We began the year asking what would be next for J Balvin, who has come to represent reggaeton’s presence on the music industry’s center stage over the past few years. This week, the performance lineup for the 2019 Grammys was announced, and the Colombian recording artist’s commercial dominance was again confirmed. Balvin, who is already nominated for Song of the Year for his guest verse alongside Bad Bunny on Cardi B’s “I Like It,” will join the awards night in a show opener with fellow 2019 nominee Young Thug, plus Ricky Martin, Arturo Sandoval, and Camila Cabello. The group joins headliners Dolly Parton and Katy Perry on this year’s lineup.
It’s far from the first time Balvin has been tapped by the Grammys franchise. He’s won three Latin Grammys, twice for Best Urban Album (2018’s Vibras and 2016’s Energía) and took home Best Urban Song for “Ay Vamos,” his 2015 track that became the first reggaeton song to hit a billion YouTube views. After breaking into major general nominations last year — he was up for no less than eight categories — he graced the Latin Grammys stage with Carla Morrison, delivering a Vibras medley that surprisingly highlighted some of the album’s lesser-known softer moments.
J Balvin’s presence on 2019’s biggest stages is becoming more of the rule than the exception. He’ll also be appearing at Coachella in the first solo performance by a reggaeton artist at the Southern California festival. His Grammy booking, along with Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s live version of “Despacito” at last year’s ceremony, hopefully indicates a growing tendency to put Latino artists in the awards show spotlight. Certainly, it offers the show an opportunity to re-start its oft-fraught relationship with artists from urbano genres.
The 2019 Grammys will air this Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBS.