The T-Mobile Arena was the choice of venues at Las Vegas’ 17th Annual Latin Grammy Awards on November 18th. The level of entertainment expected was probably exponentially heightened because of the diversity of performances, including well-known artists and new additions to the genre. In fact, Best Rock Album and Best Rock Song awards were given to new group artists, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. Best New Artists and Best Singer/Songwriter Album awards were given to singer/Musician Manual Medrano.
Thursday night’s show brought Spanish and Portuguese music performers to awe-struck fans numbering over 17,000; Latin music lovers did not disappoint audience-number projections, and are growing in number as musical Latin artists rise in popularity, and also in diversity of style and personality.
The show was all glitz sparkle, and was action-packed, highlighted with an appearance by J-Lo in a surprise musical reunion with ex-husband Marc Anthony. They together performed, Pimpinela’s “Olvidame y Pega La Vuela” (Forget About Me and Turn Around). Jennifer’s sparkling outfit resembled a diamond-beaded shawl, gracefully draped around her, lighting her on fire. Anthony was garbed in black-tie form, wearing Vuarnet sunglasses, looking high-end swag. He was voted 2016 Person of the Year from the Latin Recording Academy earlier this year, for which J-Lo awarded him with a kiss.
The awards for Song of the Year and Recording of the Year were awarded for the song, “La Bicicleta”, collaborated by Shakira, Carlos Vives and Andres Castro, native Colombian artists who edged out Enrique Iglesias and Jesse & Joy. Vives performed the song for an enraptured audience solo, as Shakira was unable to attend the event.
With his recording of “Encantadora”, Yandel won his awards for Best Urban Song and Best Urban Fusion/Performance.
The subject of President-elect Donald Trump’s bringing in a new administration was not lost as a conversation topic. Writer Mexico native Javier Tovar, for his collaboration with Agence France Presse, broached members of Banda El Recodo de Don Cruz Lizárraga, who won for Best Banda Album for “Raíces” with this question: “What are your feelings about a Trump presidency?” Lizárraga replied, “We think because God put Mr. Trump in this place, it’s for a reason, and we hope Mr. Trump can also make positive change.”
Jesse & Joy perform “Me Soltaste” was winner of the Latin Grammy for Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Album.
The Cuban Flame Thrower, Cub’s pitcher Aroldis Chapman joined second baseman Javier Báez to give artists Gente De Zona, with an award for their Best Tropical Fusion Album, “Visualízate.”
Another notable performance was of “Safari”, by J Balvin, alongside Pharrell Williams, BIA and Sky. BIA shined as her version of trapetón came to millions of those watching in their homes, enriching their experience of how ultra-important these awards truly mean, to Latinos, Latinas, and the world of avid musical followers.
Juan Gabriel, singer/songwriter who passed away August at 66 years of age, posthumously received awards for Top Album of the Year and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Los Dúo 2.”
The Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences first broadcast outstanding achievement in Latin music in the millennial year of 2000. It was held in Los Angeles, California at the Staples Center. The award recipients are decided by peers within the current Latin music industry.