It was only upset in the sense that going into the ceremony, it looked like Puerto Rican superstar Bad Bunny — the most nominated artist at this year’s event — was poised for a sweep. The latin trap visionary – whose chart-topping album “Un Verano Sin Ti” is the most-streamed album of the year – was not at the awards ceremony because he has to perform in Medellin, Colombia, on Friday. In the end, the 28-year-old rapper, whose real name is Benito Martinez Ocasio, won five awards in the show’s rap and hip-hop categories.
During a concert, Rosalía lets us hear what life in the future of pop sounds like
It was Uraguayan musician Jorge Drexler who scooped the most awards at the awards ceremony, sharing two of the most coveted awards – record and song of the year – with Spanish rapper C. Tangana. Drexler’s trophy also included Best Pop Song (for “La Guerrilla De La Concordia”) in a tie with Sebastián Yatra’s “Tacones Rojos”, Best Alternative Song, Best Singer-Songwriter Album and Best Portuguese Language Song.
Performers at the ceremony, which aired on Univision from the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, included Yatra, Rosalia, Angela Aguilar, Rauw Alejandro, Karol G and Romeo Santos. The broadcast was hosted by Mexican singer Thalia, Brazilian pop star Anitta, Puerto Rican crooner Luis Fonsi and Italian musician Laura Pausini.
The real highlight of the ceremony was when 95-year-old Angela Alvarez won the Best New Artist award, in a tie with Mexican singer Silvana Estrada. Read about her speech and other memorable moments; a list of the main category winners can be found below.
The star-studded show opener
Fonsi, Pausini and Thalia, joined by the Mexican duo Sin Bandera, led a tribute to Marco Antonio Solis of Los Bukis fame, the Latin Recording Academy’s “Person of the Year”. The tribute also featured Gente de Zona, the Cuban duo who performed in the song of the year of the 2021 ceremony – the protest song ‘Patria y Vida’. They were joined by Cuban singer Aymée Nuviola and Goyo, of Colombian hip-hop trio Choquibtown.
Raw Alejandro’s space-forward medley
The Puerto Rican singer gave one of the best performances of the night sampling his latest album “Saturno” while looking like a futuristic Sherlock Holmes in an oversized metallic trench coat and statement sunglasses.
A 95-year-old grandmother’s tie for Best New Artist.
Cuban-born Angela Alvarez, 95, tied for best new artist with Mexican singer Silvana Estrada, 25. Alvarez delivered one of the best speeches of the night, thanking the Recording Academy “and all those who helped me get to this moment.” It is a group made up of Cuban-American actor Andy Garcia, who produced and narrated a documentary about Alvarez’s life, and her grandson, composer Carlos José Alvarez, who first began recording the songs Alvarez formerly only played for the family.
“I want to dedicate this award to God and to my beloved country, Cuba, which I will never be able to forget,” Alvarez said in her poignant acceptance speech. “To those who have not fulfilled their dream, although life is difficult, there is always a way out and with faith and love you can achieve it.”
He recorded his Nana’s songs. Now, at age 95, she’s been nominated for a Latin Grammy.
Rauw and Rosalia as a power couple
Fans of the Barcelona-born woman were treated to definitive proof that her relationship with fellow Latin pop star Rauw Alejandro – the second most nominated artist this year, with eight nominations – is going well. If their playful grinding during Rosalia’s performance of “Despecha” didn’t confirm it, her acceptance speech for “the love of my life” certainly did.
Four people sharing hosting duties may mean too many chefs in the kitchen, but the Latin Grammys prefer multiple hosts and it rarely seems too busy. This year’s team struck a balance with the low-key Fonsi and Pausini versus Anitta and Thalia announcing upcoming acts with Oprah Winfrey’s enthusiasm giving everyone a new car.
Sebastián Yatra and John Legend perform “Tacones Rojos” (“Red Heels”)
Yatra’s cabaret-inspired performance, also nominated for eight awards at Thursday’s ceremony, was as charming as the Colombian singer and his EGOT collaborator on the “Tacones Rojos” remix.
Christina Aguilera performed with Christian Nodal
The pop star won Best Traditional Vocal Album for ‘Aguilera’, marking her much-anticipated return to Latin music (decades after she released her first Spanish-language album ‘Mi Reflejo’). Aguilera teamed up for a powerful mariachi duet with Mexican singer Christian Nodal, who later took home best ranchero/mariachi album for “EP #1 Forajido”.
Anitta’s nod to “Vai Malandra”
The Brazilian singer took a short break from her co-hosting duties to perform a medley featuring “Vai Malandra,” the 2017 hit that landed the Record of the Year nominee on the international chart.
The “urban” categories
Bad Bunny wasn’t excluded from the main categories, exactly. Rosalia (who collaborated with the rapper on the 2020 hit “La Noche de Anoche”) was a fierce contender in the album of the year category, which also included Bomba Estereo’s “Deja”, Marc Anthony’s “Pa’lla Voy” and Yatra’s ” Dharma.” And while Drexler, another album of the year nominee, seemed surprised to win both record and song of the year, those prestigious categories could have gone to a range of artists, including Rosalia, Alejandro, and Aguilera.
But there’s a certain dissonance to Bad Bunny – whose album is the year’s biggest in several ways – failing to win in any of the main categories of the ceremony. This year’s results are representative of an ongoing problem that led several reggaeton artists, including Daddy Yankee, to boycott the ceremony in protest of the treatment of chart-topping reggaeton artists, which have often been relegated to genre categories. The Latin Recording Academy added new hip-hop categories in recent years, but what does it mean when genre-bending artists like Bad Bunny are regularly left out of the main categories?
That said, the Latin Grammys are light years ahead of the so-called “gringo Grammys” when it comes to Latin artists across genres (see: Anitta, championing Best New Artist at a ceremony she’ll be attending months later). hosting and performing at the Latin Grammys). Besides, the other Grammy ceremony – which has its own fraught history with hip-hop artists and has a long way to go in terms of recognizing musical talent on a global scale – announced Bad Bunny as one of the nominees for album of the year at the ceremony, which will take place on February 5.
“Tocarte,” Jorge Drexler and C. Tangana
Angela Alvarez; Silvana Estrada
“Tocarte,” Jorge Drexler and C. Tangana
“Tacones Rojos, “Sebastian Yatra; Jorge Drexler “La Guerrilla De La Concordia”
Best Reggaeton Performance
“Lo Siento BB:/,” Bad Bunny, Tainy, Julieta Venegas
Best Urban Fusion Performance
“Titi Me Pregunto”, Bad Bunny
“Un Verano Sin Ti,” Bad Bunny
“The Museo,” Bad Bunny
“Pa’alla voy,” Marc Anthony
View the full list of winners here.