Unlike last year’s ceremony — which found Spanish phenom Rosalía sweeping several closely watched categories — no big winner emerged from this year’s telecast. But Lafourcade’s best album victory is especially notable because male artists tend to dominate that category — when Rosalía won best album last year, she became the first woman to do so in 13 years. This year, Rosalía won three awards (two of them with Ozuna for their reggaeton duet “Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi”), tying with Lafourcade and Carlos Vives for most wins of the night.
Record of the year went to Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz for “Contigo.” Residente, of Calle 13 fame, took home song of the year for his deeply personal track “René,” which reflects on the Puerto Rican rapper’s own mental health struggles.
Like other awards shows this year, the Latin Grammys shifted its format because of the coronavirus pandemic. While there were multiple hosts and some live performances, many artists appeared virtually from places in the world. That fit with the global theme of the evening — la música nos humaniza (music makes us human) — which was introduced by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda ahead of the show.
Per usual, many awards were announced before the telecast including best reggaeton performance, a new category unveiled in response to criticism over the award show’s treatment of the popular Latin hip-hop genre. Several reggaeton artists — including Daddy Yankee and Balvin — boycotted last year’s ceremony over repeated snubs.
It was Bad Bunny who took home the inaugural reggaeton trophy — for “Yo Perreo Sola," an addictive anthem about a woman who finds freedom in dancing alone in the club. But the superstar, who made history on the pop charts with his sophomore album “YHLQMDLG,” lost to Balvin in the best urban album category.
We’ve rounded up a few notable performances and moments from the show, with details on the major winners below.
A lively tribute to Héctor Lavoe
Ricardo Montaner, Ivy Queen, Jesús Navarro, Rauw Alejandro and Victor Manuelle kicked off the ceremony with a spirited tribute to Héctor Lavoe, the Puerto Rican salsa legend who died in 1993.
The performance benefited from the artists’ diverse backgrounds: Montaner is a Latin pop star who was born in Argentina but grew up in Venezuela; Navarro is the lead singer of the Mexican pop-rock band Reik; Manuelle, a co-host of this year’s ceremony, is a Puerto Rican salsa singer from the Bronx. Ivy Queen, a (reggaeton) legend in her own right, and Rauw Alejandro — an emerging urbano singer, who was up for best new artist — are both natives of Puerto Rico.
Yalitza Aparicio made her hosting debut
The awards show had a couple of host shake-ups in the days leading up to the ceremony. Last week, the Latin Recording Academy announced that actress Roselyn Sánchez — who was set to co-host for the fifth time — had suffered an injury and would be replaced by Yalitza Aparicio, the Indigenous Mexican actress who received an Oscar nod for her breakthrough role in Alfonso Cuarón’s 2018 film “Roma.”
And just one day before the ceremony, Mexican singer Carlos Rivera bowed out after being exposed to the coronavirus; Manuelle was named as his replacement, joining Aparicio and Ana Brenda Contreras.
Balvin performed “Rojo” — with a bleeding heart
“My heart breaks, and I pray for the world,” Balvin said in Spanish before performing “Rojo,” from his album “Colores.” A video montage highlighted various issues — the coronavirus pandemic, a mental health crisis and protests against inequality — as Balvin stood underneath a massive sculpture of praying hands. Toward the end of the performance, a dripping wet, bleeding heart appeared on his crisp white suit.
Bad Bunny performed in Puerto Rico
Bad Bunny wasn’t at the ceremony but staged an elaborate performance in his native San Juan. Introduced by Miranda, he opened with “Bichiyal,” which he performed after stepping out of a sleek white Bugatti, surrounded by women on motorcycles. He followed that up with “Si Veo a Tu Mamá.”
Bad Bunny wasn’t the only artist who performed remotely — Brazilian pop star Anitta performed a captivating rendition of the classic “Mas Que Nada” and her own recent single “Me Gusta” in Rio de Janeiro.
Pitbull honored front-line workers
Mr. 305 appeared with a band of front-line workers — literally — performing his pandemic-inspired anthem “I Believe That We Will Win” with first responders on bass, drums and guitar. As he concluded the performance, he and his dancers turned to applaud the band.
Album of the year
Natalia Lafourcade, “Un Canto por México, Vol. 1″
Song of the year
Best new artist
Record of the year
“Contigo” by Alejandro Sanz
Best pop song
Best reggaeton performance
Bad Bunny, “Yo Perreo Sola”
Best urban album
J Balvin, “Colores”
See the full list of winners here.