Selena Tribute, Corridos Take Center Stage: 5 Highlights from Premios Juventud 2020

Lead Photo: Photo courtesy of Premios Juventud.
Photo courtesy of Premios Juventud.
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The first Premios Juventud in the era of the novel Coronavirus (or COVID-19) was held last night in Hollywood, Fla. The show went off without a hitch, but there was a bit of awkwardness along the way from the stars getting used to the social distancing measures.

Puerto Rican icon Ivy Queen presented the first award of the night, La Canción Más Pegajosa, to Karol G for “Tusa” from a distance. In giving her props to Ivy Queen from the podium, there was a bit of hesitation from the Colombian reggaetonera. “It’s because this is all new that we haven’t had the chance to hug each other up close,” she said. The multiple hosts were six-feet apart on the stage, but there was a moment where one got too close to the other. “Hey, social distancing!” they quipped.

Most of the performances were done live in the venue to a limited audience of the stars and their teams. Some performances were pre-recorded and played for the show. Holograms of Becky G and Ricky Martin were beamed-in when they accepted their Agents of Change awards.

The reality of COVID-19 hit when J Balvin won the Video With a Purpose award for “Rojo.” In his pre-recorded speech, the Colombian reggaetonero revealed that he was recovering from the virus. “My message to those who follow me, young fans, and people in general is to take care,” he said. “This isn’t a joke. The virus is real and it’s dangerous.”

Puerto Rican superstar Bad Bunny was the big winner of the night with eight awards. J Balvin and Karol G followed with five awards each. Here’s five of our favorite moments from the award show.

Corridos Tumbados Take Center Stage

Rising Mexican star Natanael Cano made his Premios Juventud debut. He put his brand of corridos tumbados on a world stage with a live medley of hits. While the hype around him was running high, Cano reminded viewers at home that at his core he’s just a guy with his guitar. He sang “Amor Tumbado,” “Soy El Diablo,” and the Latin trap-leaning “Arriba.” Cano swept all three awards that he was nominated for. Not bad for his first time at PJ.

Selena Commemorated with a Live Tribute

To commemorate 25 years since the passing of Selena, women who have been inspired by the Tex-Mex queen performed her biggest hits live. Karol G introduced the tribute with a few touching words before Mexican pop star Danna Paola kicked things off with “Como La Flor.” Dominican reggaetonera Natti Natasha was a spitting image of Selena while performing “La Carcacha” and “Techno Cumbia.” Former Fifth Harmony member Ally Brooke followed with “Amor Prohibido” and Colombian artist Greeicy sang “Baila Esta Cumbia.” The four women came together for a grand “Fotos y Recuerdos” finale.

Bob Marley's Message Lives On

With the world facing a pandemic and racial inequities coming to light, the kids of Jamaican legend Bob Marley projected their father’s message of “One Love” to the universe. Skip and Cedella Marley united with several Latin pop stars for a special Premios Juventud remix of the classic. Singer-songwriters like Pedro Capó, Camilo, Kany García, and Rauw Alejandro joined the performance with new Spanish-language lyrics. Puerto Rican rapper Farruko also dropped a fire verse during the performance. Their bilingual call for change was a beautiful moment.

Rafa Pabön Reminds Us #BlackLivesMatter

Puerto Rican rapper Rafa Pabön took that call for change further by performing “Sin Aire,” his song highlighting the police brutality and injustice that Black and Afro-Latinx communities face. The song goes into detail about George Floyd’s fatal last moments with the police. As a luminary of the Conciencia Collective, Pabön reminded the Latinx folks watching that we must continue to stand in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. “Zero tolerance for racism and zero tolerance for discrimination,” he said at the end of his performance (that also included his song “Mírala”).

A Crash Course on Celia Cruz

After Premios Juventud’s target audience was treated to performances like Latin pop group CNCO’s visually stunning performance of “Honey Boo” and Rauw Alejandro and Camilo’s viral TikTok hit “Tattoo,” the kids were given a crash course on the greatness of Cuban legend Celia Cruz. As the show’s grand finale, KYEN?ES?, an artist shrouded in mystery, delivered a medley of Cruz’s greatest hits like “La Vida Es Un Carnaval,” “La Negra Tiene Tumbao,” and “Rie y Llora.” This was a nice taste of azúcar as we await Cruz’s virtual performance with Ivy Queen in October.