The seventh annual Latin Grammys were held last night at New York’s Madison Square Garden, jamming the street with an overflowing crowd of revelers and fans. The three-hour show was broadcast on Univision (English-only viewers with fancy TVs could activate closed captioning), and hosted by Lucero (pictured) and Victor Manuelle, who made his first appearance singing his opening monologue, Billy Crystal style.
The event was lavish and showbizzy, with plenty of cameo appearances, particularly in the musical performances. While some were interesting (like ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons showing up to play guitar behind Luis Fonsi), too many numbers were the usual overblown awards-show mash-ups. The reggaeton medley offered little to interest non-fans of the genre, and the hour-long (or maybe it just seemed that way) Shakira/Alejandro Sanz mini-set early on just felt passionless and all too expected. The sole musical highlight was an ultra-traditional performance by ranchera singer Ana Gabriel, backed by a Mexican mariachi band—she absolutely tore the walls down.
As far as who actually won, the results can be seen by going to grammy.com. Female artists did very well for themselves: Julieta Venegas, Natalia y La Forquetina, Marisa Monte and Olga Tañon all scored in their respective categories, and the female-fronted Spanish rock band La Oreja De Van Gogh took home a trophy, too. Veteran artists Café Tacuba, Bebo Valdes and Los Tigres Del Norte won awards, too. In general, it was a pretty good ceremony, and a nice capper to a good year for Latin music. But New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg should really refrain from attempting to speak Spanish in public.