Billboard Latin Music Awards: Jenni Rivera's Emotional Tribute, Romeo Santos' Dream Project + More Backstage Highlights

Tributes flowed for the late Jenni Rivera as the likes of Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Ana Barbara and Romeo Santos took turns in the spotlight. Here's a taste of what happened behind the scenes at the Billboard Latin Music Awards.


SH*T HAPPENS: Rap duo Akwid were chilling backstage at the Billboard Latin Music Awards and making their way through a series of press interviews. At one point they talked to Pee Wee, the baby-faced pop singer, about working together. "Do you want to do some gansta shi*?,” asked Sergio Gomez. Pee Wee respectfully declined, but all parties left smiling.

Billboard Latin Music Awards
Red Carpet Photos

FULL LIST: All the Winners
Big Night for Don Omar, Jenni Rivera
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• VIDEO: Gloria Estefan Q&A
• VIDEO: 3BallMty Q&A
• VIDEO: Carlos Vives Q&A

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REMEMBERING JENNI: Actor Edward James Olmos and director Michael D. Olmos (Edward’s son) stopped by the Billboard 1-on-1 interview room to talk about the late Jenni Rivera tribute. It was an emotional night, Olmos says, but those who see the indie film “Filly Brown” (currently in theaters) will be able to catch Rivera’s superb performance. Michael says that the songstress was more than committed to the role of a drug-addicted mother in prison. The performance, the filmmaker says, is compelling.

(REALITY) SHOW MUST GO ON: Jenni Rivera's family had an emotional night at the awards show as the late singer was remembered in video, celebrity tributes and in performances by her brother Juan Rivera, who was in a zone and afterward told those around him that he truly was only thinking of his sister while on the stage. Backstage the family was being followed by cameras for the current season of the popular reality show "I Love Jenni."

SPIN ROOM: In a hallway near the stage entrance of the awards show Colombian singer and songwriter Carlos Vives, currently the Billboard cover story, quickly drew a crowd of about 30 people who watched the crooner attempt to spin a trompo or whipping top, a toy popular in Latin America. He tried three times before he got it to spin and those around him screamed with excitement as the singer was then escorted to the green room.

DAISY IN THE MIDDLE: TV personality Jorge Bernal mugged for the cameras with model Daisy Fuentes and bachata singer Prince Royce. The three looked good together and Fuentes confirmed it: “I love a Cuban sandwich.”


HELD UP HORACIO: Regional Mexican singer and songwriter Horacio Palencia got stuck in Miami traffic on his way to the awards show with thousands of commuters due to a nearby marathon. Not risking the chance to miss the show’s opening, the entertainer took matters into his own hands and walked a few blocks looking dapper in a sparkly suit. The singer, who is recording a song with Venezuelan duo Chino & Nacho, made it to the awards show on time.

LOVE FOR OMAR: A somewhat bilingual Vin Diesel and a definitely bilingual Michelle Rodriguez presented Don Omar with the songs artist of the year (male) trophy. The king of reggaeton was genuinely surprised on stage and backstage he was equally elated as an endless series of embraces carried him through the night and into after-party mode.

MAKE WAY FOR THE HOST: Singer and host Ana Barbara walked down a long hallway backstage with her entourage in tow who lit her pathway with lights as she and others held up her long gorgeous dress so the songstress would not trip. It was “mission accomplished,” as she made it to the stage on time for the live television event.

ROMEO, FILM STAR? Bachata star Romeo Santos is so popular that female fans at every corner wanted to touch and hold him, but that didn’t worry his manager Johnny Marines, a former policeman. “Luckily my experience as a cop comes in handy, but in a gentle way.” Marines adds that Santos is eyeing a film project and the obvious question is if that project has something to do with Santos’ pal Will Smith. No denying or confirming from Marines. Stay tuned.

GRATEFUL: Brazilian singer Michel Teló won two awards, for song of the year and Latin pop songs of the year for “Ai Se Eu Te Pego.” Before he jumped into an interview with Telemundo he was asked how he felt in the moment: “I am so grateful to God,” he said, as he clutched his trophy. Later he told Billboard’s Judy Canter-Navas that he’s recording a Spanish-language album.