There was quite a lot of uncertainty surrounding this year’s Latin Grammys. For the first time, the awards were planned in Seville, Spain, an intercontinental movement that generated much debate.
The European country had a complicated situation with the awards and, before the ceremony, fans pointed out that it is not part of Latin America – although the Latin Grammys have always considered all songs, as long as 51% are in Spanish. Still, others worried that hosting the show across the world could cause logistical problems for musicians trying to attend the event.
Still, the show went on and hundreds of people gathered in Seville, Spain, on November 16th for the event. Throughout the night, there were many tributes to the host country: flamenco displays, an opening performance by Rosália, a tribute to the actor Antonio Banderas (who is Andalusian).
In the end, the biggest surprise wasn’t logistical or geographic: it came when a powerful group of women won some of the night’s biggest awards. Furthermore, many artists kept the audience on their feet.
Here are some of our main highlights:
Women of the Night
In the past, critics have pointed out that women are often missing from the Latin Grammys’ top categories — and have been even harder to find on winners’ lists. This year was refreshingly different: Women took away major trophies all night long across all genders. Shakira won Song of the Year and Pop Song of the Year for her catchy Bizzarap session, and also shared Best Urban/Fusion Performance with Karol G. Natalia Lafourcade scored Record of the Year, Singer-Songwriter Song and Singer-Songwriter Album awards. And in a welcome surprise, long-time Mexican indie darling Julieta Venegas won the Contemporary Pop Vocal Album trophy, and a tearful Karol G received the Album of the Year award at the end of the night.
Laura Pausini, honored as Latin Grammy Person of the Year throughout the night, let out a small celebration backstage and praised the “mujeronas” winning big. – J.L.
Biza + Shak = Best Performance of the Night
A high-energy performance accompanied by Bizarrap songs had the entire theater jumping for the best set of the night. At just 17 years old, Spanish rapper Milo J opened the set with a fiery rap verse from the latest “Bzrp Music Sessions” before a choir turned Quevedo’s session on its head with a ballad version of the TikTok favorite track. The crowd went wild when Shakira, who took to the stage for the second time accompanied by a tango dancer, sang raunchy lyrics about her split from Piqué in the football player’s country. Now that’s it a mix. –TM
Latin composers gain shine
With the introduction of the Songwriter of the Year category, Latin songwriters took center stage at the 2023 ceremony. As Shakira performed the global hit “BZRP Music Sessions, Vol. 53,” she stepped out into the crowd to dance with co-writer Kevyn “ Keityn” Mauricio Cruz. Later, Mexican hitmaker Edgar Barrera played keyboards alongside Iza, Camilo and Manuel Carrasco. Barrera won the Composer and Producer of the Year award. Next year, both awards should be presented during the broadcast. –LV
While many derided this year’s nominations for leaving out the massive wave of Mexican music that made global waves this year, a few onstage moments gave the genre some much-needed attention. Peso Pluma and Eslabon Armado teamed up on stage for their first televised performance of “Ella Baila Sola,” opting to sing the summer hit in an elegant, white setting. (On the red carpet, Nicki Nicole said Rolling Stone that she would be screaming every word.)
Christian Nodal and Carin Leon also showed off their vocal talent during the night’s performances. We hope the Latin Recording Academy takes notice and gives these artists space in next year’s nominations. – J.L.
Sparks fly for Karol G and Feid
Although they remain tight-lipped about their rumored romance, Karol G and Feid sent their fans into a frenzy with the sweet interactions they shared at this year’s awards show. When Karol G is Tomorrow will be cool defeated Feid’s LP in the Best Urban Music Album category, she ran up to him and gave him a big hug. He also appeared to kiss her on the cheek. Karol G later became smitten and was seen dancing and singing along to Feid’s closing performance. Post-Rauwsalia, love is still alive in reggaeton. –LV
Latin music’s It-Couple debuts on the red carpet
You can’t help but smile when you see Nicki Nicole blushing after a Featherweight compliment. The Argentine singer and the Mexican star walked their first red carpet together, hand in hand, as they talked about each other’s music projects this year. “I’m very happy to be accompanied tonight,” said Nicole shyly in an interview with Rolling Stone. “I’m supporting the queen!” Peso joked. –TM
Karol G makes urban music history
Tomorrow will be cool made history. Before receiving the trophy for Album of the Year, Karol G celebrated becoming the second woman to win the award for Best Urban Music Album, exactly 10 years after Mala Rodriguez, who won in 2013 for Witch. “I can’t believe that this year’s Urban Music Album winner is a woman,” said Karol after hugging Feid and going on stage. –TM
Andrea Bocelli made a glorious appearance on stage and received a standing ovation as he sang “Granada”, the classic song by renowned Mexican composer Agustin Lara. All around him, the stage paid homage to cultures from across Iberoamerica, with a host of dancers supporting him. As the Italian giant sang notes that seemed to shake the entire auditorium, the audience stood and applauded him. – J.L.