LAS VEGAS (AP) ? Shakira, the Latin Recording Academy’s Person of the Year, released her quaking hips for a feisty performance of her reggeaton hit “Loca” during the Latin Grammy Awards on Thursday night.
Shakira, the youngest person to receive the academy’s prestigious recognition, dedicated the honor to her fellow stars. “With their voices and their music, they cure all our pains and make us forget our sorrows,” she said.
It was a night for blending genres and talents, as performers from nearly 100 countries gathered at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on the Las Vegas Strip for a night of Spanish pop, rock, salsa, rap and country. Crossover stars Prince Royce, Sean Kingston, Usher and Demi Lovato were among the dozens of pop stars who shared the stage, along with Mexican rocker Alejandra Guzman, Puerto Rican rappers Wisin and Yandel and Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas. Award presenters included Erik Estrada, Zoe Saldana and Sofia Vergara.
The international lineup made for a Spanglish flair, with Vergara, whose Colombian accent is a staple joke on the hit TV series “Modern Family,” welcoming English viewers in her adopted tongue.
Puerto Rican hip-hop duo Calle 13 opened the show with an emotional rendition of their Hispanic anthem “Latinoamerica.” Frontman Ren? P?rez Joglar dedicated the song to Latin Americans. “May this transport you to your roots, your streets … and may you feel it here in your chest,” he said before the rousing performance.
The socially charged rap group picked up four awards before the show began and was nominated for a record 10 awards in all for its anti-establishment album “Entren Los Que Quieran,” lending a political overtone to the annual awards show. The album slams the White House and the Vatican.
The group won every award for which it had been nominated at the pre-telecast awards ceremony Thursday: “Calma Pueblo” took best alternative song, with its lyrics that call the Vatican the largest mafia in the world. The group also won producer of the year, best short-form music video and best tropical song for its ode to behaving badly, “Vamo’ A Portarnos Mal.”
Once the show opened, Calle 13 won the prize for best urban music album, best urban song and the award for record of the year for “Latinoamerica.” The group also was nominated for song of the year.
“We know that we aren’t the ones who get played on the radio … but the people who don’t sell themselves for money and make real music,” said Joglar, who goes by the stage name Residente, in Spanish after accepting the award for best urban song.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rican newcomer Sie7e was named best new artist. He performed his Spanglish love song “Tengo Tu Love” with Taboo.
“Another one for Puerto Rico,” he cried after accepting his gramophone.
Enrique Iglesias was also nominated for best album for “Euphoria.” Pitbull, Don Omar, Los Tigres del Norte and Wisin and Yandel were among the acts that got two nominations each. Chilean actor Cristi?n de la Fuente and Mexican singer Lucero co-hosted the show.
Other multiple nominees included Shakira, who received three nominations, including best album for “Sale el Sol.” Venezuelan singer Franco De Vita was up for five awards, including best album for “En Primera Fila,” and Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin had three nominations.
Shakira, dressed in a sweeping pink gown topped with a sparkling corset, belted out the ballad “Antes de las Seis” on a fog-drenched stage decorated with flowering trees. She later returned to a stage glowing in flames and dressed in a transparent lace top and tight sparkly black pants to perform “Loca.”
Vergara presented Shakira with her Person of the Year plaque, as Shakira cried “Sofia!”
“We live close in Barranquilla, that’s what people don’t know,” Shakira said, referring to the coastal Colombian city she often evokes in her songs and award acceptance speeches.
Mana gave the first duet of the show, performing with New York bachata singer Prince Royce “Lluvia al Corazon” and “El Verdadero Amor Perdona” as the image of a beating heart adorned with thorns graced the stage.
“In my opinion, Mana is one of the most important groups in Latin music,” Royce later said backstage.
The legendary Mexican rock group went on to win best rock album, with frontman Fher Olvera proclaiming that rock lives on.
Wisin and Yandel were joined by Jamaican-American singer Sean Kingston. They spitted out three hits, “Estoy Enamorado,” ”Fire Burning” and “Fever.”
Kingston said backstage that he didn’t understand what was being said at the show, but called himself a “huge fan of reggeaton,” or Spanish hip hop.
“I’ve dated a few Latin ladies so I understand a little bit, poquito,” he said, adding of Calle 13, “I don’t know his name but he was real good.”
Pitbull and Marc Anthony also shared the stage, pumping out their bilingual club banger “Rain Over Me” as dozens of Las Vegas burlesque dancers shimmied under a shower of falling rain.
Cristina Silva can be reached at http://twitter.com/cristymsilva.