At Wednesday’s 3rd annual Latin Grammy Awards, it paid to be Colombian. Shakira, who also performed on the telecast, won the Best Video award for ”Suerte,” the Spanish-language version of her hit ”Whenever, Wherever.” Colombian pop star Carlos Vives took home two awards, Best Contemporary Tropical Album and Best Tropical Song (for ”Dejame Entrar” and its title track). Colombian rocker Juanes, who performed a duet with Nelly Furtado, won Best Rock Song for ”A Dios Le Pido.”
The biggest winner, though, was last year’s four-time honoree, Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz, who earned three trophies this year: Record of the Year and Song of the Year (for ”Y Solo Se Me Ocurre Amarte”) and Album of the Year (”MTV Unplugged”).
Highlights of the show, hosted by Gloria Estefan and Jimmy Smits from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, included performances by Carlos Santana and P.O.D. (playing together on a track from Santana’s upcoming album, ”Shaman”), Marc Anthony, Mexican singer Thalia (wearing a dress wired with lights), and 77-year-old salsa queen Celia Cruz, who won Best Salsa Album for ”La Negra Tiene Tumbao.”
In a way, this was really the second Latin Grammys, since last year’s show, scheduled for Sept. 11, was canceled as soon as the terrorists attacked the U.S. that morning. The show was never rescheduled, and the winners were announced months later at a press conference. This year’s show went off without a hitch, except for the ceremony’s annual controversy involving performers from Cuba. Two years ago, a local ordinance made it illegal for Cuban performers to play in Miami, forcing the ceremony to move to Los Angeles. That ban was lifted, but threatened anti-Castro protests led Grammy organizers to move the show to L.A. again. This year, the Associated Press reports, 22 Cuban musicians who were scheduled to appear couldn’t leave Cuba because they failed to receive visas from the U.S. government, which, under stringent new anti-terrorism rules, lengthened the vetting process for visitors from Cuba and other countries listed as terrorism sponsors. The musicians apparently applied for visas after the new rules took effect, and their applications were still mired in red tape by the time the awards show took place. One of the musicians, jazz pianist Chucho Valdes, won Best Pop Instrumental Album (”Canciones Ineditas”).
Other winners in major categories included Jorge Moreno (Best New Artist), Rosario (Best Female Pop Vocal Album, ”Muchas Flores”), Miguel Bose (Best Male Pop Vocal Album, ”Sereno”), Sin Bandera (Best Pop Album by a Duo or Group with Vocal, ”Sin Bandera”), Vivo C (Best Rap/Hip-Hop Album, ”Vivo”), Alejandra Guzman (Best Female Rock Vocal Album, ”Soy”), and Olga Tanon (Best Merengue Album, ”Yo Por Ti”).