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TORONTO — Tough crowd, eh? Justin Bieber, once the darling of fellow Canadians, got booed at the Junos, the country’s music awards, on Sunday night.
The pop phenom, while not attending the Juno Awards in Winnipeg, earned the Juno fan choice award.
But when the troubled musician’s name was announced, a surprising mix of cheers and boos greeted his win inside Winnipeg’s MTS Center.
Canada’s Olympic women’s curling team accepted the fan choice award on behalf of the 20-year-old superstar.
And fellow Canadian music artist Serena Ryder defended Bieber against the negative reception to his fan choice award when she came onstage to accept her Juno for songwriter of the year.
“I really think that Justin Bieber is an amazing musician, and he deserved every bit of that award because he’s been working his ass off his entire life, and we need to support how awesome he is,” Ryder said.
Beiber has faced recent legal trouble after allegedly egging a neighbor’s house, being charged with a DUI in Miami Beach and facing a separate assault charge of a limo driver in Toronto.
That wasn’t the only controversy to beset this year’s Canadian music awards after Robin Thicke, who was nominated for three Junos, on Sunday canceled his performance at the show in order to rest his vocals. His last-minute withdrawal also came as an online petition emerged to have the “Blurred Lines” singer booted from the show for “blatant sexism.”
The big winner Sunday night was Tegan and Sara, identical twins who won for single of the year for “Closer,” group of of the year and pop album of the year for Heartthrob.
Other Juno prize winners included the breakthrough group of the year award going to A Tribe Called Red, an Ottawa-based band that blends electronic and First Nations music.
“To native youth, this moment right here proves that any goals you have in life, they’re completely attainable, so aim high,” A Tribe Called Red said when accepting their Juno trophy.
The album of the year went to indie heroes Arcade Fire for Reflektor, who also won for alternative album of the year.
And the breakthrough artist of the year is Brett Kissel, while Bruno Mars won the international album of the year for Unorthodox Jukebox.
Another highlight of the night was Randy Bachman, Fred Turner, Robbie Bachman and Blair Thornton of Bachman-Turner Overdrive coming onstage in Winnipeg to be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
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