Canadian content cleans up at American Music Awards

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

Bieber beats out Drake in 4 categories, but Toronto rapper got 4 AMAs of his own

Toronto rapper Drake accepts Favourite Rap/Hip-Hop Album for Views onstage during the 2016 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theatre Sunday in Los Angeles (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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 fan-voted show.

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 though, 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/R&B 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. They were the three other Canadians nominated for awards, but were each shut out.

Rihanna took home three awards of her own: Favourite Female Artist Soul/R&B, Favourite Album Soul/R&B for Anti and the previously mentioned Favourite Song Soul/R&B award for Work with Drake.

Ariana Grande performs her hit Side by Side during the 2016 American Music Awards in Los Angeles. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

American singer Ariana Grande won the show's biggest prize — artist of the year — beating out Bieber, Selena Gomez, Rihanna and Carrie Underwood. She also performed a racy version of her hit Side to Side alongside Nicki Minaj.

Green Day takes aim at Trump

Other big-name performers included John Legend, Maroon 5, The Chainsmokers and Sting, who received the American Music Award of Merit. 

Green Day got political during their performance of Bang Bang as band leader Billie Joe Armstrong sang "No KKK, no fascist USA, no Trump."

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

The show's hosts, former Saturday Night Live comic Jay Pharaoh and model Gigi Hadid, also brought up the Trump win, with Hadid impersonating the president-elect's wife, Melania, with a nod to her convention speech that seemed to borrow from an earlier Michelle Obama speech.

"I love my husband, President Barack Obama, and our children, Sasha and Malia," she said to big laughs.

Presenters included Taraji P. Henson, Robert Downey Jr., Zoe Saldana and Heidi Klum.

Full list of winners:

  • Artist of the year: Ariana Grande
  • New artist of the year: Zayn
  • Collaboration of the year: Work from Home, Fifth Harmony with Ty Dolla $ign
  • Tour of the year: Beyonce
  • Video of the year: Sorry, Justin Bieber
  • Pop/rock female artist: Selena Gomez
  • Pop/rock male artist: Justin Bieber
  • Pop/rock band, duo or group: Twenty One Pilots
  • Pop/rock song: Love Yourself, Justin Bieber​
Fifth Harmony gave one of the evening's more eye-popping performances. They also won collaboration of the year for their tune, Work from Home, featuring Ty Dolla $ign. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
  • Pop/rock album: Purpose, Justin Bieber
  • Country female artist: Carrie Underwood
  • Country male artist: Blake Shelton
  • Country band, duo or group: Florida Georgia Line
  • Country song: Humble and Kind, Tim McGraw
  • Country album: Storyteller, Carrie Underwood
  • Rap/hip-hop artist: Drake
  • Rap/hip-hop song: Hotline Bling, Drake
  • Rap/hip-hop albumViews, Drake
  • Soul/R&B female artist: Rihanna
  • Soul/R&B male artist: Chris Brown
Sting was the recipient of the American Music Award of Merit. He performed a medley of his hits during the show, including Every Breath You Take and Message in a Bottle. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
  • Soul/R&B song: Work, Rihanna with Drake
  • Soul/R&B album: Anti, Rihanna
  • ​Alternative rock: Twenty One Pilots
  • Adult contemporary: Adele
  • Latin artist: Enrique Iglesias
  • Contemporary inspirational: Hillsong United
  • Electronic dance music: The Chainsmokers
  • Soundtrack: Purple Rain
  • Award of merit: Sting

With files from Justin Li, Haydn Watters and The Associated Press


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