All eyes were on singer Rosalia at the 20th annual Latin Grammy Awards held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Thursday night (Nov. 14). The Spanish flamenco singer took home the award for album of the year and best recording package for “El Mal Querer,” as well as Best Urban Song for her collaboration with J Balvin on “Con Altura.”
“Thank you to the Academy for giving me one of the first opportunities a few years ago,” she said from the stage. ” I also want to share this as a musician. There is nothing that makes you prouder than winning a Grammy. It’s the biggest thing that can happen to an artist.”
Alejandro Sanz, who had the most nominations going into the show, also picked up three Latin Grammys: record of the year and best pop song for “Mi Persona Favorita,” as well as long form music video. Sanz, also a Spain native, and Rosalia signaled a bright future for new artists who bring in fresh ideas to Hispanic music and rhythms.
Said Sanz: “Without diversity, there is no Latin Grammy and that’s the most important part — the diversity that Latin Music and Spanish music has. Fortunately more people are coming out with different proposals and a lot of talent.”
Of Rosalia, he added: “I met her when she was just starting off, practically. She was in my Person of the Year [gala] and I am very happy for her and seeing her happy.
The evening focused on nostalgia, bringing back memorable moments and honoring late musical legends, starting with an Icon tribute to the late Salsa Queen Celia Cruz by Brazilian sensation Anitta, who joined forces with Olga Tañon and Milly Quezada in an interpretation of “La Vida es un Carnaval.” The performance was followed by Carlos Rivera, Leonel Garcia and Reik paying homage to Juan Gabriel by singing their own version to “Querida.”
Mexican singer Joan Sebastian was also honored, with Natalia Jimenez, Calibre 50 and Prince Royce sharing the stage to perform “Secreto de Amor,” followed by an ode to Spanish Rock and Argentine singer Gustavo Cerati performed by Draco, Fito Paez, Beto Cuevas and Ricky Martin who sang “Música Ligera.” Other tributes include Fonseca’s performance to Camilo Sesto’s songs.
One of the highlight of the evening came courtesy of the Fernandez dynasty: Mexican Mariachi legend Vicente Fernandez, his son Alejandro and grandson Alex performed together on stage for the first time in a historic moment. Accompanied by Mariachi Sol de Mexico, who played against a backdrop of the Mexican flag, the three generations of men presented a medley of “Te amaré,” “Caballero,” ”Derrota” and “Volver, Volver,” followed by Vicente’s award acceptance speech.
Inevitably, many of the evening’s performances took the audience through an emotional journey as Latin music trailblazers and icons got a public acknowledgment, while others brought the energy with lively moments and collaborations. Chief among them: Alicia Keys and Miguel teaming for “Show me Love,” then joined by Pedro Capó and Farruko for a tropical and colorful performance of “Calma.” which also earned Capó the Latin Grammy for song of the year and best urban fusion performance.
Juanes, who was honored as the Person of the Year at a gala on Nov. 13, received his award during the broadcast and following his own medley of popular songs such as “Fijate bien”, “Querer Mejor”, “A Dios le pido,” “Bonita” and “Camisa Negra.” Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich surprised the Colombian artist onstage to present the award for Person of the Year. Ulrich proudly declared himself a “Juanes fan.”
Juanes returned the favor, telling Ulrich: “One of the reasons why I am making music is because of you guys. Years ago I was in Medellin listening to your music. You changed my life.”
Other notable moments included Luis Fonsi’s performance (a medley of “Aqui Estoy Yo” and “Imposible”); Thalia’s recognition for Premio de la Presidencia; Pepe Aguilar’s interpretation of José José; and Ricky Martin’s explosive display of Puerto Rican flavor and rhythms, along with Bad Bunny, who later closed out the show, and Residente, for the world premiere of their song “Cántalo.”
Another Puerto Rican that lit up the MGM Grand Garden Arena: Ozuna, who sang a medley of “Amor Genuino” and “Hasta que Salga el Sol,” surprising anyone who ever doubted his musical talents by playing his own piano accompaniment. Ozuna’s production included purple fog that backlit the singer’s silhouette followed by the effect of a fluorescent underwater rave with plants and rocks in bright neon colors sprinkled throughout. The stars shined bright, indeed.
See the full list of Latin Grammy winners below:
Tropical Fusion: Juan Luis Guerra
Urban Album: Bad Bunny
Song of the Year: “Calma” by Pedro Capó
Person of the year award: Juanes
Best New Artist: Nella
Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Album: Rosalia, “El Mal Querer”
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Fonseca, “Agustin”
Best Pop Song: “Mi Persona Favorita”
Best Urban Fusion/Performance: Pedro Capo & Farruko
Best Urban Music Album: Bad Bunny X 100PRE
Record of the Year: Alejandro Sanz and Camila Cabello, “Mi Persona Favorita”
Best Rock Album: Draco Rosa, “Monte Sagrado”
Best Pop/Rock Album: “Cargar la Suerte,” Andres Calamaro
Best Rock Song: “Verdades Afiladas,” Andres Calamaro
Best Ranchero Mariachi: Christian Nodal
Best Urban Song: Rosalia, J Balvin “Con Altura”
Album of the Year: Rosalia, “El Mal Querer”