The 2014 Latin Grammys may have shared the spotlight with President Barack Obama on Thursday night, but it didn't mean the awards show shone any less brightly as it celebrated its quinceañera.
At Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena, Latin music's biggest names gathered to celebrate 15 years of honoring the best within the industry. Calle 13 set a record for most Latin Grammy wins with a new total of 21, but it was Enrique Iglesias' hit "Bailando," featuring Gente De Zona and Descemer Bueno, that dominated the night with three wins, including "Song Of The Year."
The show opened as President Obama concluded his historic announcement on executive action that will grant deportation relief to around 4.4 million undocumented immigrant. Applause filled the venue as the president finished his remarks and many would reference the event later on in the evening.
It was only appropriate that a performance of Calle 13's hit song “El Aguante,” which is an homage to humanity’s resilience, followed the president’s speech. Though frontman René Pérez chose to shed light on the disappearance of the 43 missing students in Ayotzinapa with a shirt showing solidarity with the thousands who were protesting the government that very night.
“I’m going to talk about what’s going on in Mexico, we can’t allow this to keep happening. Viva Mexico!” the singer said.
Eugenio Derbez was the first host to take the stage, opening an evening of many jokes with one referencing Obama’s speech.
“It’s about time that Latinos’ rights are recognized because we stopped being a minority a long time ago, Latinos are part of this country,” Derbez said. “We have always used music to cross borders, in fact I have an uncle who crossed the border inside a piano.”
Kuno Becker, Natalia Jiménez and Jorge Drexler presented the Latin Grammy for best salsa album, which went to Marc Anthony’s “3.0.” The salsero gave one big kiss to his wife Shannon de Lima before taking the stage to accept the award.
The first of many duets of the evening was Ricky Martin and Camila as the Mexican group and Puerto Rican singer performed "Perdón.” The ambiance had a little pick me up soon after with Colombian rising star J Balvín taking the stage to perform his latest single “Ay Vamos.”
Pepe Aguilar’s rancheras could not be forgotten and the Mexican singer was later joined by Miguel Bosé for the second duet of the night.
Sebastián Rulli and Angelique Boyer announced the album of the year, which went to the late Paco de Lucía. The Spanish Flamenco guitarist passed away earlier this year at the age of 66.
The coveted song of the year award was announced not long after, with Enrique Iglesias and Gente de Zona accepting the Latin Grammy via a video link from Paris. Iglesias is currently in Europe on his Sex And Love world tour but also took note that it was a big night for Latinos, in reference to Obama’s announcement.
One of the most awaited duets of the evening was Carlos Vives and Marc Anthony’s performance of their single “Cuando Nos Volvamos A Encontrar,” which seemed to suffer from some sound issues but nevertheless had the venue on their feet.
Best ranchera album went to Pepe Aguilar, who asked that Latinos remain united and dedicated his Latin Grammy to the ranchera icon who inspired him, Vicente Fernández.
Wisin pumped up the the night as he took the stage with Pitbull and Chris Brown. Rubén Blades took that energy and placed it in a beautifully executed tango rendition of his hit “Pedro Navaja,” which had the audience mesmerized as tango dancers moved seductively across the stage.
Pablo Alborán and Jesse & Joy slowed down the night with their ballad “Donde Está El Amor.” The performance was followed by Prince Royce and Maite Perroni presenting the best new artist award to Venezuelan singer Mariana Vega.
Yandel, Farruko and General Gadiel followed with an energetic rendition of "Plakito.”
While several of the performances included elaborate choreography and movement, it was Juanes’ stage set up that stood out the most. The Colombian superstar and his band wore all white within an all-white cube. Psychedelic patterns and vibrant images were projected on the walls as the singer went through many of his hits including “Me Enamora,” “Tengo La Camisa Negra,” and “La Luz.”
One of the biggest surprises of the night came as Magic! performed their mega reggae-pop hit “Rude.” Halfway through the band’s catchy tune, Marc Anthony enters stage right adding Spanish verses to the song.
— Latin GRAMMYs (@LatinGRAMMYs) November 21, 2014
The Latin Grammy for best tropical album went to Carlos Vives, who spoke about why the award was so special to him.
“Fifteen years ago I had the greatest number of nominations... that night I didn’t win any,” the Colombian star said. “So I accept this 15 years later and in a special way. I share it with my family, this is for Colombia and I want to dedicate it especially to President Obama.”
And just like 15 years ago, Ricky Martin took the stage to perform. This time the Puerto Rican star performed a perfectly choreograph rendition of his new single "Adiós".
Only the legendary Carlos Santana could follow, joined by Pitbull, as they performed the guitarist’s iconic “Oye Como Vas.”
Brazilian model Alessandra Ambrosio broke out her portuguese with “Jane the Virgin” star Jaime Camil as they presented the best vocal pop album to Camila.
While “Bailando” was the big winner of the night, Academy Award-winning Uruguayan singer Jorge Drexler took the record of the year award for his single “Universos Paralelos,” which he dedicated to Colombia where the song was recorded.
Diomedes Diaz, Paco de Lucía, Cheo Feliciano and Argentine rock legend Gustavo Cerati were also remembered in a solemn In Memoriam presentation.
As the evening came to a close, Spanish singer Joan Manuel Serrat took the stage to sing “Mediterráneo” and accept the person of the year award.
And it was only fitting that the song of the year closed off the evening, but since Iglesias was currently on tour, the performance was a broadcast portion of the Spanish star’s Madrid concert with “Latin Grammy” balloons that matched the ones falling in Las Vegas as dancers followed the music.
Check out the full list of winners here.