As much as fresh talent was invited to the Latin Grammy Awards on Thursday (Nov. 19), the big winners of the night showed some things haven’t changed. Despite having the most commercially successful Latin album in years with YHLQMDLG, Bad Bunny went home with one Latin Grammy in the reggaeton category. Similarly, out of his historic 13 nominations, J Balvin took home one award from the urban category.
The winners of the night’s big three awards, Song, Record, and Album of the Year, were Latin Grammy veterans who have previously taken home one or all the awards in these categories. Even with major hype behind YHLQMDLG, Mexican singer-songwriter Natalia Lafourcade took home Album of the Year for Un Canto Por México, Vol. 1. She is only the third woman in the history of the Latin Grammys to win the award following Colombian superstar Shakira and Spanish singer Rosalía.
There was also major buzz around Colombian reggaetonera Karol G’s monster hit “Tusa” with Nicki Minaj to take either Song or Record of the Year. A win would’ve been Minaj’s first ever Grammy, albeit a Latin Grammy. Instead Spanish singer-songwriter Alejandro Sanz and Calle 13’s Residente extended their leads as the most awarded artists in Latin Grammy history. Sanz’s cover of Joaquín Sabina’s “Contigo” took home Record of the Year and Residente’s reflective “René” won Song of the Year.
J Balvin became the most nominated artist in a single year with 13 nominations. He surprisingly took home Best Urban Music Album for Colores over Bad Bunny’s YHLQMDLG. Benito’s sole win was for Best Reggaeton Performance for his perreo-de-résistance, “Yo Perreo Sola.” Despite high odds of Anuel AA taking Best New Artist, he was edged out by Colombian singer Mike Bahía.
That’s a rundown of the night’s awards. Now, let’s get to our favorite part of the show: the performances! Here’s five of our favorite moments from last night’s Latin Grammy Awards.
J Balvin's Bleeding Heart
J Balvin opted to perform his emotional Colores single “Rojo.” The Colombian superstar took a page from Lady Gaga’s 2009 MTV Video Music Awards of “Paparazzi” when a bleeding heart started to drip out of his white suit. He sang the song under a pair of praying hands as words like “Esperanza” and “Cambio” flashed behind him on a big screen. “My heart is broken,” Balvin said at the beginning of the performance, and he was right about that.
Bad Bunny Goes Back in Time
Despite having the no. 1 song in the world with “Dákiti,” Bad Bunny surprisingly did not perform it. There was no Jhay Cortez surprise appearance. Instead he performed two songs from his album YHLQMDLG. First, he rapped “Bichiyal” in a white Bugatti, while cruising down Puerto Rico’s Teodoro Moscoso Bridge. Then Bad Bunny traveled back in time to sing a ’70s-inspired version of “Si Veo a Tu Mamá.” The finale notably took place at the Hiram Bithorn stadium in San Juan.
Karol G Brings 'Tusa' To Life
Previous Best New Artist winner Karol G opted to perform her smash hit “Tusa,” instead of her current single “Bichota.” The Colombian reggaetonera was not joined by hip-hop superstar Nicki Minaj, who recently gave birth to her first child last month. Karol still put on one of the night’s best performances when she brought to life the pink and lush music video on the Latin Grammy Awards stage. “Tusa” hit differently with this stunning take on the song.
Ivy Queen & Rauw Alejandro Salute Héctor Lavoe
The Latin Grammy Awards opened with a tribute to Puerto Rican legend Héctor Lavoe. The line-up included Argentine icon Ricardo Montaner, Nuyorican Víctor Manuelle, and Reik’s lead singer Jesús Navarro. The queen of reggaeton Ivy Queen stole the show when she strolled out holding hands with rising star Rauw Alejandro. Ivy and Rauw were living their best Boricua lives when they were singing and dancing to Lavoe’s salsa classic “El Cantante.”
Pitbull Brings the Frontline Workers To the Front
Pitbull’s performance of “I Believe That We Will Win” was inspiring with his band of emergency frontline workers. With the COVID-19 (or Coronavirus) cases hitting new highs across the country, the Miami-based rapper decided to salute those who are risking their lives to save lives. Pitbull’s empowering and hopeful message was just what the doctor ordered.