Propelled by the runaway success of his hit single "Te Quiero," Felix Danilo Gómez, the Panamenian DJ and singer better known as Flex, was the big winner at the 2009 Billboard Latin Music awards presented by State Farm Insurance on April 23. Flex took home eight awards, including hot Latin song of the year, Latin ringmaster of the year and hot Latin song of the year, male.
Flex's multiple wins as a newcomer were all the more remarkable in a sea of established acts. He was followed in number of wins by Enrique Iglesias, who won in six categories, including hot Latin songs artist of the year and Latin album of the year for "95/08," a greatest hits compilation that included two new tracks.
Urban bachata stars Aventura took home four awards, including top Latin album of the year, duo or group, as did Mexican rockers Maná, whose wins included hot Latin song of the year, duo or group, for their remake of the Marco Antonio Solis hit "Si No Te Hubieras Ido." Jenni Rivera, Vicente Fernández, Gloria Trevi and Ivy Queen all won two awards each, with Fernández winning top Latin albums artist of the year.
Flex's success as a newcomer evoked memories of a former new group, Son By Four, who in 2001 won seven Billboard Latin awards, thanks to their hit "A Puro Dolor." This time around, Flex's song won in tropical and Latin rhythmic categories and also swept in the newly launched new artist categories, where he won in the hot Latin song of the year and top Latin album of the year.
Flex's "romantic reggaetón" style, a mellower, more pop-leaning variation on reggaetón's dembow beat, also allowed him to lead the charge in the Latin Rhythm categories, where his album "Te Quiero" won Latin rhythm album of the year, solo. Reggaetón hitmakers Wisin & Yandel won in the Latin rhythm album of the year, duo or group for "Los Extraterrestres."
The 2009 edition of the Latin Music Awards took place at the BankUnited Center in Miami and aired live on the Telemundo network. The show featured performances by Wisin & Yandel, Akon, Don Omar and Maná, as well as Ruben Blades and his legendary band, Seis del Solar, making their first televised appearance in years.
Special awards were given to Carlos Santana, who was honored with the Lifteime Achievement Award, and Daddy Yankee, who won the Spirit of Hope Award for his humanitarian work. Santana was given his award by Maná, a group with whom he's recorded and toured in the past, and with whom he played Thursday night.
Label and publishing awards were given April 22 at the Billboard Bash, with Espinoza Paz, who just last month won BMI's Latin songwriter of the year award, also taking the Billboard trophy as songwriter of the year. Fellow Mexican Armando Avila won for producer of the year while Paz's publishing company, Arpa, BMI, won publisher of the year. Warner/Chappell Music won publishing corporation of the year.
In the label of the year categories, Sony Music Latin won hot Latin songs label of the year and Tropical albums label of the year while Universal Music Latin Entertainment won top Latin albums label of the year, Latin pop, regional Mexican and Latin rhythm label of the year.
Rapper Pitbull was the winner in the newly created Latin digital download artist of the year category.
Finalists and winners to the Billboard Latin Music Awards are determined by their performance on the Billboard charts, as measured by Nielsen SoundScan and BDS during a one-year period from the issue dated February 9, 2008 issue through the January 31, 2009 issue.