ABOVE: Was the Juno Awards crowd right to boo the Beebs – especially considering he had just won the People’s Choice award?
TORONTO — Justin Bieber didn’t attend the Juno Awards on Sunday but got booed by the crowd inside Winnipeg’s MTS Centre when his name was read as winner of the Fan Choice award.
The audience reaction lit up social media and thrust the 20-year-old pop star into the headlines Monday morning.
Juno co-host Serena Ryder took exception to the diss.
“Justin Bieber is an amazing musician and he deserved every bit of that award because he’s been working his ass off his entire life,” she said, “and we need to support how awesome he is. He’s great. He’s amazing.”
READ MORE: Who won what at the Juno Awards
Backstage, Juno winners Tegan and Sara also defended Bieber and called the chorus of boos “not very Canadian.”
“He’s been famous since he was a little kid,” Tegan told reporters. “He’s made some mistakes, but God knows Sara and I have made actually way worse mistakes when we were teenagers and we weren’t famous.”
Bieber, who has been in Toronto working on new music, reacted on Twitter by thanking the fans who voted for him.
“We won #JUNOFanChoice for the 4th year in a row! Love to all my beliebers. Thank u. Love u,” he tweeted.
We won #JUNOFanChoice for the 4th year in a row! Love to all my beliebers. Thank u. Love u
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) March 31, 2014
Around the world, news outlets and bloggers reported the Bieber boos news in different ways.
“It’s just a few short years since he has gone from Canada’s darling to a national embarrassment,” declared the UK’s Daily Mail.
“And just how much life has changed for Justin Bieber became clear as he was booed by the home crowd at the Juno Awards on Sunday.”
The Hollywood Reporter said “the honeymoon at home may be over” for Bieber.
“Tough crowd, eh? Justin Bieber, once the darling of fellow Canadians, got booed at the Junos, the country’s music awards, on Sunday night,” it read.
“Looks like Canada won’t be taking the pop star back willingly,” reported Time.
“America might be sick of troubled pop star Justin Bieber, but it doesn’t look like his native Canada has much love for him these days either.”
At New York magazine’s Vulture blog, opined: “Considering everything he’s been through this year already, Justin Bieber might have been hoping for a little hometown love Sunday night at Canada’s Juno Awards.
“Instead, the crowd offered up a ‘surprising mix of cheers and audible boos’ for the singer after he won the Juno Fan Choice Award. Luckily, Bieber could not actually be bothered to attend the award show, so he’ll probably never know it even happened. The Canadian women’s curling team accepted the award in his stead, and should probably just keep it at this point.”
The headline at GigWise declared: “Justin Bieber booed with ‘vindictive gusto’ at Canada’s Juno Awards.”
It added: “The Justin Bieber hating marches on, this time at Canada’s Juno Awards were the absent singer was booed after receiving the Fan’s Choice Award.
“Other musicians up for the award included Drake, Arcade Fire, Michael Buble, Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne, Serena Ryder, Hedley, Robin Thicke and Walk Off the Earth. Unfortunately however they were all clearly pipped in the voting by the legions of Beliebers who still stand behind their teen idol.”
The Blemish said Sunday’s biggest loser was Bieber.
“Bieber won the fan choice award but he wasn’t around to accept. And it’s a good thing too or else we would have seen a single tear roll down his cheek as half the audience booed him.”
Gossip blogger Perez Hilton said Bieber’s “bad boy ways got him seriously booed” at the Junos.
“It was the sad sound heard round Canadialand,” he wrote.
Bieber is no stranger to getting booed on live TV. He was jeered at the Billboard Music Awards in 2013 and at the 2012 Grey Cup halftime show in Toronto.
© Shaw Media, 2014