Canadian content cleans up at American Music Awards

It may be called the American Music Awards but two Canucks, Justin Bieber and Drake, were the night’s big winners, taking home four awards each during Sunday’s event.

Bieber beat out Drake in all four categories he won, including Favourite Male Artist Pop/Rock, Favourite Song Pop/Rock for Love Yourself, and Favourite Album Pop/Rock for Purpose.

He also prevailed in Video of the Year for Sorry, which was up against the Drake and Rihanna duet Work, shot at Toronto’s Real Jerk restaurant.

Bieber couldn’t make the show in Los Angeles, instead performing Let Me Love You from his world tour in Zurich, Switzerland.

Drake thanks Toronto

The award upset came after Drake went into the evening with 12 AMA nominations, beating out Michael Jackson’s record for most at a single ceremony.

Drake did sweep the award show’s Rap Hip-Hop categories, picking up Favourite Artist Rap/Hip Hop, Favourite Album Rap/Hip Hop for Views and Favourite Song Rap/Hip Hop for Hotline Bling. He also won Favourite Song Soul/RB for Work, the collaboration with Rihanna.


Rapper Drake accepts Favourite Rap/Hip-Hop Album for Views during the 2016 American Music Awards. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

In his acceptance speech for Favourite Album Rap/Hip Hop, Drake gave a shoutout to his hometown and fellow Degrassi star Nina Dobrev, who presented the award.

“I really want to thank everybody who helped me make this album … I want to thank the city of Toronto, and of course I want to thank the fans and my parents. My dad’s here tonight,” he said. His appearance came as somewhat of a surprise – the rapper has skipped his fair share of award shows in the past.


Toronto native Shawn Mendes performs a medley of Treat You Better/Mercy at American Music Awards. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

Toronto natives The Weeknd and Shawn Mendes, who was up for new artist of the year along with fellow Canuck Alessia Cara, performed at the event at Microsoft Theater.

American singer Ariana Grande won artist of the year — the show’s biggest prize — beating out Bieber, Selena Gomez, Rihanna and Carrie Underwood. 


Toronto recording artist The Weeknd performs Starboy at the American Music Awards. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

Some big-name acts performed at the fan-voted show held in Los Angeles. Among them: John Legend, Maroon 5, The Chainsmokers and Sting, who received the American Music Award of Merit.

Presenters included Taraji P. Henson, Robert Downey Jr., Zoe Saldana and Heidi Klum. Former Saturday Night Live comic Jay Pharaoh and model Gigi Hadid hosted the show.​

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