Actor and occasional rapper Will Smith was the big surprise at Madrid’s 2nd Premios Principales music awards on Dec. 14, organized by Spain’s most popular national music radio network, Top 40 format Los 40 Principales.
The network belongs to media holding company Grupo Prisa’s radio division, Cadena SER, and the event was Webcast.
Smith was not scheduled to appear, but he was in Madrid for the weekend to promote his latest movie “I Am Legend.” Prisa took the opportunity to present him with an honorary Principales award for “having contributed to the diffusion of hip hop in Spain”. Smith sang an improvised one-minute rap on receiving the award, and received the evening’s biggest applause. He also presented Nelly Furtado with her award for best international artist not in Spanish.
The big winner was Mexico-based Spanish band La Quinta Estación, which won three of the five awards it was nominated for — best new group, best national album for “El Mundo Se Equivoca” (Sony BMG) and best national song for “Me Muero”.
Colombian star Juanes and Spanish singer Melendi each took two awards. Universal-signed Juanes won for international artist in Spanish and international song in Spanish, and EMI’s Melendi took out prizes for national solo artist and video.
Other winners were Spanish duo Pereza (best national group or duo), Mexico’s Maná (best tour), and Rihanna (international song not in Spanish). Latin America best artist awards went to Camila (Mexico), Sanalejo (Colombia), Malacates (Guatemala), Por Partes (Costa Rica), Miranda (Argentina), and Kudai (Chile).
The main live performances included Juanes, who was joined for two songs by Nelly Furtado, veteran band Hombres G, and La Quinta Estación. Other acts that performed one song were Tokio Hotel, El Sueño de Morfeo with Nek, Conchita, Motel, Natasha Bedingfield, Chenoa and Pereza.
The Premios Principales are the only international music awards in Spain and Latin America whose winners are voted by fans using SMS messages. Cadena SER said nearly 600,000 fans voted, including those in the six Latin American countries who voted for best national artist in their respective countries.
The gala at the 18,000-capacity Palacio de Deportes was screened live in Spain by Prisa’s PPV 40TV, for which audience-share is not available. It screened again more than 24 hours later on Prisa’s national TV station Cuatro, which reported an average 6.9% share during the 1am-3:30am broadcast.
Proceeds from the gala and SMS calls are destined for a project called “Music to rebuild Peru,” which was established following the earthquake that hit the South American country in August. The charity is managed by non-governmental organization Ayuda En Acción (Help In Action).