On a night when late flashy salsa queen Celia Cruz was honored with an all-star tribute, it was singer/songwriter Juanes who sparked the most fireworks at the fourth annual Latin Grammy awards.
During the show Wednesday night at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, the one-named Colombian sensation swept the major categories, winning in all five in which he was nominated.
Juanes took the big three: Record, Album and Song of the Year ("Es Por Ti"), as well as Best Rock Song ("Mala Gente") and Best Rock Solo Vocal album for Un Dia Normal, his second solo album. Already a four-time Latin Grammy winner before the program, Juanes, 31, became one of the most celebrated artists in the show's short history.
The program opened with a tribute to Cruz, who died in July at age 77 (see "Queen Of Salsa" Celia Cruz Dead"). The medley featured Gloria Estefan and Marc Anthony shouting Cruz's signature phrase, "azucar!," and singing a number of her most famous songs alongside such Latin legends as Willie Colón, Johnny Pacheco, Arturo Sandoval and Oscar D'Leon. Just last year, Cruz opened the show with one of her typically over-the-top performances before winning an award for Best Salsa Album.
Miami's Bacilos won Best Tropical Song for their humorous account of trying to make it, "Mi Primer Millon," which they performed on the broadcast. Band leader Sergio George came into the awards with six nominations, but was overshadowed by Juanes, though Bacilos also scored the Best Pop Album by a group for Caraluna.
Spain's curly-haired David Bisbal, who came to prominence last year after winning Spain's answer to "American Idol," "Operation Triumph," was named Best New Artist for his album Corazón Latino. Rockers Molotov won the Best Video Award for their clip "Frijolero," and Cuban guitarist and Buena Vista Social Club member Ibrahim Ferrer won the award for Best Traditional Tropical Album for Buenos Hermanos.
Though such crossover artists as Thalia, Shakira and Luis Miguel went home empty-handed, Enrique Iglesias represented, winning Best Male Pop Vocal Album for his Spanish-language effort, Quizás.
In addition to performances from Thalia, Molotov and Ricky Martin, the show aimed for a broader audience by pairing Latin stars with more mainstream acts, such as Juanes and the Black Eyed Peas and "American Idol" singer Kelly Clarkson with Brazil's Alexandre Pires.
For the second year in a row, the inclusion of Cuban artists in the show was shrouded in controversy. Though Miami — hosting the Latin Grammys for the first time — has a large Cuban population and 12 Cuban artists were nominated, a small contingent of protesters gathered outside the venue to demonstrate both against and for the nomination of artists from the communist country.
According to reports, none of the Cuban acts was able to obtain visas in time to attend the show. Cuban hip-hop band Orishas, who won the Best Rap/Hip Hop Album award for Emigrante and who now live in Europe, did not attend the show as a sign of solidarity with their fellow Cuban musicians.
Miami was to host the second edition of the show in 2001, but the event was moved to Los Angeles after anti-Castro demonstrators threatened to protest the show; it was ultimately canceled due to the 9-11 terror attacks (see "Latin Grammy Winners Will Get Trophies But No Ceremony").