LONDON, Ont. — Shawn Mendes emerged the big winner at Saturday’s Juno Awards pre-telecast as the heartthrob picked up four wins across several major categories.
The Pickering, Ont. native won artist, pop album, songwriter and single of the year for his hit track “In My Blood.” But the pop singer wasn’t able to accept the awards because he’s on the European leg of his concert tour.
That left Michael Buble as the biggest surprise appearance of the night, with the crooner swooping into the ceremony to pick up a trophy just minutes before he recognized his close friend David Foster for his philanthropic efforts.
Buble picked up his 14th career Juno for “Love,” which won adult contemporary album of the year. But the singer made it clear he was mostly at the event to celebrate Foster receiving this year’s humanitarian award.
“He has inspired me to be a better man and embrace the importance of giving back however I can,” Buble said as he introduced the acclaimed producer, whom he called “a man whose heart is as big as the sun.”
Foster was recognized for his support of hundreds of charities, including his own foundation, which provides financial help to Canadian families in need of life-saving transplants.
The suave producer said he enjoyed the opportunity to speak about his interests outside of music, calling his philanthropy “a second commitment in my life that’s equal or (will) maybe outlive my music.”
Other winners at the Juno gala dinner included country act the Washboard Union, who won breakthrough group of the year, while alternative album went to newcomers Dizzy for “Baby Teeth.”
Jeremy Dutcher’s “Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa” was picked as Indigenous music album of the year. The operatic tenor used his acceptance speech to address the sparse number of Indigenous performers who were nominated outside his Juno category.
“Representation is important, but we are not to be siloed,” he said backstage.
“And I hope this is the last year that this happens.”
Voivod marked a career first when they pocketed this year’s metal/hard music award, telling the crowd it was their first Juno win in 36 years.
Wesli’s “Rapadou Kreyol” snagged world music album, while Dave Merheje’s “Good Friend Bad Grammar” won comedy album.
Loud Luxury, the pair of DJs who met at London’s Western University, picked up their first Juno for dance recording with their global hit “Body.”
The group is nominated for three more Junos at Sunday night’s televised show, where the remaining awards will be doled out. Top categories, including album, group and breakthrough artist, as well as country album of the year, are part of the broadcast.
Viewers can also vote for the Juno Fan Choice Award on the Juno Fan Choice website.
The show airs on CBC and streams through the CBC Music website.
Listen to a playlist of 2019 Juno Award nominees on Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2DGvgyZ
Follow @dfriend on Twitter.
David Friend, The Canadian Press