Spanish superstar Alejandro Sanz, Colombian pop act Juanes and Brazilian singer and pianist Ivan Lins shared top honors yesterday (Nov. 3) at the Latin Grammys at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Spanish superstar Alejandro Sanz, Colombian pop act Juanes and Brazilian singer and pianist Ivan Lins shared top honors yesterday (Nov. 3) at the Latin Grammys at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The event showcased a diverse and eclectic assortment of music from around the Latin world in the first Spanish-ever broadcast of the awards show.

After airing the show on CBS in English for the past few years to dwindling television viewing audiences, the Latin Grammys this year were telecast in Spanish on Univision, the nation's leading Spanish-language network.

It was a big night for Spaniards, as Spanish romantic pop singer-songwriter Alejandro Sanz scored two of the biggest awards at the 6th annual Latin Grammys, winningr record of the year and song of the year for "Tu No Tienes Alma" (Warner Music).

Sanz, who dedicated his award to his father, beat a fellow Spaniard, alternative singer-songwriter Bebe in both categories. Bebe was a favorite going into the 6th annual Latin Grammys with five nominations. The EMI Spain-signed act nabbed the top honor for best new artist.

"It feels like we're in the right place. It feels like being at home. I think it was a good show. I think it was marvelous," said Juanes.

The Grammys can help catapult an artist into a huge star, as in the case of Juanes who turned into an international rock star after his debut album won multiple Latin Grammys a few years ago.

Juanes continued his winning streak this year, scoring Grammys for best music video, best rock solo vocal album and best rock song for "Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor" from his album "Mi Sangre" (Universal), bringing his total Latin Grammy tally to date to 12.

"I never thought I'd be getting these three awards tonight. To be in the Grammys is more complicated every year," he said backstage, referring to the eclectic and diverse musical offerings that continue to emerge in the Latin music scene.

Smooth-sounding veteran Brazilian singer and pianist Ivan Lins took home the Grammy for album of the year for his "Cantando Historias" (EMI) beating out entries by Bebe, Puerto Rican singer Obie Bermudez, the Tejana band Intocable and Argentine Diego Torres.

Bermudez won his first trophy, nabbing a best male pop vocal award for his album, "Todo El Ano" (EMI).

While the English-language telecasts had recently fallen in ratings, Spanish-language specials have scored huge hits, making them a darling of advertisers.

Accordingly, Grammy organizers earmarked three hours for the gala at the Shrine Auditorium instead of the traditional two hours, featuring rousing performances by Puerto Rican rapper Don Omar, Chilean rockers La Ley, Bebe and many others.

Absent from the roster were Anglo musical guests, who in the past were used to attract non-Latino viewers to the show.

Some had attributed the fall in ratings to the fact the Grammys had lately focused on more eclectic acts who were lesser-known to English-speaking audiences than in earlier telecasts when mainstream superstars like Ricky Martin dominated the show.

The shift to the more obscure reflects an overall trend in Latin music as artists have returned to their roots after the much ballyhooed "Latin Explosion" of 1999 proved a bust.

Reggaeton superstar Daddy Yankee's album, "Barrio Fino" (El Cartel) won a Grammy for best urban-music album, marking a win for the Spanish-language hip-hop hybrid genre, which has exploded commercially in the past year.

(c) Reuters