Si, the Billboard Latin Music Awards are back. And for the 26th installment of the premios, Latin music’s biggest estrellas will bring their world-renowned talent, crazy stage antics, and fashionable (and at times questionable) style to the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables on April 30.
Televised live across the globe on Telemundo, the pachanga marks the end of the annual three-day conference, where industry leaders, artists, and business moguls gather and share their experiences and insight through one-on-one sessions, Q-and-A panels, and in-depth discussions.
The conference is strictly business, but the BLMA's are all about el escándalo, la loquera, y la farándula. While the night marks a huge achievement for the artists that walk away with a crystal award, for la gente, it’s all about el show. And la música, of course.
Here are the five most exciting acts of the 2015 Billboard Latin Music Awards.
It’s been a while since Jennifer Lopez performed at los premios. But this year, “Jenny from the Block” will be stealing the stage as she pays tribute the late Queen of Tejano, Selena Quintanilla, in honor of the 20th anniversary of her death. In 1995, Selena was murdered in her hotel room in Corpus Cristi, Texas. It was a tragedy that swept the Latin music nation. Two years later, Lopez was cast to play the role of the Mexican pop star in the 1997 biographical film, Selena, which eventually launched the Nuyorican diva’s career. Hearing J. Lo sing Selena’s “Dreaming of You” and “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” after two decades is a Latina kid’s secret dream come true.
Marc Anthony dominated last year’s Billboard Latin Music Awards show, taking home ten premios (including Artist of the Year), delivering pumped-up acceptance speech after pumped-up acceptance speech, and even managing to play it cool when a crazy fanática jumped on stage during his encore performance of “Vivir Mi Vida.” But that didn't stop el boricua from making nearly 8,000 party people at the BankUnited Center (and thousands of others in living rooms across Latin America) get up y bailar. This year, Marc remains el rey de la salsa as a seven-time BLMA finalist and record holder for the most number one hits on Billboard's Tropical Songs chart at 25. While el salsero hasn't released any new work since 2013's smash hit 3.0, watching el cantante sing “Vivir Mi Vida” can never get old.
As a DJ-producer and Dutchman, Nick Van de Wall, or Afrojack, is the last artist you'd expect to see rumbiando with a bunch of músicos Latinos. While the DJ is definitely among one of the most surprising names on the line-up, this isn't the first time his moniker has been associated with Latin acts. In fact, Afrojack collaborated with Pitbull on the 2011 single featuring Ne-Yo and Nayer, “Give Me Everything,” which climbed to the number one spot on Billboard's Hot 100 chart that year. These days, however, the DJ is enjoying his chart-topping success from 2014's Forget the Word. While there are no collabs with Latin musicians on his latest album, Ne-Yo is also set to perform at the premios. Who knows? Maybe Pitbull will make a surprise cameo and give fans the ultimate throwback with a performance of “Give Me Everything.”
“What gives me the most joy is the opportunity to sing live,” Juanes told New Times in an interview last year, days before his performance at 2014's Billboard Latin Music awards. “And, as you know, in Latin TV, there's not a lot of room for live broadcasts. For me, this opportunity, playing live at the Billboard awards is very special. It's like my dream.” As the first Latin musician to perform at the 2015 Grammy Awards with "Juntos (Together)" — the theme song for Disney's McFarland, USA — Juanes is now prepping for his sophomore performance on los premios, it seems as if the mutli-platinum artist is not only living his dreams, but bringing our Latin rock sueños to life.
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Carlos Santana is hands-down one of the greatest guitar players of all time. But this year, el guitarrista is being recognized not just for his music, but for his philanthropic and humanitarian contributions with the Spirit of Hope Award. Through his organization, the Milagro Foundation, el músico has helped kids around the world “by making grants to community based tax-exempt organizations that work with children in the areas of education, health, and the arts.” Without a doubt, the Spirit of Hope is one of the most honorable awards a musician can receive. But what we're excited about the most is watching the guitar hero set his signature PRS a blaze with those killer riffs.
Billboard Latin Music Awards 2015. Thursday, April 30. BankUnited Center, 1245 Dauer Dr., Coral Gables. The show starts at 7 p.m. Registration costs $725 plus fees. Visit billboardevents.com/latin.