For the first time in its more than 20-year history, the Billboard Latin Music Awards will take place in Puerto Rico, marking the first time the show goes on the road from its traditional Miami homebase. The awards, presented by State Farm, will be broadcast live on April 29, 2010, by the Telemundo network.
As part of the agreement signed between Telemundo, Billboard and the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Billboard's Latin Music Conference, will take place April 26 to April 29 at the Conrad, San Juan, Condado Plaza in Puerto Rico (billboardlatinconference.com).
The announcement, welcome by top Latin artists around the world, was made this morning during a press conference at the new Coliseo de Puerto Rico, where the awards will take place.
"I celebrate with great joy the fact that Puerto Rico will be the location for the Billboard Latin Music Awards," said Juanes. "All the music in the region, in the island of music. Go Puerto Rico!"
Mexico's Paulina Rubio labeled the move an "inspiring decision" while Enrique Iglesias said, "What great news, the Billboard Latin music awards in the island. I'm sure that they will be historic."
This marks not only the first time the Billboard awards move to Puerto Rico, but also the first time any major Latin music awards takes place in that country, one of the hotbeds of Latin music. Of the 17 artists that have reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart in the past 12 months, for example, five-nearly a third-are Puerto Rican acts with vast Puerto Rican sales base.
"My island has always been witness to important musical events and for it to be the location for the 2010 Billboard Latin Music Awards brings great pride to our culture," said Ricky Martin.
Billboard's move to Puerto Rico this year, following an extension of the brand's multi-year deal with Telemundo to present the annual Billboard Latin Music Awards, is a nod to Latin music's broad scope and appeal. The awards show is already seen in more than 30 countries worldwide and this year's edition aired live in high definition on Telemundo, the first time a Spanish-language network has broadcast nationally in true HD.
"The move to Puerto Rico is a very exciting opportunity for Billboard as it extends the increasing international presence of the brand and allows us to expand the Billboard Latin Music Conference audience," says Howard Appelbaum, publisher of Billboard.
It is also a return home of sorts for Telemundo, which was founded in Puerto Rico.
"It's a win, win, win situation," said Don Browne, president of Telemundo. "The Billboard Latin Music Awards are our premiere event. And we're coming home to Puerto Rico. The emotional center of Telemundo is here."
A key proponent of the Puerto Rico move was award executive producer Tony Mojena who has long helmed the show and who also produces Telemundo's morning show, "Levántante." "We'll do the best show ever," said an emotional Mojena. "Thanks for trusting this little island with the big heart."
The 2010 Billboard Latin Music Conference and Awards will be promoted through a series of initiatives from the Puerto Rico Tourism company.
"We'll try to be the best hosts so that artists, as well as the industry and the media alike feel right at home in Puerto Rico," said pop star Chayanne. "We want to present a show like no other, in tune with the music we represent."
"In my career, Puerto Rico and Billboard have been two very important pillars; now for the first time they join in the production of such prestigious awards for Latin music," added Chile's Myriam Hernandez.