In the Latin Grammy Awards first year in Spain, it was only right that Catalan singer Rosalía kicked off the 24th annual ceremony with a flamenco ballad.
With an orchestra of percussionists as her support, Rosalía gave a touching rendition of Spanish singer Rocío Jurado’s 1985 track, “Se Nos Rompió El Amor.” A student of flamenco, Rosalía was able to show off her chops in a powerful tribute to the genre she started her global career with. Her’s was the first of many standout showcases on Thursday night where Spanish and Portuguese-speaking artists from all over the Latin diaspora gathered to celebrate.
Several artists shared the stage — including some unlikely pairings like Jaunes and Rauw Alejandro. The “Vida Cotidiana” singer provided the tinge of an electric guitar for Alejandro’s “Baby Hello” in a three-song medley that started with Alejandro covering Person of the Year Laura Pausini’s “Se Fue.” With Rauw crooning the song’s emotive lyrics (“It’s gone, it’s gone the scent of his hair / It’s gone the murmur of his silences”), the speculation surrounding his and ex-fiancé Rosalía’s sudden breakup was palpable.
Other artists were more keen on celebrating their breakups. Shakira, who took home the award for song of the year alongside Bizarrap with their post-breakup anthem “Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53.” She performed the single with the Argentine producer later that night after singing her song of the year-nominated “Acróstico.” The song features her two children Milan and Sasha, who were sat in the audience but had pre-recorded videos of their verses for the show to display.
Earlier that evening, the night’s leading nominee, singer-songwriter and producer Edgar Barrera had taken home the Latin Grammy for songwriter of the year. Barrera is also also nominated in the same category (non-classical) at the upcoming 2024 Grammys. He later gave his first televised performance playing the keytar for Camilo’s “Pegao” alongside the Colombian singer, IZA and Manuel Carrasco.
Pausini, the third female artist to be crowned Person of the Year behind Gloria Estefan and Shakira, stunned the crowd with a career-spanning set of her biggest songs: “Durar,” “La Soledad,” Viveme,” and “En Cambio No.” After a standing ovation, Karol G surprised Pausini with her award, telling the Italian singer “your lyrics have transmitted messages of love, nostalgia, life, powerful messages that have left unfathomable marks in the world of music.”
The Latin Grammys also highlighted fresh talent like this year’s best new artist nominees, some of whom sang backup vocals for Juanes’ performance. Argentina’s Maria Becerra’s wide-ranging vocals gave way to one of the most enthralling musical moments of the evenings when she sang “Amigos” with one of the top nominees of the evening, Pablo Alborán, before launching into her own “Ojalá.”
Eslabon Armado and Peso Pluma also united to give the first televised performance of their chart-busting “Ella Baila Sola.” The música Mexicana artists’ relationship was a bit rocky once the song caught fire, helping propel Peso Pluma to become the first Mexican act to perform on late night television in the United States — sans Eslabon. The singers seem to have put the past behind them, however, as they were all smiles on stage.
The show ended on a high note with Karol G winning her third and biggest award of the evening, album of the year, for her record-breaking “Mañana Será Bonito.” The album also won in the best música urbana category, and Karol rejoiced: “[How cool is it] that a woman won this award?!”
This time, fighting back tears, the leading lady of this year in Latin music told the audience: “This album changed my life and it’s incredible that it changed the lives of so many. Thank you to everyone. Universal who supported me in the process of this album. Thanks to everyone, seriously.”
Just like that, Latin music’s biggest night came to a close at around 2:00 a.m. in Spain. Back in the States, the three-hour long ceremony is premiering at 8 p.m. ET on Univision, UniMás and Galavisión.