MIAMI, Fl. (Latin Grammys Official Website) - Miami finally got its chance to shine as host of the Latin Grammys last night, but the event was tempered by sadness over the loss of salsa queen Celia Cruz.The two-hour extravaganza opened with a rousing and moving tribute to Cruz, one of the Cuban-American community's most revered figures, who died in July.
It featured a medley of songs made famous by Cruz, performed by singers Marc Anthony, Oscar D'Leon, Olga Tanon, El General, Gloria Estefan and Victor Manuelle and trumpeter Arturo Sandoval.
Many in the audience of designer duds, blue jeans and plunging necklines stood and clapped, hands above their heads, or danced in the aisles as film clips of Cruz played on a screen at the back of a stage.
The crowd burst into wild applause as the medley ended with the performers shouting out Cruz's trademark expression - "Azucar!" - Spanish for sugar. Johnny Pacheco, a veteran composer and musician and old friend of Cruz, called the tribute "smoking."
Cruz's husband, trumpeter Pedro Knight, who was in the audience, told reporters, "I'm speechless."
Colombian singer-songwriter Juanes, whose album "Un Dia Normal (A Normal Day)" has enjoyed a marathon stay on the charts, was showered with five awards.
"I never thought that this was going to happen to me," he said as he picked up one of his honors during the ceremony at the American Airlines Arena. "Three years ago I was lost completely in Los Angeles."
Juanes, who already had won four Latin Grammys presented before the ceremony, won all of the awards for which he was nominated, including both Song and Record of the Year for "Es Por Ti," and Best Rock Solo Album.
The ceremony included energetic performances from Thalia and Bacilos but also incorporated non-Latin artists: Juanes performed with the hip-hop group the Black Eyed Peas and Brazil's Alexandre Pires sang with "American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson.
The fusion of American and Latin American pop cultures also included presenters such as singer Natalie Cole, actors Jessica Alba and Adam Rodriguez and even tennis champion Venus Williams, who towered over nominee Natalia La Fourcade while presenting an award.
A pregnant Tanon screamed onstage when she won Best Pop Vocal Album by a Female for "Sobrevivir." It was her second Latin Grammy.
Other winners included Spanish singer David Bisbal, who burst onto the scene with his album "Corazon Latino" after winning the Spanish equivalent of "American Idol."
Although they did not have visas to attend the show, the Cuban acts Orishas and Ibrahim Ferrer were honored in the preceremony.
The threat of anti-Castro demonstrations in Miami two years ago had sent the event packing to Los Angeles, where it later was canceled due to the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Last year, it was held in L.A.
This was the first year the Latin Grammys came to Miami. The city was picked to host the show in 2001, the second year of the event, but threatened protests against Cuban performers by anti-Castro demonstrators led the Latin Recording Academy to move it to Los Angeles.
This year, the city, protesters and the Latin Recording Academy reached a compromise to place the protesters less than 60 metres from the AmericanAirlines Arena. About 300 demonstrators, both in favour and against the idea of Cuban performers, protested without incident outside the venue.
Because of visa complications, none of the dozen Cuban acts who were nominated attended the show this year.
2003 Latinn Grammys complete list of winners
Song of the Year: "Es Por Ti," Juanes
Best Pop Album by a Duo or Group with Vocal: "Caraluna," Bacilos
Best Male Pop Vocal Album: "Quizas," Enrique Iglesias
Best Female Pop Vocal Album: "Sobrevivir," Olga Tanon
Best Rock Album by a Duo or Group with Vocal: "Revolucion de Amor," Mana
Album of the Year: "Un Dia Normal," Juanes
Best Regional Mexican Song: "Afortunado," Joan Sebastian.
Record of the Year: "Es Por Ti," Juanes
Best Pop Instrumental Album: "Bajofondo Tango Club," Bajofondo Tango Club
Best Rap/Hip-Hop Album: "Emigrante," Orishas
Best Rock Solo Vocal Album: "Un Dia Normal," Juanes
Best Rock Song: "Mala Gente," Juanes
Best Salsa Album: "40 Aniversario En Vivo," El Gran Combo De Puerto Rico
Best Merengue Album: "Pienso Asi ...," Milly Quezada
Best Contemporary Tropical Album: "Mundo," Ruben Blades
Best Traditional Tropical Album: "Buenos Hermanos," Ibrahim Ferrer
Best Tropical Song: "Mi Primer Millon," Sergio George and Jorge Villamizar (Bacilos)
Best Ranchero Album: "35 Aniversario Lo Mejor De Lara," Vicente Fernandez
Best Banda Album: "Afortunado," Joan Sebastian
Best Grupero Album: "Que Sentiras?" Atrapado
Best Tejano Album: "Si Me Faltas Tu," Jimmy Gonzalez y El Grupo Mazz
Best Norteno Album: "La Tercera Es La Vencida ... Eso!" Los Terribles Del Norte
Best Folk Album: "Acustico," Mercedes Sosa
Best Tango Album: "Homenaje A Piazzolla," Sexteto Mayor
Best Flamenco Album: "El Corazon De Mi Gente," Pepe De Lucia
Best Latin Jazz Album: "Brazilian Dreams," Paquito D'Rivera
Best Christian Album: "Sana Nuestra Tierra," Marcos Witt
Best Brazilian Rock Album: "Longo Caminho," Os Paralamas Do Sucesso
Best Brazlilian Contemporary Pop Album: "Tribalistas," Tribalistas
Best Samba/Pagode Album: "Ao Vivo," Alcione
Best MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira) Album: "Eu Nao Peco Desculpa," Caetano Veloso e Jorge Mautner
Best Sertaneja Album: "Zeze Di Camargo e Luciano," Zeze Di Camargo e Luciano
Best Brazilian Roots/Regional Album: "Chegando De Mansinho," Dominguinhos
Best Brazilian Song (Portuguese Language): "Tristesse," Milton Nascimento (Milton Nascimento e Maria Rita Mariano)
Best Latin Children's Album: "Xuxa So Para Baixinhos 3," Xuxa
Best Classical Album: "Historia Del Soldado," Paquito D'Rivera
Best Engineered Album: "Revolucion De Amor," Benny Faccone (Mana)
Producer of the Year: Bebu Silvetti
Best Music Video: "Frijolero," Molotov
Best New Artist: David Bisbal