Latin GRAMMYs Light Up Las Vegas

Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest recaps for many of your favorite artists. In this special installment of The Set List, we're bringing you the scoop from the 11th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards. As always, we'll do our best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which artists performed, to what the artists were wearing and ultimately, who took home the statues. Hey, it'll be like you were there. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your favorite moment from the 11th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards.

By Fernando González

Hosted by actor/comedian Eugenio Derbez and actress/singer Lucero, the 11th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards in Las Vegas were marked by spirited performances and a colorful flare.

Taking place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, the evening got off to an energetic start with spectacularly staged versions of "La Guagua" and "Lola's Mambo" by Dominican singer/songwriter Juan Luis Guerra, the latter featuring additional color from trumpeter Chris Botti.

Spanish singer Alejandro Sánz won the first statue of the telecast, taking home Best Male Pop Vocal Album for Paraíso Express. In a brief speech, Sánz recalled the inaugural Latin GRAMMY Awards in 2000 and commented on "how far we have come."

Venezuelan duo Chino y Nacho were exultant after winning Best Urban Music Album for Mi Niña Bonita. Next, singer/songwriter Pedro Fernández turned in a Vegas-worthy ranchero/pop combo of "Celosa" and "Amarte A La Antigua" — the latter of which won for Best Regional Mexican song — featuring violins, traditional instruments and a quartet of dancers.

It was a big night for Camila — Mario Domm, Pablo Hurtado and Samo. The Mexican trio won two awards: Best Pop Album By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for Dejarte De Amar and Record Of The Year for "Mientes." "Mientes" also won Song Of The Year, a songwriters award that went to Domm and Mónica Vélez. After picking up their first award of the evening, Domm said, "We only have had a five-year career and frankly we have dreamed of holding this statuette. Thank you."

Sporting a preppy V-neck sweater and tie, Latin GRAMMY winner Enrique Iglesias performed "No Me Digas Que No" and "I Like It" from his bilingual album Euphoria with help from the duo Wisin y Yandel and a stirring marching band. Iglesias got the audience up and dancing with his performance, which also included sly quotes from Lionel Richie's "All Night Long."

New York-born bachata artist Prince Royce incorporated a theatrical '50s setting with a performance of his bachata-tinged version of "Stand By Me." Standing beside him onstage was R&B legend Ben E. King, the song's original singer and co-writer. The classic, a Top 10 hit for King in 1961 and again in 1986, has proved its universal and timeless qualities in becoming a chart-topping hit for Prince Royce.

Havana-born singer/songwriter Alex Cuba, who moved to Canada in 1999, won the coveted Best New Artist award. Singer Jenni Rivera, nominated in the Best Ranchero Album category for La Gran Señora, her first album consisting completely of mariachi music, performed a medley of "Ya Lo Sé" and "Porque No Le Calas."

Latin GRAMMY winner Ricky Martin presented the 2010 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year award to legendary tenor Plácido Domingo. Clearly moved, the maestro clutched his award and said, "There are so many persons in this community who are deserving of being called Person of the Year and they surely will…. This is so special coming from The Latin [Recording Academy]. I will carry this with me as something very deep. Thank you."

Three-time Latin GRAMMY-winning Nuyorican singer Marc Anthony performed "Y Como Es El" from Iconos, which was nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Album, joined by José Luis Perales, the song's writer and original performer. Anthony, who can croon one moment and turn into a sonero on a dime, followed the ballad performance with an impeccable salsa reading of "Tu Amor Me Hace Bien," from his 2004 album Valió La Pena.

Banda El Recodo, an institution in banda music, performed "Dime Que Me Quieres," a track from their Best Banda Album-winning Me Gusta Todo De Ti. (The award was shared by La Original Banda El Limon De Salvador Lizárraga's Soy Tu Maestro.) It marked a winning return for Banda El Recodo, who won their first award for Banda Performance at the 1st Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards in 2000.

Canadian-born singer Nelly Furtado and rapper Mala Rodríguez joined forces for "Fuerte" and "Bajo Otra Luz," featuring the white-masked and -gloved Jabbawockeez, an all-male modern dance/hip-hop crew from San Diego who has their own live special in Las Vegas, "MÜS.I.C."

Cristián de la Fuentes and the seemingly time-defying "Cuchi-Cuchi" Charo presented the award for Best Regional Mexican Song, which went to Pedro Fernández's "Amarte A La Antigua," written by Yoel Henriquez and Paco Lugo.

Basking in the glow of their Latin GRAMMY wins, Camila performed "Besame," incorporating a mix of the great romantic song tradition in Latin music with imagery and elements (most notably, electric guitar) of rock. The staging included a performance by "Le Rêve," featuring slow-motion acrobatic and aquatic routines that seemed to happen in a cloud.

Spanish singer Rosario, a two-time Latin GRAMMY winner and charismatic performer who was nominated in the Best Female Pop Vocal Album category, performed a salsa-tinged "Cuentame Que Te Paso" amid a cheeky beach scene.

Mexican singer Alejandro Fernández, who can move with ease between pop and traditional styles, turned the huge hall into a living room as he became a smooth crooner and bolerista performing "Vamos A Darnos Tiempo" and "Jurame."

Furtado won the award for Best Female Pop Vocal Album for Mi Plan and was clearly stunned. Speaking in an accented Spanish, she explained, "I didn't prepare anything…this is for my Latin fans. I love you."

Ricky Martin's much-awaited return to the stage followed. Martin, who admitted his hesitation in coming out a gay man because he was scared of rejection, was warmly received in his first major live appearance since his announcement in March. Martin was joined by Spanish singer Natalia Jiménez for his new Spanish-language song "Lo Mejor De Mi Vida Eres Tu," the first single from his upcoming bilingual album to be released in 2011. Instead of the hyper performances that sparked "Ricky mania" in years past, this mid-tempo piece was more subdued, featuring a lilting reggae-like groove with Martin and Jimenez singing seated, side-by-side, before ending with a stroll among the audience and a warm embrace.

Returning from the commercial break afterward, Derbez slyly commented on "how far the Latin GRAMMYs have come." He continued, "Eleven years ago Ricky Martin was the sexual fantasy of many women. Tonight," and here the audience held its collective breath, "Ricky Martin sang wonderfully."

Guerra completed an extraordinary night in winning a third award for Album Of The Year for A Son De Guerra, following wins for Best Tropical Song and Best Contemporary Tropical Album. During his Album Of The Year-winning speech, Guerra said his album had "romantic characteristics," but also carried "social concerns." In the most political speech of the evening Guerra said, "It's time to ask for more justice, more honesty….This [award] is for Latin America."

Colombian hip-hop trio ChocQuibTown, winners earlier for Best Alternative Song, added some spark to the proceedings with a version of their electrifying "De Donde Vengo Yo," a song that blends traditional Afro-Colombian rhythms from the Pacific coast of Colombia with rap and hip-hop. They were followed by Chino y Nacho, who offered a fast-paced medley of "Mi Niña Bonita" and "Lo Que No Sabes Tu."

The 11th Latin GRAMMY Awards ended with a terrific performance by two veterans, the salsero Gilberto Santa Rosa and the great Dominican merenguero Johnny Ventura. The duo sang "Hay Que Dejarse De Vaina," which roughly translates to "We Need To Stop The Jiving."

During the Latin GRAMMY Pre-Telecast earlier in the afternoon, Gilberto Gil won two awards for Best MPB (Música Popular Brasileira) Album and Best Native Brazilian Roots Album. Argentine rocker Gustavo Cerati picked up two Latin GRAMMY Awards for Best Rock Album and Best Rock Song, and his album Fuerza Natural garnered a third win for Best Recording Package. Cerati has been in a coma since he suffered a stroke after a concert in Caracas, Venezuela, in May, so his wins marked one of the more moving story lines from this year's memorable show.

(Photo information: Juan Luis Guerra at the 11th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards | Photo: Michael Caulfield/WireImage.com)
 

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