Charles Ventura

Pink outfits. Downtown skyscrapers. A Bugatti. Plenty of fireworks.

Featuring a combination of recorded and virtually streamed performances from across the world, the 2020 Latin Grammy Awards delivered a memorable, albeit different, program amid the coronavirus pandemic, as the “Biggest Night in Latin Music” honored artists hailing primarily from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the United States. 

Grammy, Emmy and Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda kicked off the show with a strong message about Latin music. Speaking in Spanish and English, he said Latin music “unites all of us and makes us human” and later adding: “This is our night.”

The Latin Grammys, anchored in Miami, then proceeded with a multi-artist tribute to salsa icon Héctor Lavoe — featuring Ivy Queen, Rauw Alejandro, Ricardo Montaner, Victor Manuelle, Jesus Navarro and Sergio George — with the stars singing and dancing to Lavoe’s “El Cantante.”

Singers Victor Manuelle, Ana Brenda Contreras and actress Yalitza Aparicio shared hosting duties. Here’s a look at the most memorable highlights from Thursday’s celebration.

J. Balvin sets the tone with trophy win, later sends powerful message  

The Colombian superstar, who entered the Guinness World Records with his 13 Latin Grammy nominations, won best urban music album for his fifth solo release, “Colores.” Balvin, who voiced displeasure last year following the Latin Recording Academy’s decision to omit reggaeton and Latin trap artists in the top categories, wore a mask as he accepted the honor.

Later in the show, the singer performed his hit “Rojo” onstage, wearing a white suit with a giant red heart painted on his chest. Footage of current events such as the Black Lives Matters protests — including an image of George Floyd — and more appeared onscreen. 

“Although the world feels dark, and our fears torment us, I think it is the moment that our hearts are bleeding, they have a meaning again,” Balvin said midway through the performance. “Let’s all unite and continue to fight for our dreams and a better future.”

‘I’m fragile’: J Balvin opens up about challenges with ‘anxiety and some depression’

Ladies night: Karol G made fans jump out of their (virtual) seats

The Colombian singer-songwriter, clad in ravishing pink sequins, appeared next to Greek pillars and unicorn statues as she performed her global hit “Tusa,” sans Nicki Minaj. Karol G, who was nominated for four awards but walked away empty-handed, was joined by a sultry dance crew as she re-created her Athens-inspired music video.  

Pitbull, aka Mr. Worldwide, shines light on front-line workers

The global superstar was joined onstage by front-line workers — some playing guitar, some singing background, one on drums — as he honored those combating the coronavirus pandemic. The Miami native performed “I Believe That We Will Win” (World Anthem),” an upbeat song released earlier this year to inspire others.

“They dreamed of being rock stars playing full stadiums, they represent a large group of individuals all around the world who day after day sacrifice their lives for a safer world,” Pitbull said. “We gonna live it tonight.”

Bad Bunny on cruise control

Never one to shy away from dramatics, the Puerto Rican superstar opened with his hit “Bichiyal” all while rocking a white sequin jacket and cruising inside a flashy Bugatti from his hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico. But he didn’t stop there.

Bad Bunny, who won best reggaeton performance for “Yo Perreo Sola” on Thursday night, closed his set at Hiram Bithorn Stadium with “Si Veo A Tu Mamá,” backed up by an all-female band, an evocative stage and, of course, lots of fireworks.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Bad Bunny honored essential workers with mobile show in New York

Alejandro Fernández honors Mexico

The ranchera legend, joined by Mexican star Christian Nodal and band Calibre 50, produced one of the night’s strongest performances from a beautiful plaza in Guadalajara, Mexico. Fernández, backed by a mariachi band, shared the set with Calibre 50 for “Decepciones” before his smooth duet with Nodal in “Mas No Puedo.”

Leading up to the awards show, executives from the regional Mexican music community criticized the Latin Recording Academy’s decision to omit artists from the genre from its big four categories.

Tributes and love ballads

Singer José Luis Perales treated music fans with his classic hits “Y cómo es él” and “Te quiero” from a rooftop overlooking the Spanish capital’s skyline. It was a smooth transition that had many on social media reminiscing about simpler times in the world. 

Perales’ session wasn’t the only one that tugged heartstrings. Lupita Infante, joined Mariachi Sol De México De José Hernández, honored her grandfather, Pedro Infante, by singing “Amorcito Corazon.” Stars Natalia Jiménez, Carlos Rivera, Leslie Grace, Prince Royce and Juanes offered touching tributes to legends Julio Iglesias, Juan Luis Guerra and Roberto Carlos, respectively.

2020 Latin Grammys: Complete list of all the winners

Contributing: The Associated Press


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