The MTV Video Music Awards came through with another Latinx-filled show Sunday night. Colombian superstar Maluma and Latin boyband CNCO were among the show’s main performers. Both acts also went home with a VMA award.
In recent years, the MTV VMAs have stepped up the Latin music representation. In 2018, there was a turning point when Maluma became the first artist to perform a Spanish-language song during the main broadcast, since Colombian icon Shakira and Puerto Rican reggaetoneros Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and Tego Caulderón in 2005. He crooned his global hit “Felices Los 4.” That year also marked the rebranding and reintroduction of the Latino Artist of the Year award as Best Latin. Nuyorican pop star Jennifer Lopez took home the Video Vanguard Award that night.
Last year’s VMAs embraced Latin music even more with Colombian reggaetonero J Balvin and Puerto Rican superstar Bad Bunny teaming up for a live performance of “Qué Pretendes” from their joint album Oasis. Spanish pop star Rosalía also performed a medley that included “Aute Cuture” and “Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi” with Boricua reggaetonero Ozuna. Later that night, she controversially won the awkwardly-titled Best Latin award for “Con Altura” with Balvin and Spanish producer El Guincho.
For the first virtual VMAs in New York City during this time of the Coronavirus (or COVID-19) pandemic, MTV made sure to keep the Latin music representation high. Here are five of our favorite moments from the show.
Maluma remains magical
Marking his second MTV VMA performance, Maluma performed his latest smash hit “Hawaí” from his Papi Juancho album. To be compliant with social distancing, his performance took place at NYC’s Skyline Drive-In. Maluma also brought the beach with him. He was surrounded by palm trees onstage as the audience watched from their cars. The charm that Maluma is known for translated well on screen during this dreamy performance.
Maluma + J Balvin win
In the stacked Best Latin category, Maluma and J Balvin emerged victorious with their stylish music video for “Qué Pena.” The parceros defeated heavy-hitters like Bad Bunny’s “Yo Perreo Sola” and Colombian reggaetonera Karol G’s “Tusa” featuring Nicki Minaj. During his acceptance speech, Maluma said, “I’m going to say this in Spanish though, because I feel very proud to be Latin.” Then he proceeded to thank Balvin, his family, and the fans en español.
CNCO breaks through
After performing “De Cero” at last year’s VMAs pre-show, CNCO made their main show debut this year with a live performance of “Beso.” Like Maluma before them, the quintet performed their new single at NYC’s Skyline Drive-In. Included in their choreography-heavy set was a centerstage dance break. By the end of the impressive performance, the guys were dancing on top of car roofs. CNCO also won their first VMA for Best Quarantine Performance for MTV Unplugged at Home.
Sofia Carson & Anthony Ramos rock the vote
While presenting a few of the night’s awards, the Latinx talent made sure to express the important message of voting in the upcoming elections. “Unmute your voice,” said Colombian-American actress and singer Sofia Carson at the podium. “Speak up for what you believe in. Register to vote because your vote is your voice.” Before presenting the Best Latin award, Nuyorican artist Anthony Ramos wore a face mask that said “VOTE” in large letters.
Hologram Nicky Jam with the Black Eyed Peas
As he recovers from COVID-19, J Balvin dropped out of performing at this year’s VMAs with the Black Eyed Peas. Instead of performing their hit “Ritmo (Bad Boys for Life)” without Balvin, the group opted for the song “Vida Loca” from their Latin album Translation. Featured artist Tyga came through for his guest verse, while a giant hologram of Nicky Jam was beamed-in for his part. Following the “I Gotta Feeling” finale, will.i.am said “Wakanda Forever” in a tribute to late actor Chadwick Boseman. He then shared the much-needed message of “Black Lives Matter.”