By: Fredwill Hernandez
Anticipation was set high for the inaugural Latin American Music Awards, and therefore on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 7, Hollywood Blvd., was shut down between Highland and Orange, as the red carpet was laid out and preparations got under way.
On Thursday, October 8, the day of the award show at 5 pm the pre-show red carpet special got underway. Among nominees, presenters, and celebrities spotted arriving included Farruko, Shaggy, Luis Coronel, Kevin Ortiz, Dj Alex Sensation, Yandel, Carlos Ponce, Kika Rocha, Yarel Ramos, Calibre 50, Chino y Nacho, Jeimy Osorio, Reik, Myrka Dellanos, Lil Jon, Chiquis Rivera, Sol Romero, Fonseca, Ana Maria Polo, Gente de Zona, Rosie Rivera, Joshua Jon, Aaron Diaz, Fernando Noriega, Andres Zuno, Gaby Espino, Leslie Grace, Estefany Olivera, Lucero, La India, Maluma, Gonzalo Garcia Vivanco, Vanessa Villela, Kevin Roldan, Gloria Trevi, Aimee Nuviola, Gabriel Coronel, Kary Musa, Jesse & Joy, Jorge Bernal, Chiquibaby, Sharlene, Natalie La Rose, Camilo Montoya, Raul Gonzalez, Angelica Vale, Enigna Norteño, Carmen Villalobos, Christian Acosta, Sergio [Sir] George, BB Bronx, Quique Usales, Erika Csiszer, Adrienne Bailon, El Bebeto, Rashel Diaz, Dawn Richards, Gebriel Ramirez, Astra, Chrissie Fit, Scheana Shay, Caeli, and Maquinaria Norteña, among other distinguished guests.
Excitement was in the air as we made our way into the Dolby Theater, and within minutes Daddy Yankee’s opening performance kicked the LAMAs off.
“Take selfies and photos and use the hashtag #LatinAMAs, and don’t forget voting is still open during the first 30 minutes of the show, so please vote for your favorite new artist,” explained the charismatic Mexican singer, actress and presenter Lucero who was hosting the award show.
The first award of the night was in the favorite male Regional Mexican category, and as expected it went to young Regional Mexican singer and online sensation Luis Coronel, who was competing against his fellow Del Records [Sony Music] label mates Regulo Caro and Gerardo Ortiz.
Ironic, the night’s two top award winners based on votes and their collaboration were a no show.
Nobody could of have guessed that a phone call Enrique Iglesias would place to Nicky Jam about the possibility of doing a remix of Jam’s “Travesura,” would give birth to one of the year’s top songs “El Perdón, spanish for “Forgiveness,” Iglesias’ collaboration with Jam who would win in the song of the year, favorite collaboration, and favorite streaming song categories. Iglesias would also go on to win two of the nights’ top categories under artist of the year, and favorite male artist-pop/rock, bringing his total to five.
Following Jam’s three wins, was Daddy Yankee, who won in the favorite male artist-urban, in a category that included fellow urban artists Don Omar, Jam and J Balvin, all who have had recent chart topping hits. Yankee’s second win was under the favorite song-urban category for his single “Sígueme y te Sigo.”
Also winning in two categories was Cuban urban duo Gente de Zona, winning in the favorite duo or group-urban, and favorite tropical song category for “La Gozadera,” a collaboration with Marc Anthony, who was also a no show; others who also won in two categories include regional Mexican star Julión Alvarez y su Norteña banda for favorite song-regional Mexican for “Y así fue,” and favorite duo or group-regional Mexican; and Ricky Martin, who won album of the year for A Quien Quiera Escuchar and favorite song pop/rock for “La Mordidita.”
Balvin who eventually was voted best new artist was absent from the award show, as was Romeo Santos who won under the favorite artist-tropical category.
Other winners of the night included Gloria Trevi for favorite female artist, Demi Lovato for favorite crossover artist, Camila for favorite Duo or Group – Pop/Rock, and Zedd for their song “I Want You to Know” featuring Selena Gomez who also won in the best dance song category.
In between the awards presentations were electrifying performances and collaborations, among them was Yuri’s performance of “Duele,” featuring Reik, a song of Yuri’s recent released album Invencible; Faruko’s performance of his most recent single “Sunset,” currently fourth on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs charts, featuring Shaggy, [even though the original version also features Jam]; and mainstream artist Natalie La Rose, who performed a reggaeton remixed version of her smash hit “Somebody,” featuring urban artist De La Ghetto and new comer Kevin Roldan.
One of the night’s highlights was a standing ovation received by IL Volo after taking over the Dolby Theater with their vocal ability of “Grande Amore.”
The grand finale was a musical tribute by Puerto Rican salsa singer La India, Columbian urban act Maluma, Mexico’s pop diva Yuri, singer/actress Aymee Nuviola, and producer Sergio [Sir] George on piano to the late salsa singer and Cuban icon Celia Cruz, considered the Queen of Salsa.
Before the musical number of a four song medley that included – “Burundanga,” “Yerbero Moderno,” “La Negra Tiene Tumbao,” and “La Vida Es Un Carnaval,” there was a retrospective video shown of Cruz life that included interviews, concerts and many of her accomplishments.
The night ended on a high note with all attendees on their feet dancing, singing, and clapping, as Modesto Lacen and Jeimy Osorio [who along with Nuviola] are set star in the Telemundo series Celia, depicting Cruz life, joined the tribute on stage.
Anticipation is already set high for next year’s Latin AMAs.