Carlos Santana, P.O.D. Premiere New Song At Latin Grammys

Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz is evening's big winner with three awards.

Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz, who performed with Destiny’s Child at the Grammys in February, was the big winner Wednesday at the Latin version of the prestigious awards.

Sanz took home the top three awards: Album of the Year for MTV Unplugged and Record of the Year and Song of the Year, a songwriting award, for “Y Solo Se Me Ocurre Amarte.”

The flamenco-influenced pop star won four Latin Grammys in 2001, but last year’s ceremony, scheduled for September 11, was canceled and awards were handed out a press conference the following month (see “Latin Grammys Honor Christina’s Spanish, Ricky’s Moves” ).

This year’s ceremony, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, was an emotional one, with presenter Gloria Estefan addressing last year’s tragedy. “This year … we honor those we lost and those that helped us get back on our feet,” she said. (Click here for photos from the Latin Grammys .)

Wednesday’s show was not without controversy, however, as demonstrators gathered outside the gala to protest the U.S. government for denying visas to the Cuban nominees, including jazz pianist Chucho Valdés, who won his first Grammy after decades making music.

Marc Anthony, who lost in the Best Salsa Album category, opened the show with a rousing performing of “Celos.” Other highlights included Carlos Santana and P.O.D. premiering their patriotic anthem, “America,” and Nelly Furtado dueting with Colombian rocker Juanes on his Song of the Year-nominated “A Dios Le Pido.”

“It’s a beautiful spiritual song,” Furtado said before the show. “It’s kind of like a prayer, a little bit of a love song. The lyrics are beautiful. ‘And I ask from God that if I ever die/ I want to die of love/ And if I ever fall in love/ That I fall in love with you.’ It’s very passionate. It kind of gets back to the beauty of life, you know, the simple things.”

Shakira, a standout performer at the MTV Video Music Awards last month, took the stage twice — once to perform and once to accept the Video of the Year award for “Suerte,” the Spanish version of her English-language hit “Whenever, Wherever.” “Excuse me, but I gotta talk to my people in Spanish,” she began, before switching languages.

In general, the show, broadcast live on CBS, was an even blend of English and Spanish. To qualify for a Latin Grammy, a recording must be at least 51 percent in Spanish or Portuguese.

Other winners Wednesday included Juanes for Best Rock Song and Colombia’s Carlos Vives, who led all nominees with six, for Best Tropical Album and Best Tropical Song.

For a look back at previous big Grammy winners, red carpet photos and much more, visit our Grammy News Archive.