Panda, Wisin & Yandel Winners At Los Premios MTV

Mexican rock bands and reggaeton artists were big winners at Los Premios TV in Los Angeles, where the political leanings of the host, Calle 13’s Residente, also had some time in the spotlight Thursday.

Puerto Rican reggaeton duo Wisin and Yandel, nominated in six categories, won for best artist of the year and best video for “Abusadora,” which they performed during the celebration of the best of the year’s pop, rock and reggaeton from Latin America at Universal City’s Gibson Amphitheater.

Photo: AP Photo
Wisin,right, & Yandel performing at the "Los Premios MTV 2009."

“I want to thank Mexico, Puerto Rico and all the Latinos who support our music,” Wisin said, after rapper 50 Cent announced their award for artist of the year. “Also, someone who always believed in the revolution: 50 Cent.”

Pop diva Paulina Rubio won for best soloist and sang a bilingual duet with Cobra Starship’s lead singer Gabe Saporta.

“So early, I wasn’t expecting this,” she said, clutching her “lengua,” as the lurid pink tongue statuettes are called. “I want to thank my fans who have been voting day and night for (the song) ‘Causa y efecto.’ I’m the cause – you are the effect.”

Panda, an alternative group from Monterrey, won three “lenguas,” including best group or duo and best alternative act.

“With the explosion of reggaeton, we thought the winner would be, I don’t know, Calle 13,” lead singer Jose Madero said.

Calle 13 did win, for best urban artist. But best pop artist went to Reik, a trio from Mexicali, and alt-psychedelic band won for best rock artist.

For the first time, MTV held awards shows in Mexico City, Bogota and Buenos Aires, Argentina, and rebroadcast performances as part of the Los Angeles show, including songs by Spanish balladeer Alejandro Sanz and hip-shaking crossover star Shakira from Bogota.

Photo: AP Photo
Arriving at the "Los Premios MTV 2009."

The six regional awards went to Panda, Colombian alt-rockers Don Tetto, Peruvian pop group Adammo, Mexican singer-songwriter Paty Cantu, Argentine electropop band Miranda! and singer Loli Molina.

Fashion-forward dance artist Lady Gaga won song of the year for “Poker Face” and best new international artist. Best breakthrough artist went to the Italian duo Sonohra.

Host Nelly Furtado opened the show Thursday with “Manos al Aire,” a song from her Spanish-language album Mi Plan.

Then she got a little crazy. The Canadian-Portuguese singer challenged her co-host to throw down a few lines and rapped about “La Turista,” while two male body builders in tiny Speedos gyrated next to her.

Photo: AP Photo
Cranking it up a notch at the "Los Premios MTV 2009."

Residente, whose given name is Rene Perez, called for Boriquen independence and called the governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuno, an obscene name. Puerto Rico is experiencing high unemployment, and recent public employee layoffs prompted a one-day strike Thursday in San Juan.

Residente talked a lot more than his co-host and got his political message across more subtlety by changing his shirt several times during the show. One shirt said “Chavez for best pop artist” in Spanish, possibly a reference to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Another honored Argentine singer-songwriter Mercedes Sosa, who died Oct. 4. Another protested the current Honduran president, and yet another referred to the Tlatelolco student massacre in 1968.

Eduardo Cabra – Perez’s brother and the other half of Calle 13 – jokingly said Perez took lessons from Don Francisco, the buffoonish host of “Sabado Gigante,” Univision’s long-running variety show.

“Kidding, kidding,” he said.

British alt-emo heartthrob Morrissey presented the special Legend Award to the seminal Mexican rock band Cafe Tacuba.

The Smiths influenced their early work, and to hear their former lead singer announce the award “was a true surprise, something that I hadn’t even dreamed of,” guitarist Joselo Rangel said backstage.

The nominees are selected by a group of music industry professionals. Fans vote for the winners online.