Justin Bieber may not have showed up at the Junos, but his presence was felt after his fourth consecutive Juno Fan Choice Award win was met with a loud chorus of boos in Winnipeg's MTS Centre.
Co-host Serena Ryder came to Bieber's defence during her own acceptance speech for best songwriter.
“I really think Justin Bieber is an amazing musician and that he deserves every bit of that award," said Ryder. "He's been working his ass off his entire life, and we need to support how awesome he is.”
Backstage, big winners Tegan and Sara also defended the embattled pop superstar.
“No slag of the media, but we have this 24 hour news cycle now. We need to constantly have headlines and I think it's really easy to pick on celebrities. We've been publicly supportive of Justin Bieber, because we think he sings really great pop music. I thought it was tacky to boo. I think it’s tacky when people boo at hockey games, I think it’s tacky to boo artists," said Tegan Quin. "It made me feel sad. We were only booed once -- and it was at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. That sound? It feels horrible."
"I think that Justin Bieber is actually a very talented artist and I think a lot of people just like to pile on and sort of make fun of him," she added. "He's been famous since he was a little kid. 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."
“I think that Justin Bieber is actually a very talented artist and I think a lot of people just like to pile on and sort of make fun of him, but we have to remember that he has a mom and a dad and a grandma and a grandpa and he’s actually really talented," she pointed out. "He’s been famous since he was a little kid. 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."
"It's not very Canadian," Sara Quin added about the booing. "We were backstage when it happened and it made me feel sad."
This wasn't the first time the Biebs has been booed. After being booked for the Grey Cup in 2012, the pop star was not well-received by the football fans. Last May, Bieber was booed at the Billboard awards while claiming "This is not a gimmick. I'm an artist and I should be taken seriously.”