The Weeknd, Justin Bieber and Alessia Cara lead the Juno Awards

Written by

The 2016 Juno nominees are out! Between favourites like The Weeknd, Alessia Cara and Justin Bieber, the slate is a toss up of the predictable and the straight-up controversial

This year's Juno Awards promises to be one of the most exciting ceremonies in recent years. Not since the nineties has such bonafide Canadian talent dominated international charts. In December alone seven of the top 10 artists on the Billboard Hot 100 charts hailed from the Great White North. And with artists like The Weeknd leading the Canadian field at the Grammy awards, there hasn't been so much excitement for the Junos in years! The extravaganza begins on March 28 with a week-long celebration of Canadian music, building up to the main event on Sunday, April 3 in Calgary. Leading the night is Toronto's The Weeknd, aka Abel Tesfaye, who, besides R&B/Soul Recording of the Year and Fan Choice Award, is jostling for Single of the Year for "I Can't Feel My Face," Album of the Year for his breakout hit "Beauty Behind the Madness" as well as Artist of the Year.

Just behind the Toronto artist is Justin Beiber, whose Purpose was released in time for this year's awards. Hot on the tail of his international comeback, the Biebs hasn't been forgetten in his home and native land either, hauling in five mentions, including Album of the Year, Single of the Year for "What Do You Mean?" and Juno Fan Choice Awards. Tying him is Drake, whose Toronto origins are thought to have paved the way for some of the younger breakout artists on the slate. Not least of these is our personal fav, Alessia Cara, who's getting off a huge year with the late release of her debut Know-It-All with the leading single "Here," which recently beat Drake's "Hotline Bling" for top spot on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs. In fact, we'd be shocked if, out of her four overall nominations, she didn't take home the Breakthrough Artist of the Year, although she's up against some tough competition in that category, not least thanks to YouTube star Shawn Mendes, who's been having quite a year of his own.

This years nominations weren't without controversy however. In the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite fallout, the Junos have garnered their own displeasurable trending topic. The #JunosSoMale hashtag started making the rounds soon after the nominee list went live, with many online observers noticing that some of the top categories, including Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Rap Recording of the Year and Dance Recording of the Year, were crowded by male nominees in a year of breakout female talent across the country. "2016 has been an absolutely phenomenal year for Canadian artists, here at home and around the globe," said Allan Reid, CEO of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences/The Juno Awards. "I've been in the industry longer than 25 years and I've got to say not since the 90s, when we had Alanis and Shania and Sarah and Celine, have we seen our artists dominate the charts like this. It's absolutely incredible." Who do you think should win Artist of the Year?

Source: Billboard / Junos