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Univision kudocast a hit

3.8 million viewers in 18-49 demo tuned in

MIAMI — Univision’s 17th annual music award show, “Premio lo nuestro a la musica Latina,” attracted record auds Thursday night, with 6.3 million Hispanic viewers, up 1 million over 2004.

In the key adults 18-49 demo, nearly 3.8 million viewers tuned in, a 45% Spanish-lingo TV share. That’s a 21% increase in audience vs. Premio 2004, when the same demo had a 40% share, according to Nielsen stats. Although audience numbers have been climbing for several years, the 2001 and 2003 editions had comparable share.

The kudocast aired live from the American Airlines Arena in Miami from 8-11 p.m. EST on Thursday, preceded by a one hour red-carpet special on the Spanish-lingo network.

While Univision has been criticized for emphasizing pretty pop stars over talent in the awards and telecast, the broadcaster implemented a more transparent nomination process, and winners in 25 categories were selected by online vote. Held in a new venue, production values were higher and the kudocast included not only the traditional mainstays of pop and tropical acts, with some regional Mexican mixed in, but also Mexican rocker Julieta Venegas, Spanish singer-songwriter Alejandro Sanz, who teamed with reggaeton artist Don Omar, and Puerto Rican reggaeton artist Daddy Yankee, who won urban album.

The show included several performances by Mexican regional artists, among them Alicia Villareal, Sin Bandera, Los Tigres del Norte and Los Temerarios. Those acts don’t have as many fans in the arena audience (Miami’s Hispanic demo skews to Caribbean countries), but they are popular among the Mexicans and Mexican-Americans who account for about two-thirds of the U.S. Hispanic population, and regional Mexican music (comprised of several subgenres) represents half of Latin music sales in the U.S.

A theatened boycott by Televisa talent did not entirely materialize despite a memo issued by the Mexican giant Feb. 9 banning its contracted performers from appearing on Univision shows — Televisa comedian Eugenio Derbez fulfilled his duties as host while other Televisa thesps were presenters.

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