Canada’s Biggest Night in Music: Highlights from the 53rd JUNO Awards - The JUNO Awards

The 53rd JUNO Awards celebrated Canada’s Biggest Night in Music Sunday, March 24, live from Scotiabank Centre in Halifax. Hosted for the second time by international superstar Nelly Furtado, the broadcast featured electric performances and special appearances from some of the nation’s greatest talents.

Kicking off the show on a high note was the host herself who performed a medley of fan favourites including “Say It Right”, “Maneater”, and “Eat Your Man.” Stunning audiences in a shimmering silver outfit, Furtado captivated the crowd with her dynamic stage presence setting the tone for an exciting evening.

Following Furtado’s performance, the JUNOS’ most decorated artist and Nova Scotia icon Anne Murray presented the first award of the evening, Group of the Year Presented by SiriusXM Canada, to The Beaches. This was The Beaches’ second win of the weekend after taking home Rock Album of the Year at The 2024 Opening Night Awards Presented by Music Canada Saturday evening.

Next up on the JUNOS stage was an unforgettable performance by Karan Aujla and Ikky, showcasing their signature fusion of Punjabi and pop music with renditions of “Softly” and “Admirin’ You”. In a groundbreaking moment, Aujla was later announced the winner of the coveted TikTok JUNO Fan Choice Award – the only JUNO award category decided by the fans. Presented by the viral pop twosome Crash Adams, Aujla made history as the first racialized artist to win in the category’s 21-year history.

As the night unfolded, Jeremy Dutcher was joined by Contemporary Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year Presented by Destination Indigenous winner Elisapie for a beautiful performance featuring Mi’kmaq fiddler Morgan Toney and artistic creator Sarah Prosper. Their set was a multilingual medley of “Honor Song,” “Skicinuwihkuk” and “Uummati Attanarsimat” — the latter being Elisapie’s Inuktitut version of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” from her JUNO-winning album.

In a touching tribute to the late musicians Gordon Lightfoot and Robbie Robertson, Songwriter of the Year Presented by SOCAN and Alternative Album of the Year winner Aysanabee was joined by Allison Russell for a heartfelt performance of “If You Could Read My Mind” and “The Weight” featuring Julian Taylor, Logan Staats, Shawnee Kish, and Contemporary Roots Album of the Year winner William Prince. Montreal pianist Alexandra Stréliski also moved audiences with a heartfelt homage to Karl Tremblay the late vocalist of Quebec folk-rock band Les Cowboys Fringants.

The Broadcast also featured a spectacular performance from Charlotte Cardin who ignited the crowd with a rendition of the chart-topping “Confetti” before winning her sixth JUNO award for Album of the Year Presented by Music Canada. Newly announced Breakthrough Artist of the Year Presented by FACTOR, The Government of Canada and Canada’s Private Radio Broadcaster TALK  also commanded the stage with a compelling performance of his hit tracks “Run Away to Mars” and a “Little Bit Happy” and rising country sensation Josh Ross treated audiences to a performance of “Trouble” and “Single Again.”

In recognition of their philanthropic efforts in supporting and empowering the 2SLGBTQ+ community through their foundation, Tegan and Sara were awarded the esteemed Humanitarian Award. There to honour them was Academy Award-nominated actor and Halifax native Elliot Page who thanked the artists for their impact, “Tegan and Sara have proven time and time again, their commitment to ensuring that the lives of queer youth are happy, healthy, and most importantly, long,” he said.

One of the most anticipated moments of the night was hip-hop legend Maestro Fresh Wes’s induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame Presented by TD Group. Kardindall Offishall made a special appearance to honour his friend and former mentee highlighting Fresh Wes’s profound influence on the genre and the broader Canadian music landscape. This sentiment was echoed in a congratulatory video featuring Haviah Mighty, Classified, Rich Kidd, Ghetto Concept, TOBi, Jim Cuddy and DJ Mel Boogie.

Following a deeply moving speech, the newly inducted member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame returned to the stage for a second act, delivering a medley of cherished songs spanning his illustrious career. Included in the performance were classics like “Beethoven’s Fifth,” “Underestimated,” “Stick to Your Vision,” “Conducting Thangs,” and his timeless anthem “Let Your Backbone Slide.”

Closing out a triumphant evening was The Beaches who performed their chart-topping hit “Blame Brett” to cheering audiences. Fans can rewatch every performance and memorable moment from the 53rd Annual JUNO Awards broadcast, on CBC Gem, and The JUNO Awards social channels.

Featured photo: Nelly Furtado performing at The 2024 JUNO Awards at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax. Photo Credit: CARAS/Ryan Bolton.