Young talent and a bold new musical trend dominated the second annual Billboard Mexican Music Awards, with 3BallMTY, the edgy tribal music troupe, winning nine awards, including New Artist of the Year, Artist of the Year, Duo or Group; Song Artist of the Year and Digital Download Artist of the Year.
The awards, presented by State Farm, aired live on the Telemundo Network from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and featured genre-breaking performances from winners 3BallMTY together with reggaetón duo J King & Maximán as well as more traditional fare from veterans Conjunto Primavera and Los Huracanes del Norte.
3BallMTY, made up of DJs Erick Rincón, Sergio Zavala (Sheeqo Beat) and Albert Presenda (DJ Otto), highlighted the dynamic nature of regional Mexican music, the top-selling Latin sub-genre in the United States. The trio of DJs, who released their debut album only last year -- and who had their network performance premiere on the first Billboard Mexican Music Awards -- also won Songs Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for the single "Inténtalo," featuring El Bebeto and América Sierra.
3Ball MTY began the Billboard Mexican Music Awards with an injection of frenetic electronic dance music, and the young DJ trio were followed by urban corrido star Larry Hernandez, who, clad in the kind of sunglasses and Italian-cut suit, sang an uncharacteristic tropical bachata number off of one of his two upcoming albums, featuring ex-Aventura members Lenny and Max Santos, shaking with a dancer in a red bikini while fire shot up in the background.
When Norteño group Pesado next cooled down the stage with an accordion-driven ballad, it was clear not only that traditional Mexican music was in the house, but that these second annual awards, presented by State Farm and aired live on the Telemundo Network, would be a showcase of stars of current Mexican music. The genre maintains a faithful and massive audience for Regional Mexican, the top-selling Latin sub-genre in the United States, while gaining a new, more diverse audience of young fans with more global sounds.
"In Mexico there have always been new waves," 3Ball MTY's Sergio Zavala, the DJ known as Sheeqo Beat, said on the red carpet outside of Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium. "We brought something fresh with the electronic sound [and] tribal is really growing."
3Ball returned to a day-glo-lighted stage for a three-song performance in the latter part of the show. They were joined by "Inténtalo" composer and singer America Sierra, Los Primos de Durango, and Puerto Rico reggaetón duo J King & Maximán, whose beats echoed Zavala's description of tribal as "a very international Latin movement."
Following in sheer number of wins is norteño star Gerardo Ortiz, who won seven awards, including Artist of the Year and Artist of the Year, Male. Ortiz's album "Entre Dios y el Diablo" also won the Album of the Year Award. Ortiz was not present at the Awards.
A special award for the evening was given to ranchera singer/songwriter Pepe Aguilar, who received Billboard's Legacy Award in recognition of a lengthy and rich musical trajectory that has influenced the genre and its artists.
Veteran ranchera singer Vicente Fernández, currently in the midst of his farewell tour, swept the ranchero/mariachi category, winning Ranchero/Mariachi Album of the Year for "Otra Vez," Song of the Year with "El Vestido Blanco" and overall Ranchero/Mariachi Artist of the Year.
Also winning three awards each were El Bebeto and Sierra for their collaboration in 3BallMTY's "Inténtalo."
Women were noticeably absent from the list of winners, save for Jenni Rivera, who won Artist of the Year, Female and Banda Album of the Year for her album "Joyas Prestadas."
Norteño music institution Los Huracanes del Norte received Billboard's "La Voz" (The Voice) Award, given to an artist or musical group with a distinctive and unique on and off-stage persona. Three generations of the group accepted the award.
"We've seen so many trends go by," band leader Heraclio 'Rocky' García told Billboard on the red carpet. "I think [the current tribal trend] is good for the industry. But we don't approve of all the lyrics. We're a family band. If you're listening to our music with the family can be in the van and you're not going to be embarrassed by what we're singing."
La Original Banda El Limon de Salvador Lizarraga, who performed their hits "El Primer Lugar" and "El Mejor Perfume" on the show, received Telemundo's Excellence Award, given to an innovative artist or musical group that has remained at the forefront of music.
"Tradition evolves," said vocalist Andrey Lizárraga. "Because the people ask for it. You have to be in step with the times, if not you're out."
For the second consecutive year, the Songwriter of the year award went to Horacio Palencia, who is now signed as an artist to Fonovisa. Likewise, the Producer of the Year award again went to Fernando Camacho Tirado, the director and producer of La Arrolladora Banda El Limón de Rene Camacho which won Airplay Artist of the Year, and Banda Song of the Year for their hit "Llamada De Mi Ex."
In the label categories, the evening belonged to Universal Music Latin Entertainment and its two fully-owned regional Mexican labels Disa and Fonovisa. UMLE won both the Airplay and Albums Record Label of the Year awards, while Disa won Airplay Imprint of the Year and Fonovisa won Albums Imprint of the Year. Independent publisher ARPA Musical won Publisher of the Year while its ARPA Music won Publishing Corporation of the year.
Billboard Mexican Music Awards finalists and winners are determined by chart performance as chronicled in Billboard Magazine and on Billboard.com during the eligibility period of August 27, 2011 through August 18, 2012. Award categories are based on album and digital track sales data provided by Nielsen SoundScan and radio airplay monitored by Nielsen BDS.
For a full list of winners, click here .