Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for LARAS
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Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for LARAS
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Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for LARAS
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Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for LARAS
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Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for LARAS
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The 19th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards aired live on Univision from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Nov. 15, honoring artists across 49 categories. The star-studded award show welcomed the biggest names in Latin music, spanning a multitude of genres. Hosts Ana de la Reguera and singer Carlos Rivera navigated the night, while Univision co-anchor Borja Voces kept viewers up-to-date with what was happening behind the scenes.

The evening had some incredible highlights. Starting on the red carpet, Steve Aoki and Rosalía turned heads with their daring fashion choices. As events shifted into the live show, some poignant statements were made and a few surprises unfolded. Both Jorge Drexler and Rosalía took home awards over J Balvin, who had the most nominations. Luis Miguel also beat out Balvin for Album Of The Year, without even being in attendance to accept the award. Karol G won Best New Artist and brought her dad on stage with her to celebrate the win. While legendary Mexican rock band (and 2018 Person of the Year) Maná, used the platform to speak on immigration and women’s rights.

The 2018 Latin GRAMMYs was filled with plenty of exciting moments, especially when it came to performances. Each artist offered up something for everyone. Prior to the show, Steve Aoki spoke with AXS about performing “Jaleo” on stage with Nicky Jam. “The Latin world has really been hospitable, and accepted me and brought me into their culture. I feel at home here,” he said. Aoki also explained how he has made it his mission to unite different cultures and genres. “It’s all about bringing the world together through music,” the DJ added.

With all of the fun on stage, it was hard to narrow it down, but here are the top five picks for outstanding performances.

5. Ángela Aguilar

The 15-year-old Mexican-American singer not only stunned the crowd as she graced the stage in a beautiful floral gown but her flawless rendition of the Mexican folk song, “La Llorona,” sent chills down the spines of everyone in the room. As the daughter of Pepe Aguilar, this young songstress is clearly destined for greatness. While the artist didn’t take home any trophies at the Latin GRAMMYs (she was nominated for Best New Artist and Best Ranchero/Mariachi Album) Ángela Aguilar definitely won the hearts of everyone who was watching.

4. Rosalía

Rosalía took home two awards this year for “Malamente.” The Spanish singer won in the categories of Best Urban Fusion/Performance and Best Alternative Song. Performing her hit on the Latin GRAMMY stage was a recipe for success. The final result showcased the artist in all of her glory. Her performance was fun, playful, and entertaining. The blend of flamenco music and hip-hop brought a dance-friendly vibe, reinforcing why Rosalía is the powerhouse that she is.

3. J Balvin, Nicky Jam, and Steve Aoki

This medley marked one of the most exciting music moments of the night. Each artist’s time in the spotlight was highly anticipated, making the reveal that much better. Jam and Balvin opened the floor with “X,” bringing some urban flair to the stage. Their casually playful dance moves felt more like a couple of friends just having fun rather than an internationally broadcast award show. Right after the two parted, Jam made his way over to DJ Steve Aoki who was already in place. As “Jaleo” played, a crowd of dancers rushed the stage, turning the performance into a high-energy party that had the audience cheering.

2. Sebastián Yatra and Halsey

Sebastián Yatra and Halsey collaborated for the first time ever on stage at this year’s Latin GRAMMYs, giving an emotional bilingual performance that tugged at the heartstrings of everyone watching. Yatra began in Spanish with “My Only One” leading the way for Halsey to join in English. The two then traded off singing in both English and Spanish, easing their way from “No Hay Nadie Más” into Halsey’s “Without Me.” The intimate duet told a beautiful story about relationships emphasizing the message that music is universal. It can transcend any language.

1. Marc Anthony, Will Smith, and Bad Bunny

“Está Rico” may have opened the show, but it remained the Latin GRAMMY performance everyone was talking about even as the night came to a close. Marc Anthony took the spotlight first, paving the way for Will Smith to stroll down the aisle, hyping up the crowd. The second Smith hit the stage, he began to rap in Spanish. Bad Bunny then appeared, surrounded by dancers who came complete with - you guessed it - bunny ears. The three eventually found their way to the center of the stage, joining together for the rest of the performance. The trio owned the room, which set the tone for an award show that was filled with exciting energy and authentic moments.

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