Avril Lavigne Wins Fan Choice Award at 2023 Juno Awards; Deftly Handles Topless Stage-Crasher

Avril Lavigne won the fan-voted Fan Choice Award for the fourth time at the 2023 Juno Awards on Monday (March 13). And she reminded fans why they love her with her deft handling of a topless stage-crasher.


The Weeknd
The Weeknd


The Weeknd Sweeps 2023 Juno Opening Night Awards: Full Winners List



When Lavigne was introducing a performance by AP Dhillon, the first Punjabi artist to perform at the Junos, a topless woman appeared on the stage behind her. According to a CBC News report, a message written on her back appeared to read “SAVE THE GREEN BELT” — an apparent reference to a controversial development plan by the Ontario government.

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Lavigne turned around and told her to “get the f— off,” and the protester left the stage.

The moment recalled the most famous stage-crashing incident at a music awards show, when a stage crasher with the words Soy Bomb scrawled on his chest was able to get on stage at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York in 1998. He gyrated while Bob Dylan was performing “Love Sick.” Dylan endured the strange moment stoically and just kept on playing.

Lavigne, by contrast, put the woman in her place. When she later won the Fan Choice Award, Lavigne joked about her take-charge attitude. “Now nobody try anything this time. I’ll f— a b—- up.”

Marvel star Simon Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), who hosted the show for the second year, praised Lavigne for “handling that topless lady like a champion.”

The 52nd Annual Juno Awards were held at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta. Just five competitive awards were presented on the two-hour show. More than 40 awards had been presented at the Juno Opening Night Awards on Saturday (March 11), which allowed the Monday telecast to focus on performances by Tenille Townes, Alexisonfire, Aysanabee, Jessie Reyez, Tate McRae, AP Dhillon, Banx & Ranx, Preston Pablo and Rêve, as well as a 50th anniversary to hip-hop which focused on Canadian hip-hop talent.

The Weeknd won five awards over the course of the two nights. These five awards bring The Weeknd’s total of Juno Awards to 22, which puts him in second place on the all-time Juno leaderboard. Anne Murray continues to lead all artists with 25 Junos.

Abel Tesfaye won four of those awards at the Juno Opening Night Awards, which was livestreamed from the Edmonton Convention Centre. On the live telecast, he won one more award — album of the year for FM Dawn. It was his third win in the category, following Beauty Behind the Madness and After Hours. But he wasn’t on hand to accept his honor, which led to ringing boos from the audience.

The Weeknd has famously been on the outs with the Grammys since the annual ceremony gave him a grand total of zero nominations in the year of “Blinding Lights,” one of the biggest and best singles of recent years. But the Junos have showered him with awards. It’s easy to see why the audience felt he was disrespecting them by not showing up.

The Weeknd has yet to win the Fan Choice Award. Lavigne, by contrast, is one of only three artists to win it four or more times. Justin Bieber leads with five wins in the category. Shawn Mendes has also won it four times. (Either Lavigne or Mendes has won the award in each of the last seven years.)

Toronto singer Jessie Reyez won the first award of the night, contemporary R&B recording of the year for her 2022 album Yessie. The Weeknd had won the award in each of the last two years.

Nickelback was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Actor Ryan Reynolds called the band “the pride of Alberta” during a pre-taped segment, which was followed by an onstage introduction from Edmonton Oilers hockey player Connor McDavid.

The band closed the show with a performance with included such global hits as “Rockstar” and “How You Remind Me.”

Rappers Haviah Mighty and Kardinal Offishall introduced a 50th anniversary tribute to hip-hop in Canada.

“One of my favourite MCs went on to be the world’s favorite,” said Kardinal Offishall, referring to Drake. “The world would not look the same if it wasn’t for the unprecedented talent, influence and vision of [a man] like Drake. He continued to open doors and help focus the world’s attention on our thriving hip hop scene.”

Kardinal Offishall is best known in the U.S. for his 2008 single “Dangerous” (featuring Akon), a top five single on the Billboard Hot 100.

Maestro Fresh-Wes, who won the first Juno for rap album of the year (1991’s Symphony in Effect), announced this year’s winner, TOBi’s Shall I Continue?

Here are the nominees in the categories that were presented on the live telecast, with winners checked.

Here’s our report on the winners from Saturday’s Opening Night Juno Awards.

TikTok Juno Fan Choice

WINNER: Avril Lavigne, Warner

Lauren Spencer-Smith, Island/Republic*Universal

MacKenzie Porter, Big Loud*Independent

Preston Pablo, 31 East*Universal

Rêve, 31 East*Universal

Shawn Mendes, Island*Universal

Tate McRae, RCA*Sony

The Reklaws, Starseed*Independent

The Weeknd, XO*Universal

Tyler Shaw, Sony

Album of the year

Who Hurt You?, Ali Gatie, Warner

Love Sux, Avril Lavigne, Warner

Demons Protected by Angels, NAV, XO*Universal

i used to think i could fly, Tate McRae, RCA*Sony

WINNER: Dawn FM, The Weeknd, XO*Universal

Breakthrough artist of the year

Dax, Columbia*Sony

Devon Cole, Arista*Sony

WINNER: Preston Pablo, 31 East*Universal

RealestK, Columbia*Sony

Rêve, 31 East*Universal

Rap album/EP of the year

GONZO, Boslen, Capitol*Universal

Retrospected (Acoustic), Classified, Halflife*Universal

The Fleur Print Vol. 2, Jazz Cartier, Petal Garden*Believe

Demons Protected by Angels, NAV, XO*Universal

WINNER: Shall I Continue?, TOBi, RCA

Contemporary R&B recording of the year

“When Flowers Bloom,” Adria Kain, ArtHaus*Warner

“If I Get Caught,” dvsn, OVO

“No Longer in the Suburbs,” Dylan Sinclair, Five Stone*The Orchard

WINNER: “Yessie,” Jessie Reyez, Island*Universal

“WTF,” Savannah Ré, Universal

Canadian Music Hall of Fame Inductee Award


MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award

Jewel Casselman, Lakewood School, Winnipeg

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