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Amid a debate whether Spain should be part of the Latin Grammys, it hosted the event


The Latin Grammys took place last night, and for the first time, the ceremony was held outside the United States. They crossed the Atlantic and settled in Seville, Spain, from where reporter Miguel Macias joins us. Good morning.

MIGUEL MACIAS, BYLINE: Good morning, Michel. It's great to be with you.

MARTIN: Likewise. OK, so before we talk about the awards, I want to ask you what's up with this cross-continental move?

MACIAS: Yeah, well, Spain has a long history of involvement with the Latin Grammys - artists like Alejandro Sanz, Enrique Iglesias, Mala Rodriguez. The list goes on. And some musical lines have been blurred recently by artists like Rosalia, who borrows from all kinds of Latinx musical traditions. So it kind of makes sense for the awards to come here in a way. But nearly $30 million from local government offices don't hurt either.

MARTIN: Oh, so they paid for this?

MACIAS: Oh, yeah. But the problem is that there could be a big return on investment. Seville is a big tourist destination, and the Latin Grammys are a huge platform for a city like this. Now, there has been plenty of criticism from the Latinx community. The ongoing controversy is whether Spain should be a part of the Latin Grammys at all. So for many, this was like adding insult to injury.

MARTIN: Let's talk about the big winners of the night.

MACIAS: Yes. So Shakira and Bizarrap opened the evening with the best pop song for that global hit with a strange title, "Music Sessions, Vol. 53." And later in the ceremony, they also took song of the year. So let's hear some of that track.


SHAKIRA: (Singing in Spanish).

MARTIN: It is a hit. No, I mean, no doubt that is a hit. So yeah.

MACIAS: It's all over the place. Yes.

MARTIN: Yeah, it is all over the place. Hard to argue.

MACIAS: And Natalia Lafourcade was another winner. The Mexican songwriter, who already has many Latin Grammys and Grammys, took the coveted record of the year for "De Todas Las Flores." She won a total of three awards yesterday, so a big night for her.


NATALIA LAFOURCADE: (Singing in Spanish).

MACIAS: And finally, the biggest prize, album of the year - it went to Karol G, the Colombian reggaeton star who also took the Latin Grammy for best urban album.


KAROL G: (Singing in Spanish).

MACIAS: An album titled "Manana Sera Bonito" that Karol G said changed her life.

MARTIN: I'm sure there were plenty of performances. And were there any that, you know, made a big impression?

MACIAS: Yeah, I mean, this felt more like a concert than an awards show. Let's see. I'll say that I was quite underwhelmed by Shakira's two performances.

MARTIN: OK, hold up now. Are you trying to get some hate mail here?

MACIAS: Yeah, it's coming, but Laura Pausini took the person of the year award, and she performed a medley. She's just pure energy and passion. And then Rauw Alejandro with Juanes on guitar kicked some butt with the rock-inspired performance. Let's take a listen.


RAUW ALEJANDRO: (Singing) Baby, hello. (Singing in Spanish).

MARTIN: Yeah, you know, I got to say those collaborations are always what, to me, make the Grammys and the Latin Grammys.

MACIAS: Yeah, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.

MARTIN: Yeah. That's fair. Fair, fair. OK, taking all of this together, was this cross-Atlantic move a success? Does it seem like this was a good move for the Latin Grammys?

MACIAS: It looks like it. I mean, it's hard to know. Seville's a really welcoming city, truly beautiful. And the city really embraced its role. But, Michel, I want to leave you with some thoughts with Nuria Net, the music critic and founder of La Coctelera Music, who was in town for the awards, who told me that Latin music has not just crossed the border. It has gone beyond.

NURIA NET: Well, it's amazing to be in Spain, where really Latin music is youth culture. And I think young people in Spain, they listen to Bad Bunny. They listen to Rauw Alejandro. For them, Latin music is youth culture. It is their culture.

MACIAS: Latin music is mainstream indeed. Latin music is youth culture. It now belongs to the people.

MARTIN: Thank you, Miguel.

MACIAS: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: That's Miguel Macias talking about the Latin Grammys. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Miguel Macias is a Senior Producer at All Things Considered, where he is proud to work with a top-notch team to shape the content of the daily show.