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    Tuesday, December 06, 2022

    Latin Grammys 2022: Winner's list and best and worst moments

    Three years after her international breakout "El Mal Querer" won album of the year at the 2019 Latin Grammys, Spanish singer Rosalía pulled off another stunning victory Thursday, taking home the night's most prestigious prize for her genre-bending third album,"Motomami." In a tearful acceptance speech at the 23rd annual ceremony, the Barcelona native said the critically acclaimed project was the one she "had to fight the most to make."

    It was an upset only in the sense that going into the ceremony, it looked as if Puerto Rican superstar Bad Bunny - the most nominated artist at this year's event - was poised for a sweep. The Latin trap visionary - whose chart-topping album "Un Verano Sin Ti" is the most streamed album of the year - wasn't at the awards show, as he's slated to perform in Medellín, Colombia, on Friday. Ultimately, the 28-year-old rapper, whose real name is Benito Martínez Ocasio, won five awards in the show's rap and hip-hop categories.

    It was Uruguayan musician Jorge Drexler who took the most trophies at the awards show, sharing two of the most coveted prizes - record and song of the year - with Spanish rapper C. Tangana. Drexler's trophy haul also included best pop song (for "La Guerrilla De La Concordia") in a tie with Sebastián Yatra's "Tacones Rojos," best alternative song, best singer-songwriter album and best Portuguese-language song.

    Performers at the ceremony, which was broadcast on Univision from Las Vegas's Michelob Ultra Arena, included Yatra, Rosalía, Ángela Aguilar, Rauw Alejandro, Karol G, and Romeo Santos. The telecast was hosted by Mexican singer Thalía, Brazilian pop star Anitta, Puerto Rican crooner Luis Fonsi and Italian musician Laura Pausini.

    The true highlight of the ceremony was the moment 95-year-old Angela Alvarez won best new artist, in a tie with Mexican singer Silvana Estrada. Read about her speech and other memorable moments; a list of the main category winners follows.

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    BEST

    The star-studded show opener

    Fonsi, Pausini and Thalía, joined by Mexican duo Sin Bandera, led a tribute to the Latin Recording Academy's "Person of the Year" Marco Antonio Solís of Los Bukis fame. The tribute also featured Gente de Zona, the Cuban duo who appeared on the 2021 ceremony's song of the year - the protest anthem "Patria y Vida." They were joined by Cuban singer Aymée Nuviola and Goyo, of the Colombian hip-hop trio Chocquibtown.

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    Rauw Alejandro's space-forward medley

    The Puerto Rican singer gave one of the best performances of the night sampling from his latest album, "Saturno," while looking like a futuristic Sherlock Holmes in an oversize metallic trench coat and statement sunglasses.

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    A 95-year-old grandmother's tie for best new artist

    Cuban native Angela Alvarez, 95, tied for best new artist alongside Mexican singer Silvana Estrada, 25, triumphing in a dynamic category whose youngest contender Yahritza Martinez of Yahritza y su Esencia is still in her teens. Alvarez gave one of the night's best speeches, thanking the Recording Academy "and all those that have helped me arrive at this moment." It's a group that includes Cuban American actor Andy Garcia, who produced and narrated a documentary about Alvarez's life, and her grandson, composer Carlos José Alvarez, who began recording the songs Alvarez had previously only performed for family.

    "I want to dedicate this award to God and to my beloved country, Cuba, which I will never be able to forget," Alvarez said in her poignant acceptance speech. "To those who have not fulfilled their dream, although life is difficult, there is always a way out and with faith and love you can achieve it."

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    Rauw and Rosalia as power couple

    Fans of the Barcelona native were treated to definitive proof her relationship with fellow Latin pop star Rauw Alejandro - the second-most nominated artist this year, with eight nods - is going strong. If their playful grinding during Rosalia's performance of "Despechá" didn't confirm it, her acceptance speech shout-out to "the love of my life" certainly did.

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    The hosts

    Four people sharing hosting duties could mean too many cooks in the kitchen, but the Latin Grammys favor multiple hosts, and it rarely seems too crowded. This year's team struck a balance with the low-key Fonsi and Pausini opposite Anitta and Thalía, who announced upcoming acts with the enthusiasm of Oprah Winfrey giving everyone a new car.

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    Sebastián Yatra and John Legend perform "Tacones Rojos" ("Red Heels")

    The cabaret-inspired performance by Yatra, also nominated for eight awards at Thursday's ceremony, was as charming as the Colombian singer and his EGOT collaborator on the "Tacones Rojos" remix.

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    Christina Aguilera performed with Christian Nodal

    The pop star won best traditional vocal album for "Aguilera," which marked her hotly anticipated return to Latin music (decades after she released her first Spanish-language album, "Mi Reflejo"). Aguilera teamed up for a powerhouse mariachi duet with Mexican singer Christian Nodal, who later took home best ranchero/mariachi album for "EP #1 Forajido."

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    Anitta's nod to "Vai Malandra"

    The Brazilian singer took a brief break from her co-hosting duties to perform a medley that incorporated "Vai Malandra," the 2017 hit that put the record of the year nominee on the international map.

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    WORST

    The "urban" categories

    Bad Bunny wasn't shut out of the main categories, exactly. Rosalía (who collaborated with the rapper on the 2020 hit "La Noche de Anoche") was a formidable contender in the album of the year category, which also included Bomba Estéreo's "Deja," Marc Anthony's "Pa'lla Voy" and Yatra's "Dharma." And though Drexler, another album of the year nominee, seemed surprised to win both record and song of the year, those prestigious categories could have gone to a range of artists including Rosalía, Alejandro and Aguilera.

    But there is a certain dissonance in Bad Bunny - whose album is the year's biggest by several measures - not winning in any of the ceremony's major categories. This year's results are representative of an ongoing problem that prompted several reggaeton artists, including Daddy Yankee, to boycott the ceremony in protest of its treatment of chart-topping reggaeton artists, who have often been relegated to genre categories. The Latin Recording Academy added new hip-hop categories in recent years, but what does it mean if genre-transcending artists such as Bad Bunny are regularly sidelined from the main categories?

    That said, the Latin Grammys have been light-years ahead of the so-dubbed "gringo Grammys" when it comes to Latin artists across genres (see: Anitta, who is up for best new artist at a ceremony she'll attend months after co-hosting and performing at the Latin Grammys). Incidentally, the other Grammys ceremony - which has its own fraught history with hip-hop artists and still has a long way to go in terms of recognizing musical talent on a global scale - announced Bad Bunny as one of the nominees for album of the year at the ceremony, which will be held on Feb. 5.

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    MAIN CATEGORY WINNERS

    Album of the year: "Motomami," Rosalía

    Song of the year: "Tocarte," Jorge Drexler and C. Tangana

    Best new artist: Angela Alvarez; Silvana Estrada

    Record of the year: "Tocarte," Jorge Drexler and C. Tangana

    Best pop song: "Tacones Rojos," Sebastián Yatra; Jorge Drexler "La Guerrilla De La Concordia"

    Best reggaeton performance: "Lo Siento BB:/," Bad Bunny, Tainy, Julieta Venegas

    Best urban fusion performance: "Titi Me Preguntó," Bad Bunny

    Best urban album: "Un Verano Sin Ti," Bad Bunny

    Best hip-hop/rap song: "De Museo," Bad Bunny

    Best salsa album: "Pa'lla Voy," Marc Anthony