.
Special Nickelback tributes were present throughout the night, even before actor Ryan Reynolds appeared at the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in a pre-recorded address.
Guitarist Ryan Peake offered a hand and guitar during the opening act, where Liu showcased her vocal chops with a cover of Nickelback’s “Photograph.”
The entire band took the stage as Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid inducted them into the Hall of Fame, saying Nickelback was among those who “changed the game forever.”
In his speech, a shattered Chad Kroeger reflected on his band’s humble beginnings in Hanna, Alta., saying they “didn’t know what we were doing, and most of the time they still don’t.”
“But everything we’ve done has brought us to this moment right here,” he added.
Moments later, the band returned to close the broadcast with a medley of their greatest hits that included more than just fiery pyro effects.
After the Junos, artists continued to buzz about the topless fan, and Lavigne said in the press room that she’s sure it’s “getting big.”
Liu, who signed off the show saying “sorry for the breasts,” also joked about it backstage; “If you had told me before I hosted, there would be someone who would take their shirt off at the Junos, and it wouldn’t happen. me, I’d be shocked.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 13, 2023.
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