Juan Luis Guerra was the big winner at the Latin Grammy Awards tonight (Nov. 8) at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay, taking home honors for album of the year, song of the year, record of the year, tropical song and best merengue album, for his single and album "La Llave De Mi Corazon."

The bachata icon was also this year's Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year.

After repeatedly thanking his wife onstage, Guerra told reporters backstage, "I believe very much in tropical music and in the genres I work with -- salsa, merengue and bachata. I think this album will give a push to merengue in particular. It's a genre that is here to stay."

Ricky Martin won for best male pop vocal album for his critically acclaimed "MTV Unplugged" album and for best long-form music video for his "Unplugged" special. Laura Pausini's "Yo Canto" won for best female pop vocal album. Backstage, Martin thanked his producer with an exclamation of "Tommy Torres, I love you!"

Calle 13 won best urban album ("Residente o Visitante") and best urban song, bringing down the house with a raucous performance of its winning track with Orishas, "Pal Norte," accompanied by the cast of Las Vegas' "Stomp Out Loud." The song award went to Calle 13 and Panasuyo.

After the wins, Calle 13's rapper/lyricist Residente (Rene Perez) said of
the group's risque "Residente o Visitante," "We wanted to make an album that was transgressive but at the same time conscientious."

The telecast was a virtual advertisement for Las Vegas, a growing market for Latin headliners. The Latin Grammys paired several Vegas acts with nominees, opening with Martin performing his hits "Lola" and "La Bomba" accompanied by the Blue Man Group.

The show this year largely de-emphasized performance collaborations save for a few, such as Pausini's duet with Andrea Bocelli.

Best pop album by a group with vocal went to breakout act La Quinta Estacion for its album "El Mundo Se Equivoca." Best new artist was Mexican brother/sister duo Jesse & Joy. Aterciopelados won best alternative album for "Oye."

Sebastian Krys dedicated his producer of the year award -- his first, despite three previous nominations -- to the late singer/songwriter Soraya, “Who taught me the meaning of life and music,” and with whom he had collaborated prior to her death from breast cancer last year.

One of the night’s early surprises was a pair of wins for Venezuelan group Voz Veis, which became the first-ever Latin Grammy winner from Venezuela. Their victories in the categories of short-form music video (for “Ven a Mi Casa Esta Navidad”) and Latin children’s album (for “Como Se Llega a Belen”) were accompanied by other Venezuelan victories: Oscar D’Leon for best contemporary tropical album (“Fuzionando”) and Panasuyo's for best urban song with Calle 13, "Pal Norte."

Argentina’s Fito Paez won best solo rock vocal album for “El Mundo Cabe En Una Cancion.” Rock legends Gustavo Cerati and Manu Chao were honored with awards for best rock and best alternative song, respectively, for “La Excepcion” and “Me Llaman Calle.” Neither was present to accept their awards.

Best banda album went to Los Horoscopos de Durango for "Desatados," vocalist Vicky Terrazas' first production.

In addition to Guerra's honors, his album won for best engineered album, an award that went to engineers Allan Leschhorn, Luis Mansilla, Ronnie Torres and Adam Ayan.

The eighth annual Latin Grammys were carried live on the Univision Network.

Additional reporting by Leila Cobo, Las Vegas