LAS VEGAS – Uruguayan Jorge Drexler owned the Latin Grammys on Thursday, picking up three awards including song and record of the year for "Telephony" at a ceremony where other stars used their platform to promote messages of unity and justice.
Drexler also won best singer-songwriter album with "Salvavidas de Hielo." Spanish sensation Rosalia followed him with two awards, best urban fusion / performance and best alternative song, for the flamenco and trap hit "Malamente."
"I do not know what to say," Drexler said when he received the last award of the night for "Telephony," which he also played during the ceremony with Mon Laferte, Natalia Lafourcade and David Aguilar, all playing string instruments.
Rosalia said she owed her success to flamenco, which she described as her "foundation," and dedicated her awards to her brother and other women in the music industry who "made her take strength."
"I'm not going to stop fighting until I see the same number of men and women in the studio," she said. "Without them, I would not be here."
Colombian reggaeton star J Balvin walked the red carpet as the evening's nominations leader with eight nods, but took home only the trophy for best urban music album.
The Latin Grammys are known as awards show where artists take political stands. During the show and in backstage interviews, artists alluded to such issues as immigration and violence affecting several countries.
"In these times of crisis, art becomes a medium that reminds us of the urgency of justice and the need to find solutions that invite unity … tolerance and inclusion," host Ana de la Reguera said before northern group Caliber 50 performed "Corrido of Juanito, "which tells the story of a man who immigrated to the US
Mexican rock band Mana, honored Wednesday as the Latin Recording Academy's Person of the Year, also took the stage performing a medley that included its hits "Shared Lips" and "Dizzy in a Bar."
The academy bestowed the honor on the band for its achievements and contributions to the Latin community and support of environmental protection and human rights causes.
"We will continue fighting for the rights of immigrants who have made this country great in the last century," lead singer Fher Olvera said, referring to the United States. "They were the difference for this country to be as big as it is. We will fight for Mother Earth, we will fight for women's rights and we will continue fighting to make songs from the heart and soul. "
The band took the opportunity to announce that after two years without playing live, they will start a world tour next year.
Marc Anthony, Will Smith and Bad Bunny kicked off the night with a performance of their racy single "This Rico."
Laura Pausini won for best traditional pop vocal album with "Make You Feel," while the trophy for best salsa album was given to Victor Manuelle with "25/7."
"Daddy, this is for you," Manuelle said looking up after mentioning his father's death earlier this year.
The coveted Latin Grammy for best new artist went to Karol G. She defeated nine other artists, including Angela Aguilar, Anaadi, David Aguilar and Alex Ferreira.
Most of the night's awards were presented during a pre-telecast ceremony. Among those who walked away with trophies were Lafourcade for best folk album with "Musas (a homage to Latin American folklore held by Los Macorinos), Vol. 2, "Aterciopelados for best alternative album with" Claroscura "- their first album in a decade – and Linda Briceño, who became the first woman to be honored as producer of the year.
"I am very grateful," Lafourcade said after receiving her trophy. "I want to dedicate this to Mexico, to Latin America, to all our brothers who are arriving to Mexico, who come from many places, who are going through difficult times. Our hearts with you. "
Absent from the ceremony, the extremely private Luis Miguel won the award for album of the year with "Mexico forever!" Defeating an eclectic group of established and rising artists that included Balvin, Pablo Alboran ("Prometheus"), Drexler (" Lifeguards of ice "), Kany García (" I am myself "), Lafourcade (" Musas, a tribute to Latin American folklore in nuns of Los Macorinos, Vol. 2 "), and Rozalen (" When the river sounds … ") , among others.
After Thalia revealed Luis Miguel as the winner, the crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena had mixed reactions, with some booing and whistling because the star did not pick up his trophy.
"He is not here with us but … hey, hey, calm down! I'm going to personally deliver it to him, "she said with a wink, which served to appease the audience and generate an ovation.
The 19th Latin Grammys Awards ceremony was broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Ratner-Arias reported from New York.
Follow Regina Garcia Cano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reginagarciakNO and Sigal Ratner-Arias at https://twitter.com/sigalratner.
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