Juan Gabriel, the fabled composer and showman extraordinaire, was feted as the Latin Academy's 2009 Person of the year in an evening that culminated with him singing accompanied by his mariachi band for nearly an hour, often standing on tables and chairs in the middle of the audience.
The Person of the Year dinner took place at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, with an opening speech by Enrique Iglesias.
The jubilant Juan Gabriel gave heartfelt speeches, received $50,000 from Henessy for his children's charity, Semjase, toasted the audience and even sank to his knees before Italian diva Laura Pausini. "Laura, you are my idol," he cooed after Pausini performed.
It was an evening of musical highs and lows, with some puzzling performances playing alongside wonderful ones from the likes of Pausini, India, Natalia of Spanish group La Quinta Estación and David Bisbal, who, following his performance, walked from the stage to Juan Gabriel's table to thank him for "your many words of advice."