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Nov. 18, 2021, 8:03 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 8:03 p.m. ET

Arts critic fellow

Jon, this is especially a big moment for Boza, who, along with Sech, has been leading the pack for a new generation of Panamanian artists. So many musicians from the isthmus have been left behind in the retelling of the genre’s history, so this feels especially momentous.

Jon Pareles

Nov. 18, 2021, 8:01 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 8:01 p.m. ET

Chief pop music critic

Vanessa, exactly. And you never know what kind of flamboyant visual statement will go with something completely heartfelt.

Jon Pareles

Nov. 18, 2021, 8:01 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 8:01 p.m. ET

Chief pop music critic

I’m happy to see them giving the new artist nominees a chance to play whole songs, even if it is before prime time.

Vanessa Friedman

Nov. 18, 2021, 8:00 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 8:00 p.m. ET

Chief fashion critic

Jon, is that combination of style and substance part of what sets this awards show apart?

Jon Pareles

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:54 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:54 p.m. ET

Chief pop music critic

Vanessa, Yotuel’s flash comes with serious intentions. “Patria y Vida,” which already won best urban song and is up for song of the year, is a furious, direct protest about conditions in Cuba six decades after the revolution.

Isabelia Herrera

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:52 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:52 p.m. ET

Arts critic fellow

No sign of Bad Bunny yet … suffice it to say that I am on Benito watch, patiently waiting for the elaborate fit we deserve.

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:50 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:50 p.m. ET

Credit…Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Since 2009, Selena Gomez has put out three albums with the band the Scene and three solo studio LPs. In March, she did something she hadn’t done before: released her first Spanish-language EP, “Revelación.”

In September, she was nominated for her first Grammy ever — the Latin Grammy for best short form music video for “De Una Vez” (“Once and for All”) which was released in January as her debut Spanish single. (She lost earlier tonight, to “Un Amor Eterno” by Marc Anthony.)

“I am incredibly proud of my Latin background,” Gomez said in a statement at the time. “It felt empowering to sing in Spanish again.”

The video, directed by Los Peréz and produced by Kim Dellara and Clark Jackson, has racked up over 84 million views on YouTube. It opens inside of Gomez’s heart as her literal heartbreak starts to heal, crystalline fragments stretching toward each other.

“It doesn’t hurt me like before,” Gomez sings in Spanish. “The injury from your love has healed.”

The seven-track “Revelación” also features Rauw Alejandro and Myke Towers (both also nominated for Latin Grammys this year). The EP peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart.

Vanessa Friedman

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:50 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:50 p.m. ET

Chief fashion critic

Wow, that is some bright blue fuzzy fur hat Nathy Peluso is wearing with her little black dress. It’s like a little pet. Or maybe it doubles as a pillow?

Vanessa Friedman

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:34 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:34 p.m. ET

Chief fashion critic

I think Yotuel and his cape win the Latin Grammy Avenger award.

Jon Pareles

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:31 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:31 p.m. ET

Credit…Univision

It has already been a winning afternoon (in Las Vegas) for Camilo, from Colombia, and C. Tangana, from Spain. Each has so far dominated the multiple categories where they were nominated; they have yet to go head-to-head.

For Camilo, the wins include best pop song for “Vida de Rico,” which he called “an exploration of who I am at my roots” in his speech, and best urban fusion/performance for “Tattoo (Remix)” with Rauw Alejandro. His producer, Edgar Barrera, was named producer of the year.

Camilo also shared a songwriting award for best tropical song, “Dios Así Lo Quiso,” recorded by Juan Luis Guerra with Camilo’s father-in-law, Ricardo Montaner, who was also one of its songwriters — and who, after a four-decade career, finally got his first Latin Grammy with that song.

C. Tangana benefited from the genre-hopping lineup of his album “El Madrileño,” which qualified him to win best alternative song for “Nominao” and best pop/rock song for “Hong Kong.” More than two dozen engineers shared the best engineered album award for “El Madrileño.” In prime time, Camilo and C. Tangana will be competing for top awards.

Vanessa Friedman

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:30 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:30 p.m. ET

Chief fashion critic

Isabelia and Jon, also rare, especially on the red carpet: using your body unapologetically to assert femininity and make a political point at the same time. I wish more artists would follow her example and seize the moment when the world’s eyes are on their image to draw out a conversation.

Jon Pareles

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:30 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:30 p.m. ET

Chief pop music critic

And congratulations to Mon Laferte for winning the best singer-songwriter album award which, as she pointed out, very rarely is given to a woman.

Isabelia Herrera

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:28 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:28 p.m. ET

Arts critic fellow

Mon Laferte has always set the Latin Grammys red carpet bar so high! Vanessa, I wasn’t sure if she could top her look in 2019, in which she exposed her breasts in support of anti-government protests in Chile. The message read, “En Chile torturan violan y matan,” which translates to “In Chile, they torture, rape and kill.” The exposed pregnant belly this year is just as deliciously subversive.

Credit…Eric Jamison/Invision, via Associated Press
Vanessa Friedman

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:25 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:25 p.m. ET

Chief fashion critic

And the red carpet is in full flow. I know the theme tonight is “Rediscovering life through music,” but I think we may also be rediscovering life through fashion. I mean, there’s something genuinely invigorating about those pale pink wedding-cake frills on Roselyn Sánchez, the ocean-blue three-piece tux on presenter Carlos Rivera with a vest that looks like it can barely contain his chest, and a suit on Mon Laferte specifically tailored to frame her pregnant belly. OK, that’s not just rediscovering life, it’s literally celebrating life. It’s life in your face. I appreciate it.

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:12 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:12 p.m. ET

Credit…Univision

The winners of all but nine Latin Grammys categories were announced at a preshow ceremony ahead of the televised event, and Camilo is off to an early lead among the most nominated artists, with three wins. (He’s still up for record of the year, album of the year, song of the year and best pop vocal album, which will be awarded during the main ceremony.) Edgar Barrera and Alizz also have three wins apiece, followed by four artists with two trophies each: Juan Luis Guerra, C. Tangana, Jorge Drexler and Vicentico. And “Patria Y Vida,” a track that became a protest anthem over the summer, won best urban song.

Jon Pareles

Nov. 18, 2021, 6:33 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 6:33 p.m. ET

Credit…Univision

The Chilean songwriter Mon Laferte, whose album “Seis” won the Latin Grammy for best singer-songwriter album and who will perform during the show, has a voice for every passion. She can engage the personal and the political; she can coo a romantic ballad or spearhead a hard-rock attack. Her voice can tease, bite, whisper, croon, rasp or rise to a banshee wail. It can, and does, go straight to the heart.

In Latin America, Laferte, 38, has built a career that began with pop cover songs in 2003, moved into hard rock and has since spanned rockabilly, salsa, bolero, ranchera and psychedelia, just for starters. She often performs wearing vintage-style formal dresses with a flower in her hair, while her bare shoulders show off her tattoos.

“Every person is a universe,” Laferte said on a video call, speaking through a translator. “I love to do these different voices because it represents all of my personalities: when I’m fragile, when I’m stronger, when I’m fun, when I’m upset. And that is what I want to do. That is what art is. I want to transmit all of these feelings and have people feel as much as I do. And I want them to get goose bumps when they hear my songs.”

Laferte — her full name is Norma Monserrat Laferte Bustamante — was productive through the pandemic. This year, she has released two very different albums, she is touring North America and she is set to perform Thursday at the Latin Grammys.

She recorded “Seis” (“Six”) in 2020 as the quarantine was beginning in Mexico. Released in April, the album delves into vintage Mexican regional styles — norteño, banda, mariachi — backed largely with acoustic instruments. And on Oct. 29 Laferte released the very distinct “1940 Carmen,” named after the Airbnb in Los Angeles where she recorded it. The new album embraces Southern California folk-pop and includes her first songs in English.

Jon Pareles

Nov. 18, 2021, 6:09 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 6:09 p.m. ET

Credit…Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for The Latin Recording Academy

The Latin Grammys are far and away my favorite awards show. They’re packed with live music. They have the flashiest clothes, the most sinuous dance moves, the most vital rhythms. Nearly all of the performers are hands-on virtuosos, playing music that often flaunts echoes of tradition and has been well tested on the road. And the kind of era-crossing collaborations that can look so forced on the Grammys stage seem more natural at the Latin Grammys, reflecting an array of musical cultures that savor continuity between generations.

Like every music awards show, the Latin Grammys strain to keep up with, categorize and represent a constantly changing art form. They have been laggard, in particular, about the reggaeton and urbano styles that have been both disruptions and windfalls for Spanish-speaking acts. They also have to align with the imperatives of their frequent home, Las Vegas, and with their TV network, Univision.

But despite some well-earned contention behind the scenes — we’ll get to that — the Latin Grammys come across as the rare awards ceremony that’s still fun. They are less earnest and scattershot than the Grammys, less crass and desperate for virality than the MTV Video Music Awards, less sodden than the Brits, less winner-takes-all than the Emmys and way less pretentious than the Academy Awards. Whether or not they make the right choices — and what awards show does? — the Latin Grammys usually feel like a big-tent party.

Nov. 18, 2021, 5:37 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 5:37 p.m. ET

Credit…Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for The Latin Recording Academy

Last November at the Latin Grammys, the Puerto Rican singer Raquel Sofía performed “Amor en Cuarentena” (“Love in Quarantine”). “When fear creeps in tonight, tell me if this world is going to end,” she crooned in Spanish, strumming her guitar. “Tell me that tomorrow you will always be here.”

This year, much of the world has emerged from quarantine, but the Latin Grammys are maintaining the same production guidelines as 2020. That means the crew, staff, performers and presenters must wear a mask at all times during rehearsals, and team members must take a PCR nasal test the day before entering the venue. (Onstage talent can remove their masks just before going live or recording pretaped segments.)

“The safety of our attendees, staff and artists is of the utmost and top concern of the Latin Recording Academy and Univision Communications Inc.,” Manuel Abud, the chief executive of the Latin Recording Academy, said in a statement. “While some of the regulations have eased, the Latin Recording Academy and Univision will continue to exercise strict precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of all attendees.”

There is one major change, however: A live audience will be on site cheering for the nominees and performers. Proof of full vaccination or a negative Covid test will be required (along with a photo ID) to attend all events during the week of the Latin Grammys.

The red carpet will also return — with some limitations. Only nominees, performers and presenters will walk the carpet, and press covering the event will be reduced from about 90 to 30 media outlets.

Nov. 18, 2021, 5:08 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 5:08 p.m. ET

Credit…John Parra/Getty Images for The Latin Recording Academy

The Latin Grammys exult in spectacle. Last year, Karol G danced on a pink platform between two unicorns, J Balvin sang under a giant pair of praying hands and Bad Bunny belted “Bichiyal” from a moving car.

This year, Bad Bunny will return as part of a lineup stocked with big names, including Myke Towers and Christina Aguilera. In-person acceptance speeches and performances will take place in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, at a ceremony hosted by the actresses Ana Brenda Contreras and Roselyn Sánchez and the singer Carlos Rivera.

The 22nd annual Latin Grammys will be shown live on Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern on Univision and available on the Univision app, although subscription fees may apply. The event will also air on TNT at 7 p.m. in Mexico, 8 p.m. in Panama and Colombia, 9 p.m. in Venezuela and 10 p.m. in Argentina and Chile.

Gloria Estefan will kick off the show with a three-song medley and guests including Anitta, Carlinhos Brown, Laércio da Costa, Pedro Capó, Farina Giulia Be and Diego Torres.

Other performers include Rubén Blades (who will be honored as the person of the year) with Roberto Delgado & Orquesta, as well as Maná, Pablo Alborán, Alejandro Fernández, Nella, Ozuna, Paula Arenas, Danna Paola, Banda El Recodo de Cruz Lizárraga, Calibre 50, Los Dos Carnales, Camilo, Julio Reyes Copello, DJ Nelson, Sergio George, Grupo Firme and Jay Wheeler.

Juanes will be joined by Rubén Albarrán and Meme del Real of Café Tacvba for Juan Gabriel’s “No Tengo Dinero,” and C. Tangana will take the stage with Antonio Carmona, Diego del Morao, Jorge Drexler, Israel Fernández, La Húngara, Natalia Lafourcade and Omar Apollo. Descemer Bueno, Gente de Zona and Yotuel will debut an acoustic performance of “Patria y Vida,” nominated for song of the year. Mon Laferte and Gloria Trevi will team with La Arrolladora Banda El Limón de René Camacho for “La Mujer,” nominated for best pop song.

And Christina Aguilera, who last took the Latin Grammys stage in 2000, has announced an extended performance that includes her latest single, “Pa Mis Muchachas,” with Nicki Nicole, Nathy Peluso and Becky G.

Keep an eye out for the ever-contested record of the year category, this year an 11-track race among “Si Hubieras Querido” by Pablo Alborán, “Todo De Ti” by Rauw Alejandro, “Un Amor Eterno (Versión Balada)” by Marc Anthony, “A Tu Lado” by Paula Arenas, “Bohemio” by Andrés Calamaro and Julio Iglesias, “Vida De Rico” by Camilo, “Suéltame, Bogotá” by Diamante Eléctrico, “Amén” by Ricardo Montaner, Mau y Ricky, Camilo and Evaluna Montaner, “Dios Así Lo Quiso” by Ricardo Montaner and Juan Luis Guerra, “Te Olvidaste” by C. Tangana and Omar Apollo and “Talvez” by Caetano Veloso and Tom Veloso.

The official premiere ceremony — the show before the main event where 45 of the 53 categories will be awarded — begins at 4 p.m., hosted by the singer-songwriter Kany García and the actress Carolina Dieckmann. It will be held at the Michelob Ultra Arena at Mandalay Bay, and webcast globally via the Latin Grammys’ Facebook Live and YouTube channel.

The premiere ceremony will also feature performances by a host of nominees, including Gera Demara, Nora González, Zoe Gotusso, Love of Lesbian, Luedji Luna, Os Barões da Pisadinha, Nando Reis, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Jon Secada. Lupita Infante, who was previously nominated, will appear as a special guest.

For the second time, all Portuguese language categories will be awarded separately in a premiere ceremony for Brazilian audiences that follows the 4 p.m. event.

Nov. 18, 2021, 5:08 p.m. ET

Nov. 18, 2021, 5:08 p.m. ET

Credit…Associated Press

“¡Yo estoy feliz!” Roselyn Sánchez proclaimed in an Instagram video, shimmying and shaking two armfuls of gold bangles.

Sánchez, a Puerto Rican multihyphenate, was celebrating the announcement of her return as a Latin Grammys host for a fifth time. (She most recently had the gig in 2019.)

The actress, singer-songwriter, dancer and model is perhaps best known on television for her roles as Elena Roarke on “Fantasy Island” and Carmen Luna on “Devious Maids.” Sánchez has acted in more than 20 movies, and her first (and so far only) album, “Boriqueña,” earned her a Latin Grammy nomination for best music video for its single “Amor Amor” in 2004.

The actress Ana Brenda Contreras is coming back for a second turn as a host, as is the singer Carlos Rivera, who held the job last in 2017.

Contreras, who is also a singer and a model, portrayed Cristal Jennings in the second season of the CW’s “Dynasty,” her first English-language role. She has starred in a variety of telenovelas, including “Teresa,” “Lo Imperdonable” and “Corazón Indomable.”

Rivera won the third season of the Mexican musical reality show “La Academia” in 2004. Since then, he has released four albums and performed in six theater productions — including as Simba in “The Lion King,” which made him the first Mexican actor to star in a Disney production outside of Mexico.

The theme for the awards this year is “Rediscovering Life Through Music,” intended to “invite audiences to rediscover what’s important in life using music as a story line,” according to the Latin Grammys.

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