The 13th annual Latin Grammy pre-telecast opened with a soothing ballad by Peruvian singer Gian Marco Zignago and Cuban crooner Amaury Gutierrez in a early awards showcase that set the tone for some of the most celebrated music of the year.
During the ceremony at the House of Blues at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, Zignago was genuinely surprised when he heard his name announced for best singer/songwriter album of the year for "20 Años."
"This is dedicated to my family, children and everyone else," Zignago said as he wiped his tears away. "This album is for all the university students from my country to let them know that there are no limits."
More than 30 awards were given in the pre-telecast, which honored a variety of genres within Latin music. One of the biggest winners was Cuban jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer Arturo Sandoval who took home two trophies for best Latin jazz album ("Dear Diz - Every Day I Think of You") and best tango album ("Tango - Como Yo Te Siento").
"I'd like to dedicate this award to my father who turned me on to the tango," Sandoval said as he received his award. "He was a mechanic, but when he spoke about the tango he knew all of the melodies."
Mexico's Carla Morrison, one of the year's most celebrated indie-pop artists, took the prize for best alternative song for her emotionally-driven "Déjenme Llorar (Let Me Cry)," a song about breaking up, which has been helped the singer-songwriter become a YouTube sensation.
"This is also for all the kids who have broken hearts," Morrison said.
Other winners during the pre-telecast included Dominican musician Juan Luis Guerra, who won for producer of the year and who, the previous night, performed during the person of the year tribute to Brazilian singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso.
The best regional Mexican song award went to "El Mejor Perfume" written by Carlos Monroy and Adrian Pieragostino. Best banda album went to the popular La Arrolladora Banda el Limon de Rene Camacho for the album "Irreversible…2012" and best salsa album went to Luis Enrique for "Soy y Sere"
Best Pop/Rock album went to El Cuarteto De Nos' "Porfiado," best rock album went to Mexico's Molotov for "Desde Rusia Con Amor" and best urban album went to Don Omar's "MTO2 New Generation."
Best Christian album went to Marcos Witt's "25 Concierto Conmemorativo," while best flamenco album went to Paco De Lucia's "En Vivo Conciertos España 2010."
The best Brazilian contemporary pop album went to Seu Jorge for "Músicas Para Churrasco Vol. 1" and best Brazilian rock album went to Beto Lee's "Celebração & Sacrifício."
For a complete list of winners, go to latingrammy.com.