The international entertainment world had one of its great events on Thursday night: the Latin Grammys, the non-Anglo-Saxon subsidiary of the most important awards in the recording industry in terms of projection, business and visibility. Paz Vega, Dana Paola, Sebastián Yatra and Roselyn Sánchez were the presenters at a gala in which Natalia Lafourcade, Karol G, Bizarrap and Shakira each took home three statuettes.
The starter was offered to Rosalía. Always willing to strike a chord, she chose a rendition of 'Se nos roto el amor', the great song by Manuel Alejandro sublimated by Rocío Jurado. Surrounded by several groups of flamingos wrapped in plastic, she interpreted the song with a restraint that she has not accustomed us to lately. Many, no doubt, will see it as a clear reference to her past romantic relationships. Shortly after, Antonio Banderas made a harangue in favor of Andalusia as a land of great masters, forgetting a little, it must be said, about Andalusian women. With Rosalía and Banderas, the Spanish welcome to the awards is embroidered.
The prizes begin to be awarded. Shakira and Bizarrap won the best pop song with the session they shared, that unforgettable exercise in poetic revenge where Piqué's in-laws did not come out well at all. Both had already won other awards at the previous gala (Bizarrap with Quevedo, Shakira with Karol G). Later, Alejandro Sanz - after a bad performance - performed 'Corazón partío' for a very dedicated audience.
After the performances of Juanes and Sebastián Yatra, Shakira took the stage. The choice of the ballad ('Acróstico') was a bit weak for the immense expectation there was. Laura Pausini, on the other hand, gave a powerful performance, an emotional volcano with that little Italian-tacky touch that fills her songs and those of her compatriots with dynamics. The Colombian Karol G was in charge of reading a few words from her and giving her the recognition as Person of the Year 2023. The acceptance speech was also to frame: "I am the most Latin Italian in the entire fucking world!"
Niña Pastori won her fifth award at the Latin Grammys, claiming with her award for best flamenco album a style "that is not for the majority, like others, but is for the category." In the end, she will be one of the only Spaniards to take something home. David Bisbal and Paz Vega had introduced the category with a very brief tribute - too decaffeinated - to some great flamenco figures of universal acclaim.
More "salseo" arrived: if Rosalía had chosen the most painful song of the Jury, Rauw Alejandro took the stage within a circle of fire choosing 'Se fue' by Laura Pausini. All subtleties. But then it becomes reggaeton and later a rock version with Juanes, by the way, improving the medley. After a forgettable Andrea Bocelli, an unexpected award: Julieta Venegas won the best pop album, beating Pablo Alborán or Camilo.
Alejandro Sanz and Manuel Abud, president of the Academy, awarded an honorary award to Antonio Banderas, knowing that the acceptance speech was going to be elegant, with some surprises and brief, well-measured outbursts. We knew that Banderas was going to be good at it. Maluma followed with another medley mixing bachata, salsa and more, all within his new purple suit from which he seems inseparable.
The award for best urban music album falls and a favorite, very loved in Spain, wins: Karol G. Another bomb: Bizarrap's performance manages to vindicate several of his hits while paying tribute to Argentina (something forgotten until now at the gala), passing 'Quédate' by a tango singer and bandoneon player... until Shakira steals the stage completely to sing their joint song with a large group of dancers. There is less and less left. A very emotional Joaquina collects her award from Carlos Vives, the 19-year-old Venezuelan singer is the best new artist of this edition. The Spanish Borja lost his chance.
For the viewer from Spain, things begin to take forever. The fact that for each award there are two or three performances and advertising breaks (softened on RTVE with micro-interviews) is beginning to weigh. But for the public on the other side of the Atlantic it is not yet that late. There are not very memorable performances by Pablo Alborán, Manu Carrasco and even a stellar appearance by Sergio Ramos. They prelude another great award: Bizarrap, in its collaboration with Shakira, wins the best song of the year. As a moment ago, Shakira is more charismatic than the photosensitive Argentine and she steals all the attention in the acceptance speech.
Quite the opposite of the Mexican Natalia Lafourcade, who, winning the best recording of the year, the jackpot, was nowhere to be found and did not collect it in person. It was a big surprise, since she overtook Shakira and Rosalía, having won two awards in other categories at the previous gala. The album's producer, Adán Jodorowsky (Alejandro Jodorowsky's son) picked it up instead with perfect sympathy. The last award, the best album of the year, went to Karol G and her 'Tomorrow will be beautiful', a truly round night for the Colombian.
What was becoming increasingly clear was consummated: there are almost no triumphs for Spanish artists. Quevedo (best urban song), Niña Pastori (who competed only with other Spaniards in the flamenco category) and the makers of the Nathy Peluso video clip are among the few Spaniards who took home something.
The première, or previous gala
The gala before the big gala, where almost fifty awards were distributed starting at eight in the afternoon, started with a tribute to flamenco with the five candidates in that category performing. Manuel Abud, CEO of the Latin Grammys, stressed that it was international flamenco day, and made a first introduction with personality and grace. Some young Spanish talents, such as Valeria Castro or Arde Bogotá, were left without a statuette, in addition to the veteran Bunbury.
Juanes (best pop-rock album), Bizarrap and Quevedo (best urban song), and Nathy Peluso (best short video clip) did appear on stage, as well as Carlos Vives, Molotov and Natalia Lafourcade, who won two awards that would later be three. Meanwhile, other artists won awards and did not collect them because they were still on the red carpet, scheduled simultaneously. This separation into two galas of different categories is quite understandable, because more than fifty had to be distributed.
The rhythm was not bad, they managed to make it entertaining, with small technical errors in production and coordination that can be forgiven without much problem, and a microphone that was too low that has forced many artists to bend down a bit. Miguel Ángel Muñoz was one of the presenters of this part of the gala, a ten in affability.
A week full of events
One of the parallel activities this week was the 'Person of the Year' gala, an award given to all the great giants in the history of Latin music (Rubén Blades, Caetano Veloso, Gloria Estefan...). This year, for the first time, an Italian was chosen: Laura Pausini. On Wednesday, the artist had a true night to remember, where twenty top-level artists paid tribute to her career and sang versions of many of her songs. The tears were abundant on the part of Pausini, who has sold more than seventy million records with many hits in Spanish. There have been other events during the week, such as the Leading Ladies of Entertainment gala or the Best New Artist Showcase, in the most picturesque locations in the city.
The Latin Grammys emerged as a response to the unstoppable international success of Latin music (a name that comes from the United States), for which a new 'Latin' academy had to be created that includes Spain and Portugal, in addition to all American countries. , From north to south. These efforts crystallized in 2000 with the first gala, four decades after the Anglo-Saxon Grammys started. The winners of the night were Carlos Santana and the Mexicans Maná, with that 'Corazón espinado'.
For all this to happen, a lot of diplomacy and negotiation has been needed. With a first stop in Seville, it seems that an infinite tour begins that will take these awards around the world, like the Olympic Games or the soccer World Cup. The return on investment is expected to be excellent, with more than ten thousand people traveling to the city of Guadalquivir, filling the restaurants and, above all, the hotel spaces. This is one of the challenges for future venues of these awards, to be able to ensure this capacity, a large auditorium - it will be in the Palace of Congresses and Exhibitions -, sufficient air connections and certain minimum security conditions.
The Junta de Andalucía has negotiated and won in this international race, which in the future could become truly competitive and force cities to make great sacrifices to enthrall the organization. The Moreno Bonilla government, which will finance the majority of the cost with the help of European funds, successfully negotiated with more actors: with the sponsoring companies, with the previous City Council, which until May was socialist, and with RTVE.