LAS VEGAS — Hip-hop duo Calle 13 won album of the year at the Latin Grammy Awards Thursday in Las Vegas, earning the top prize after a record-breaking night that saw the Puerto Rican brothers receive the 19th award of their career.
Earlier in the night, the socially charged rap group made history and won its 18th award – song of the year for "Latinoamerica." That broke the record for most awards previously held by 17-time-winner Juanes.
"Today, the music triumphed," frontman Rene Perez Joglar said in Spanish.
Calle 13 was up for 10 awards in all Thursday and took home all but one because they were nominated twice for album of the year for their work on Shakira's "Sale el Sol." The Caribbean group's anti-establishment album "Entren Los Que Quieran" lent a political overtone to the annual awards show, with its lyrics that slam the White House and the Vatican while celebrating the joys of being poor.
One of the most controversial songs, "Calma Pueblo," won 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." Those awards all came before the show started, during a pre-telecast ceremony.
Calle 13 opened the show with an emotional rendition of its Hispanic anthem "Latinoamerica" before going on to win the prize for best urban music album, best urban song, song of the year and record of the year for "Latinoamerica."
"May this transport you to your roots, your streets ... and may you feel it here in your chest," Joglar said in Spanish before the rousing performance, dedicating the song to Latin Americans.
In many ways, they hogged the spotlight from the other nominees. Even Shakira, the Latin Recording Academy's Person of the Year, came home with only one award for best female pop vocal album after Calle 13 swept the show.
"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, speaking 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 Mexican-American rapper Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas.
"Another one for Puerto Rico," Sie7e cried after accepting his gramophone.
The awards show was a blend of 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 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 New York crooner Prince Royce. 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. Kermit the Frog also spoke in both Spanish and English, introducing Mexican band Intocable.
"Many frogs love Latino music because we get to hop around," Kermit said.
Shakira, the youngest person to receive the academy's prestigious Person of the Year 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.
Dressed in a sweeping pink gown topped with a sparkling corset, Shakira belted out the ballad "Antes de las Seis" on a fog-drenched stage decorated with flowering trees. She later returned with her quaking hips for a feisty performance of her reggeaton hit "Loca."
Mexican rock legend 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.
Mana went on to win best rock album, with frontman Fher Olvera proclaiming that rock lives on.
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.
Wisin and Yandel were joined by Kingston on stage. 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 during the show. When it came to Calle 13, he said, "I don't know his name, but he was real good."
Cristina Silva can be reached at . http://twitter.com/cristymsilva