The Latin Grammy’s wide field of nominations that included stars such Bad Bunny, Marc Anthony and Rosalía may have not shocked anyone, but the awards ceremony Thursday had plenty of surprises.
Uruguayan singer/songwriter Jorge Drexler was a big winner at the 23rd annual Latin Grammy Awards, taking home six awards, including song and record of the year with “Tocarte.” He performed the hit song live during the ceremony with Elvis Costello.
“You’re sure, right?” a shocked Drexler asked a presenter when accepting one of his statuettes. The artist’s reaction seemed genuine as he and the audience processed his victories over popular superstars such as Bad Bunny (who was not present for the ceremony), Rauw Alejandro and Christina Aguilera. Drexler is no stranger to success having previously won Latin Grammys and an Academy Award for best original song.
Despite being absent, Bad Bunny’s presence was very much alive at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas with the crowd going wild whenever his name or music was heard. The Puerto Rican rapper and singer won five awards, including best urban album for “Un Verano Sin Ti.”
As one of the biggest acts in the live entertainment industry, Bad Bunny was certainly missed during the ceremony. He is at the center of the current Latin music explosion, having grossed nearly $163.6 million over 43 concerts in Pollstar’s Q3 charts. Bad Bunny, whose tour is on its way to becoming the highest-grosser of the year, recently played two record-smashing shows at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, and hauled in an impressive $31,474,781, the highest two-show concert gross by a solo headliner, according to Pollstar box office reports.
An emotional Rosalía accepted the album of the year honor for “Motomami (digital album),” and Sebastian Yatra earned his first Latin Grammy statuette, winning for best pop vocal album and best pop song. Rosalía, a Barcelona native, has also slayed at the box office, having grossed more than $1.4 million with two performances at the YouTube Theater in Inglewood last month. Yatra is a star on the rise, selling 3,413 tickets for his show at the small, intimate Rosemont Theatre in Rosemont, Illinois, and grossing nearly $200,000.
Aguilera and Marc Anthony were also winners, with the former taking home the statuette for best traditional pop vocal album and the latter winning for best salsa album and best tropical song. Anthony is one of the top earners among Latin Grammy Award nominees, most recently grossing more than $1.7 million at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, on Nov. 4, according to Pollstar box office reports.
One of the highlights of the evening was the race for best new artist, which ended in a tie between 25-year-old Silvana Estrada and 95-year-old Angela Alvarez.
Mexican icon Marco Antonio Solís was named the Latin Grammy’s Person of the Year for his contributions to the music industry as a solo artist and frontman for Los Bukis, a popular band from Mexico formed nearly five decades ago. The group reunited two years ago for the “Una Historia Cantada” tour that grossed nearly $50 million and ranked No. 6 on Pollstar’s 2021 Year-End Top 100 WorldWide Tours chart.