Mexican pop/rock duo Jesse & Joy ran away with the night as four-time winners of the Latin Grammy Awards, taking home trophies for best record, song and contemporary pop vocal album.
“Thanks to the best fans in the world,” said Jessie, who with his sister also won for best short form music video for “Me Voy.” “It feels incredible. We’ve not been at the Latin Grammys since 2007 so this feels like a great comeback.”
The 13th installment of Latin Grammys, once a struggling franchise that turned into gold once it relocated to Univision, featured some of today’s biggest names including global sensation Pitbull who opened and closed the show, initially rapping his way through his club-friendly radio hit “Don’t Stop The Party” as dozens of bikini-clad dancers circled him and ending with Sensato and Sa Noel on “Crazy People.”
Colombian pop-rock singer Juanes took home two awards for his MTV Unplugged set, including album of the year and best short form music video. When asked if he gets nervous before an awards show, he said that he definitely thinks about the entire process.
“I don’t suffer,” Juanes said. “You think maybe it’s there, maybe it’s not. These wins are much more than I imaged.”
Hosted by actress/singer Lucero and actor Cristian De La Fuente, the first round of awards included a prize for Spanish pop singer David Bisbal, who won for best pop traditional vocal album.
DJ collective 3BallMTY won the best new artist trophy in an acceptance speech that left the teen act in tears.
“We’re very happy and we really wanted this,” said a tearful Albert Presenda, aka DJ Otto. “We especially want to thank our families who have put up with so much of our traveling.”
Backstage, 3BallMTY’s Erick Rincon said that the group was going to celebrate the honor, but not in a major way until they got back home.
“We’re going to celebrate in a healthy way because we’re under age,” Rincon assured. “But when we get to Mexico — whoof! — we’re going to party.”
Some of the night’s musical highlights included Alejandro Sanz, who is currently on a major campaign to support his album “La Musica No Se Toca.” He performed “No Me Compares” and Brazilian star Michel Telo performed “Ai Si Eu Te Pego.” Jesse & Joy also performed their winning pop ballad “Corre!”
Singer/songwriter Lila Downs performed “Zapata Se Queda” featuring Toto La Mompsina and Celso Pina. She sang her song as a procession of men and women danced into the arena with Day of the Dead-inspired painted faces, many of them in the form of skeletons.
Other winners of the night included Pepe Aguilar who won for best ranchero album. The Mexican singer, who once was critical of the Latin Grammy process because there wasn’t enough regional Mexican representation, now sees things differently.
“I’m very proud to be part of this family of Latin music,” Aguilar said. “I’m seeing different genres… and it’s about the love for music. This goes to the fans and especially for my colleagues who make music possible. Viva Mexico.”
Other notable winners included Milly Quezada who won best contemporary tropical album for “Aqui Estoy Yo,” Fonseca’s Ilusion+ for best tropical fusion album — beating out Prince Royce — and Tucanes de Tijuana’s 365 Dias which won for best norteño album.
Earlier in the day during the Latin Grammy pre-telecast, more than 30 awards were given in a ceremony at the House of Blues at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino.
“This is dedicated to my family, children and everyone else,” a teary Gian Marco Zignago said after winning best singer/songwriter album of the year for “20 Años.” “This album is for all the university students from my country to let them know that there are no limits.”
Latin Grammys: Arturo Sandoval, Don Omar Among Early Winners
Another big winner was Cubanjazz trumpeter, pianist and composer Arturo Sandoval who took home two trophies for best Latin jazz album (“Dear Diz – Every Day I Think of You”) and best tango album (“Tango – Como Yo Te Siento”).
“I’d like to dedicate this award to my father who turned me on to the tango,” said Sandoval as he received his award. “He was a mechanic, but when he spoke about the tango he knew all of the melodies.”
Mexico’s Carla Morrison, one of the year’s most celebrated indie pop acts, took the prize for best alternative song for her emotionally-driven “Déjenme Llorar (Let Me Cry),” a song about breaking up, which has helped the singer/songwriter become a YouTube sensation. Later she also won for best alternative music album.
“This is also for all the kids who have broken hearts,” Morrison said.
Other winners during the pre-telecast included Dominican singer Juan Luis Guerra who won for producer of the year and who the previous night performed during the person of the year tribute to Brazilian singer/songwriter Caetano Veloso.
The best regional Mexican song award went to “El Mejor Perfume” written by Carlos Monroy and Adrian Pieragostino. Best banda album went to the popular La Arrolladora Banda el Limon de Rene Camacho for the album “Irreversible… 2012” and best salsa album went to Luis Enrique for “Soy y Sere.”
Best Pop/Rock album went to El Cuarteto De Nos’ Porfiado, best rock album went to Mexico’s Molotov for “Desde Rusia Con Amor” and best urban album went to Don Omar’s “MTO2 New Generation.”
Best Christian album went to Marcos Witt’s “25 Concierto Conmemorativo”, while best flamenco album went to Paco De Lucia’s En Vivo Conciertos España 2010.
The best Brazilian contemporary pop album went to Seu Jorge for Músicas Para Churrasco Vol. 1 and best Brazilian rock album went to Beto Lee’s Celebração & Sacrifício
For a complete list of winners, go to latingrammy.com .