The 13th Annual Latin Grammy Awards were held in Las Vegas last night and like the Grammys, the music and the prizes reflected a mixed bag of art and commerce.
The big winner of the night was the sibling duo of Jesse & Joy, whose four awards included song of the year and record of the year for the song "Corre!" The duo's big selling album, Con Quien Se Queda El Perro? chronicles the internal turmoil of a romantic break up.
Juanes picked up two statues, for best long form video and album of the year, for MTV Unplugged. The two awards bring the lifetime total for Colombian superstar to 19, which ties him with Puerto Rican rap duo Calle 13, which swept last year's awards. The music of both Calle 13 and Juanes reflects commitments to social change coupled with music that can move people onto a dance floor.
Latin Alternative artist Carla Morrison, who is not signed with a major record company, claimed the alternative song award for "Dejenme Llorar" and the alternative album award for the album of the same name. But her nominations in the broader categories of song of the year and album of the year reflected a growing influence of independent artists and labels in the Latin music industry, a trend that is also noticeable with English language counterparts.
The Latin Grammys also seem to have a found a permanent home in Las Vegas, far from music industry hubs of Los Angeles and New York, which adds a certain amount of Vegas show girl glitz to the telecast sometimes at the expense of tastefulness. Scantily clad, gyrating dancers often appeared out of place, especially during the performance of a traditional Mexican ranchera sung by Pedro Fernandez.