With performances by Gerardo Ortiz, Los Tigres del Norte, Banda el Recodo de Cruz Lizárraga, Joan Sebastian, Roberto Tapia, and many more, the 2013 Mexican Music Awards brought a remarkable line-up of legends and leading young artists together on stage for a night of live television celebrating Regional Mexican music’s current multi-generational energy and strength.
“It’s very difficult to compete with other generations,” Los Tigres’ bassist Hernán Hernández said as the band accepted the “Lider” special award for their leadership and social activism over a 48-year career. Los Tigres had come to the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood directly from Washington D.C., where they performed Tuesday at a rally for immigration reform on the National Mall.
“But I think it’s not about competing,” Hernández observed. “It’s about sharing the music.”
The opening number by Banda Los Recoditos with back-up dancers in bustiers and heels, made clear that the show, broadcast on the Telemundo network, would appeal to younger audiences whose music choices range from Regional Mexican to pop and hip hop.
Gerardo Ortiz, the singer of corridos and pop-flavored ballads who is known as a leader of Regional Mexican’s new generation, brought screams from the audience every time he got up from his seat. Ortiz, who holds the record as the winner of the most Billboard Mexican Music Awards -- 17 -- took home four awards this year, including artist of the year, male and songs artist of the year.
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His brother, 18-year-old Kevin Ortiz also proved his popularity among female fans as well as his singing talent performing on the show with a set that looked like a scene from “Grease.”
The younger Ortiz was followed in an emerging artists segment by Los Inquietos del Norte, who bring a punk rock vibe to ranchera music. Finalist and “La Voz Kids” judge Roberto Tapia, wearing tight jeans and pointy boots, sang his single “Me Enamoré,” surrounded by girls in lingerie.
“All these guys are hip,” Yarel Ramos, a presenter at the awards who hosts the Regional Mexican music show Reventón on bilingual channel Mun2, told Billboard on the red carpet. “…they want to look like Kanye West, they want to look like Drake. It’s kind of like adapting a little of both worlds.”
More traditional groups performed with fewer props, instead filling the stage with instruments. Banda El Recodo, which boasts an 11-man brass section, received the night’s first standing ovation. The 75-year-old chart-topping group was honored with Billboard's Legacy Award for their lengthy career and influence on the genre.
While hosts telenovela actor Rafael Amaya and actress Aylin Mujica entertained the crowd with bits riffing on high and low Mexican pop culture, Joan Sebastian took on a god-fatherly role at the awards with several impromptu observations from the podium. Sebastian was honored with Billboard's La Voz Award, given to a unique artist with a distinctive voice, persona and career, as well as Ranchero/Mariachi Artist of the Year and Ranchero/Mariachi Album of the Year for “13 Celebrando el 13.”
Upon accepting his best album award, Sebastian gestured to the jacket with shinypanels he was wearing, revealing that he bought it on a trip to Europe for the Montreaux Jazz Festival. “I never thought I would get here and see three or four guys wearing the same jacket,” said Sebastian, who also performed at the awards. “The more transcendent thing is that more than four people, maybe 100s who are here, have the same dream. I hope that those who came dressed the same will keep the same dreams for many years to come, and that the winners tonight will transcend this ephemeral moment of success.”
Jenni Rivera was the big winner of the night, posthumously taking seven honors, including the Artist of the Year award. Rivera, who died last December in a plane crash, was remembered with a brief tribute during the show, during which her awards were announced.
La Arrolladora Banda el Limon de Rene Camacho won three awards including artist of the year, duo or group, airplay artist of the year and banda song of the year for their hit song "Cabecita Dura."
Other key awards include Espinoza Paz, winner for songwriter of the year and Fernando Camacho Tirado -- producer for multi-winner La Arrolladora Banda El Limón de René Camacho, who won producer of the year.
UMLE was the winner for both airplay and album record of the year, while its fully-owned Disa Records won airplay imprint of the year, and Fonovisa Records won albums imprint of the year. Indie Arpa Musical won both publisher and publishing corporation of the year.
Finalists and winners of the Billboard Mexican Music Awards were determined by chart performance as chronicled in Billboard Magazine and on billboard.com during the eligibility period of August 18, 2012 through August 10, 2013. Award categories are based on album and digital track sales data provided by Nielsen SoundScan and radio airplay monitored by Nielsen BDS.
To see the complete list of winners visit the official awards show Website Telemundo.com/PremiosBillboard.