Crespo, Los Tri-O Pick Up Trophies At Latin Music Awards

Seventh annual ceremony more egalitarian than in prior years.

MIAMI — Merengue star Elvis Crespo and Colombian crooners Los Tri-O picked up two trophies each at the seventh annual Billboard Latin Music Awards ceremony held last night at the Jackie Gleason Theater here.

Previous ceremonies have been dominated by such hitmakers as Crespo, Selena or Shakira. But this year the awards were more democratically distributed, with Mexican singer Alejandro Fernandez the only other artist who won more than once.

However, because the awards had been announced some time earlier and were published in the current edition of Billboard, there were few surprises other than which female performer or presenter would sport the blonder hair. La vida loca, for better or worse, was little in evidence.

Crespo was deemed the Latin 50 Artist of the Year for his sales, while Los Tri-O's album of cover versions, Nuestro Amor, won awards for Regional Mexican Album of the Year in both the male and new-artist categories.

Singer/songwriter Marco Antonio Solís was inducted into the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame. Solís began his career as lead singer of the Bukis, with whom he pioneered the popular Mexican grupero sound. Solís combines pop, cumbia and norteña harmonies and rhythms in his romantic songs, and has been grupero's biggest star for most of his 30-year career.

The three-and-a-half-hour ceremony was conducted in Spanish, and performers made few concessions to the English-language pop market. Crossover star Marc Anthony performed two songs, one in Spanish, the other in English.

Nashville contemporary Christian singer Jaci Velasquez, on the other hand, continued her move into the Spanish market with a performance of her Grammy-nominated "Llegar a Ti."

Rather than appealing to the Anglo world, most of the performances — including those by Son by Four, Maná, Velasquez and Los Tri-O — resembled Beck–worthy hybrids of pop-en-español, classical strings, ballet-dance moves and traditionalist gestures. These performances seemed designed to further an image of European sophistication while affirming the performers' roots.

Pop singer Noelia kicked off the ceremony with a performance that threw together sparklers, video and dancers to create an utterly Madonna–like disco inferno perfectly suited to the event's South Beach setting.

Maná, the Latin world's most successful rock band, was awarded a special Spirit of Hope award for the conservation efforts they've made through their environmental organization Selva Negra.

The ceremony was taped for a May broadcast on the Spanish-language cable network Telemundo.

Billboard Latin Music Award winners:

Pop Album, Male

Amarte Es Un Placer, Luis Miguel

Pop Album, Group

MTV Unplugged, Maná

Pop Album, Female

Noelia, Noelia

Pop Album, New Artist

Amor, Familia y Respeto, A.B. Quintanilla y los Kumbia Kings

Pop Track

"Livin' la Vida Loca," Ricky Martin

Tropical/Salsa Album, Male

Pintame, Elvis Crespo

Tropical/Salsa Album, Female

Sola, India

Tropical/Salsa Album, Group

Gotcha! DLG

Tropical/Salsa Album, New Artist

Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer, Ibrahim Ferrer

Tropical/Salsa Track

"El Niagara en Bicicleta," Juan Luis Guerra 440

Regional Mexican Album

"Mi Verdad," Alejandro Férnandez

Regional Mexican Album, Male Group

Nuestra Amor, Los Tri-O

Regional Mexican Album, Female Group or Solo Artist

Corazón de Cristal, Priscila y Sus Balas de Plata

Regional Mexican Album, New Artist

Nuestro Amor, Los Tri-O

Regional Mexican Track

"Lágrimas," Los

Tigres Del Norte

Rock/Fusion Album

Fundamental, Puya

Hot Latin Track

"Loco," Alejandro Fernández

Rap Album

Los Grandes Exitos en Español, Cypress Hill

Hot Latin Track, Vocal Duo

"No Me Ames," Jennifer Lopez with Marc Anthony

Latin Dance Maxi-Single

"Santo Santo," Só Pra Contrariar & Gloria Estefan

Contemporary Latin Jazz Album

Los Hombres Calientes, Los Hombres Calientes

Billboard Latin 50 Artist

Elvis Crespo

Hot Latin Tracks Artist

Enrique Iglesias

Songwriter

Marco Antonio Solís

Producer

Pedro Ramirez

Publisher

Warner-Tamerlane

Publishing Corporation

Warner/Chappell