If you’re following what went down at Premios Juventud’s first year in Puerto Rico, you’ve probably read all the highlights already. Like Farruko feeling weird about accepting his award for “Pepas” or how CNCO broke up after six years, announcing the news during their acceptance speech. But what about everything that goes on while cameras aren’t rolling? We were there, so we can tell you there was a lot going on that didn’t get televised.
While people from all over Latin America – and even Korea – were arriving on the island for the glamorous event, we couldn’t help but notice Puerto Rico’s surroundings. A lot of turmoil was happening during the week of Premios Juventud. On our first day on the island, the Uber driver told us that a protest was happening the next day because of their electricity issue. He said people can’t afford it, and the private company is to blame for their ongoing and frequent power outages.
But these happenings didn’t stop the excitement that led up to the big evening — not even the weather got in the way. During the red carpet, a light drizzle scattered upon glammed-up artists making their way through the cameras. It wasn’t until it started to pick up that they looked for cover.
What else didn’t you see? From experiencing an awkward crowd during Jenni Rivera’s emotional tribute and overhearing that K-pop group T1419 liked Puerto Rico’s cuisine, here are six things we saw and overheard at this year’s Premios Juventud week at the Coliseo José Miguel Agrelot De Puerto Rico on July 21.
Grupo Firme Has Hardcore Fans in Puerto Rico
Yes, aunque usted no lo crea. There are surprisingly a lot of Grupo Firme fans in Puerto Rico. The audience echoed their hit “Ya Supérame” during Premios Juventud’s intro. We asked some in the audience if Mexican Regional music was a thing there, to which they responded that it wasn’t, but that this specific song made it to the mainstream radio. They even talked about how uncommon it is for Mexican Regional music to even make it on the airwaves to begin with.
Well, Grupo Firme must’ve made an impression on our fellow Boricuas. During Premios Juventud week, we even overheard one of the hotel’s bartenders yell, “AY PAPACITO!” to Grupo Firme’s lead vocalist as he made his way surrounded by security guards to the hotel’s elevators. We love to see it!
PJ’s Audience Danced The “No Rompas Más” Steps to Bad Bunny
The love for Bad Bunny in Puerto Rico is amazing to experience. As you may know, before an award show starts, there’s always a hype man making sure everyone’s in high energy. Such was the case at Premios Juventud when the audience applauded and yelled when the hype man would approach them. But when a Bad Bunny song dropped, everyone immediately went wild and danced in unison. Although the global artist wasn’t present, the crowd did the line dance steps of Caballo Dorado’s “No Rompas Más” to Bad Bunny’s “Después de la Playa.” Who needs the original and overplayed “No Rompas Más” when we have Benito’s track now?
Maybe A Banda Tribute In Puerto Rico Wasn’t The Best Choice
Location is important. While Banda MS and Grupo Firme’s 10-year death anniversary tribute to Jenni Rivera might’ve looked “unforgettable baby,” in person, it felt different. Nobody was up on their feet and dancing to the absolutely lit homage of her hits, “No Llega el Olvido,” “Ya Lo Sé,” “Basta Ya,” and “Inolvidable.” But to some extent, it’s expected — Puerto Rico isn’t necessarily a hotbed for Jenni’s fans. Had it been in Los Angeles instead, you’d most likely see everyone on their feet, sing-cryingthe songs that made La Diva de la Banda one of the most reckoned with artists in the Regional Mexican scene.
We’ve seen this logistics challenge at other events, too. For example, the first Latine Verzuz in Los Angeles with DJ Nelson and Luny Tunes during the MLB All-Star week. LA isn’t historically your go-to reggaeton city. We do have underground parties here and there, but it’s not like other U.S. cities with a big Caribbean community like Miami or New York. Had it been there, the audience’s reaction would’ve probably been bigger and more excited.
But back to Jenni’s tribute. It felt even more awkward when her children received the Agent of Change award. When one of Rivera’s daughters mispronounced the word “hurricane” during the acceptance speech, we overheard the audience making fun of her broken Spanish. That was the cherry on top: although we’re all Latines, it’s unfortunate that prejudice exists among us.
While Banda MS and Grupo Firme’s production – from the stage to the musical arrangements – was great, a banda tribute just didn’t feel optimal in Puerto Rico. La Diva de La Banda deserved better, as far as fan reaction and location goes. But on a positive note, for those interested in Jenni’s upcoming music, during the red carpet, her children shared with Remezcla that they’re working with Banda MS’ Sergio Lizárraga and listeners will be “able to feel her, so deep in the music.”
T1419 Tried Mofongo & Loved It
The K-pop band was one of the most beloved artists on the red carpet due to their endearing fan and media interaction outside and inside the award show. The guys would periodically wave hello to the fans yelling their name outside, as well as pay maximum attention to the media outlets on the red carpet.
It seems like T1419 enjoyed their stay in Puerto Rico. Per their publicist, the members tried the island’s popular dish mofongo, and loved it. They were also taught how to dance salsa and even took a photo with DJ Playero at Wisin’s party. We also overheard that they wanted to meet Daddy Yankee, but because of his tour, it wasn’t possible. During the red carpet, the guys told Remezcla that they “really respect” the reggaeton legend and love his energy. As a final demonstration of their graciousness, the group even walked down the indoor arena to say hi to their fans before they left the award show.
The Power of Television Is Real
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Now, the televised spectacle was one thing, but what the in-person audience saw was clearly something different. Although this list focused on what wasn’t televised and what viewers might’ve missed out on, there was actually a lot that the in-person audience missed out on, too. For example, inside the arena, we didn’t get any information regarding which artists were winning. We only saw a couple of winners, including CNCO, J Balvin, the celebrities who received the Agent of Change awards make their way on stage.
Also, unlike other award shows, only certain artists were present and periodically rotated from the audience. And while most of the performances took place at “El Choli,” some of the most anticipated performances, like Daddy Yankee, actually didn’t take place there. It disappointed the audience about missing out on one of Puerto Rico’s biggest stars.
Influencers On The Red Carpet Making TikTok Videos
TikTok influencers are unstoppable. A handful of them were invited to this year’s Premios Juventud, where we spotted a couple of them making well, TikToks. We saw TikTok user Jesusnalgas doing the now viral “Bizcochito” meme, and TikTok user Jesusacevedox43 doing his twist on the viral “what are you listening to?” meme.
It’s no surprise since TikTok’s been changing the music industry. Per Business Insider, some artists are now garnering TikTok influencers for private listening sessions to hype up their music on the platform, so it’s not out of the blue to invite these creators to a red carpet to hype up the event up.