Rosalia arrives at the 20th Latin Grammy Awards on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. (Photo by Eric Jamison/Invision/AP)

Alejandro Sanz, Rosalía, Residente win Latin Grammys

November 14, 2019 - 8:23 pm

The 2019 Latin Grammys kicked off its 20th anniversary with a festive performance highlighting various sounds from the genre as 20 artists, from Prince Royce to Anitta, united onstage to honor Latin music.

Fito Páez, Reik, Natalia Jiménez, Beto Cuevas and Calibre 50 were among the acts who performed popular songs from Latin greats like Celia Cruz, Juan Gabriel, Joan Sebastian and Soda Stereo on Thursday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Ricky Martin, who is hosting the show with Roselyn Sánchez and Paz Vega, helped close the performance by singing a few notes.

Juan Luis Guerra won the first televised award of the night — best contemporary/tropical fusion album for “Literal.”

He also won best tropical song for “Kitipun” when most of the awards were handed out in during the pre-telecast ceremony. Alejandro Sanz — the most-nominated act with eight — won two awards before the big show: best long form music video for “Lo Que Fui Es Lo Que Soy” and best pop song for the Camila Cabello-featured track “Mi Persona Favorita,” marking the first Latin Grammy win for the former Fifth Harmony singer (she has yet to win a Grammy).

“Mi Persona Favorita,” along with Sanz’s “No Tengo Nada,” are nominated for record of the year and song of the year. And Sanz will also compete for album of the year, an award he’s won three times.

Breakthrough performer Rosalía, who won two Latin Grammys last year and is behind Sanz this year with five nominations, was also an early winner. She beat out Sanz to win best contemporary pop vocal album for “El Mal Querer,” which is also nominated for album of the year. Rosalía’s album also won best engineered album and best recording package — honors not awarded to her, but to the engineers, mixers and art directors who worked on the project.

Tony Succar, Andrés Calamaro and Kany García each won two awards in the pre-telecast. Succar and Calamaro will compete with Sanz and Rosalía for album of the year. The other nominees are Luis Fonsi, Rubén Blades, Sebastián Yatra, Paula Arenas, Fonseca and Ximena Sariñana.

Puerto Rican rapper Residente, of the group Calle 13, extended his record as the most decorated artist in the history of the Latin Grammys to 25 wins when he won best short form music video for “Banana Papaya.”

Residente will also perform at the show, airing live on Univision. Other performers include Bad Bunny and Ozuna — uber-popular Latin trap and reggaeton artists who were dissed in top categories like album, song and record of the year, and restricted to nominations in the urban categories.

The Latin Grammys received backlash for dismissing those performers, as well as J Balvin, Daddy Yankee, Maluma and Nicky Jam. The omissions were especially surprising since the Latin Grammys have 10 nominees for its top categories, and the popular artists have been hugely successful, dominating on streaming services, selling out arenas like Madison Square Garden, racking in millions of YouTube views and topping the charts with multiple songs.

When the nominations were released in September, Balvin posted a photo of the Grammy logo with a large red "X'' across it on Instagram. Words on the image read in Spanish: "Without reggaeton, there's no Latin Grammys."

Balvin, however, did receive two nominations — his collaborations with Rosalía ("Con Altura") and De La Ghetto ("Caliente") makes him a double nominee for best urban song, which will be presented during the live show.

Best urban music album, where Bad Bunny’s debut album is nominated, will also be presented during the live show. Pedro Capó and Farruko’s “Calma (Remix)” won best urban fusion/performance, beating out hit songs from Daddy Yankee and Bad Bunny.

Others set to perform at the show include Fonsi, Farruko, Alicia Keys and Miguel. Juanes, who was named the Latin Recording Academy's 2019 Person of the Year, will sing a medley of his hits. And Mexican pop singer Alejandro Fernández will perform with his father Vicente Fernández and his son Alex Fernández.

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