The 2020 Latin Grammy Awards were full of powerful tributes, dazzling debuts and show-stopping performances.
For the second year in a row, Spanish electro-flamenco phenom Rosalía took home the most awards of the night. Her three awards tied the the award count of Colombian superstar Carlos Vives and Mexican singer-songwriter Natalia Lafourcade, the latter of whom scored the coveted album of the year award — the second solo female act to do so since Rosalía’s 2019 victory ended a 13-year drought.
Hosted from Miami by “Roma” star Yalitza Aparicio, salsa singer Víctor Manuelle and actress Ana Brenda Contreras, Thursday’s celebration included a mix of stunning in-house displays, as well as innovative remote sets from Mexico, Buenos Aires, Madrid and more destinations.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, not every winner was able to accept the golden gramophone in person, backup dancers were often outfitted in matching face masks, and the live audience and traditional red carpet were struck from the festivities.
From Bad Bunny’s joyride through San Juan to Karol G’s “Tusa” spectacular, here’s a sampling of the many must-see moments from the Latin Grammys telecast.
Aparicio nails her hosting debut
Aparicio went from queen of the Oscars to queen of the Latin Grammys as she made her hosting debut alongside Manuelle and Contreras.
The beloved “Roma” breakout, who last year made history as the first Mexican Indigenous performer to be nominated for the Academy Award for lead actress, looked radiant while stepping out in gorgeous ensembles — including a vibrant, billowing fuchsia gown that stole the mini, photo op-only red carpet.
And Twitter took notice, hailing the trailblazing movie star as “beautiful,” “stunning,” “goddess.”
“Many thanks to the @latingrammys for such a wonderful opportunity,” Aparicio wrote on Instagram after the show. “I had an amazing time, and I hope you enjoyed it at home, too.”
Bad Bunny zooms through San Juan
Puerto Rican reggaeton sensation Bad Bunny took his perform-from-home assignment to another level, kicking off his “Bichiyal"/"Si Veo a Tu Mamá" medley by gliding through the streets of San Juan in a shiny white sports car, flanked by a entourage of motorcyclists.
The inventive performance, which ended with a magnificent light show at an empty Hiram Bithorn stadium, played more like a high-concept music video reminiscent of previous pandemic-era award show stunners, such as Megan Thee Stallion’s “Mad Max"-inspired BET crowd pleaser.
Bad Bunny took home the Latin Grammy for best reggaeton performance for “Yo Perreo Sola” after racking up nine nominations, the second most of any artist this year.
Karol G name-checks Nicki Minaj
Colombian reggaeton-pop star Karol G electrified the Miami stage with a shimmering, all-pink-everything homage to her hit “Tusa” music video featuring rapper Nicki Minaj — who was there in spirit thanks to a mid-performance shout-out from her song partner.
The “X Factor” alum’s captivating set oozed girl power, complete with an all-woman band, orchestra and dance troupe effortlessly executing graceful choreography in an ethereal cotton-candy wonderland.
Much to her loyal fans’ dismay, the “Bichota” artist walked away from the ceremony empty-handed, despite earning a nod for song of the year with “Tusa” and doubling up on nominations in the record of the year category.
J Balvin and Los Tigres del Norte turn up the activism
Multiple artists, including Colombia’s J Balvin and norteño band Los Tigres del Norte, used their Latin Grammys platform to spotlight issues close to their hearts.
In Balvin’s case, it was a literal bleeding heart that he wore next to his sleeve while delivering an emotional performance of his single “Rojo,” backed by a gospel choir and a montage of scenes from Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
Despite leading the Latin Grammy nominations this year with 13 nods, Balvin ended up winning only the trophy for urban album.
While accepting his award, the “Colores” artist — who famously boycotted the 2019 Latin Grammys after the academy snubbed reggaeton and Latin trap artists in major categories — said, “I hope others in the world can see the colors in this moment.”
Upon welcoming Los Tigres del Norte to the stage, Contreras advocated for “the families unjustly separated” and the “Dreamers who remain hopeful.” The norteño collective’s poignant performance of its 1988 tune “Tres Veces Mojado” doubled as a tribute to migrants from Central America.
Legends get their musical flowers
Throughout the telecast, several Latin music legends received star-studded salutes celebrating their prolific careers.
Manuelle, Jesús Navarro, Ricardo Montaner, Ivy Queen, Rauw Alejandro and Sergio George opened the show with a sweeping rendition of “El Cantante,” honoring late Puerto Rican salsa icon Héctor Lavoe. And later, Lupita Infante delivered a beautiful cover of her grandfather Pedro Infante’s “Amorcito Corazón” with help from Mariachi Sol de México de José Hernández
Natalia Jiménez, Leslie Grace, Prince Royce and Juanes united for the final tribute of the night: a “Living Legends” medley of hits comprising Julio Iglesias’ “Hey,” Juan Luis Guerra’s “Burbujas de Amor” and Roberto Carlos’ “El Gato que Está Triste y Azul.”
Times staff writer Suzy Exposito contributed to this report.