The Billboard Latin Music Awards are set to return later this month on April 26. The annual awards ceremony became an extension of the Billboard Music Awards starting back in 1994, and have since become one of the biggest events of the year for the global music genre. The Awards ceremony will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas this year, with Gaby Espino and Marco Antonio Regil set to come on as hosts.
Latin music has continued to grow in popularity over the years, especially in 2017 with the hugely successful Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee hit, “Despacito,” becoming one of the biggest crossover singles of all time. Fans already know this year’s nominees and performers for the show, but it’s what most music lovers don’t know about the Latin Music Awards that could be considered equally exciting. So for those who are new to the colorfully exciting world of Latin music, or have never tuned into the annual award show, here are 5 things that you may not have known about the Latin Music Awards.
1. They’re the “Oscars” of Latin music
The Billboard Latin Music Awards are a pretty big deal. Not only are the longest running and most prestigious award show in the Latin music industry, but they help set the foundation for additional exposure to fans and industry executives outside of the global genre. The ceremony is broadcasted live on Telemundo, the second largest network of Spanish-spoken programming in the United States.
2. Shakira is the belle of the ball
Since beginning in 1994, Shakira has reigned supreme in the “Hot Latin Songs Artist of the Year” category, with seven wins out of eight total nominations. To make the achievement even more impressive, four of those wins came consecutively from 2010-2013. Only the late Selena has won the female category consecutively when she did so from 1994-1995. Overall, only Enrique Iglesias has come close to the Colombian singer in total wins in the category, with an equally respectable four wins out of eight total nominations.
3. Latin music’s influence on American pop artists is now off the charts
When it comes to Billboard and its affiliated award shows, winners are determined for the most part by how well they and their music performed on the charts. As Latin music continues to grow in popularity around the world, the genre has also influenced some of the biggest names in North American pop music as well. This year, Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran and Little Mix are all competing for “Crossover Artist of the Year.” Over the past few years, Bieber and Sheeran have racked up multiple nominations in the category, along with Drake, Rihanna and The Weeknd, to name a few.
4. Selena was the show’s biggest winner at the inaugural Awards ceremony
If you turn back the clocks back to the mid-1990s, it’s almost mind-blowing to think of who was ruling the Latin charts at the time when grunge rock was ruling the commercial airwaves. In 1994, it was the late Selena [Quintanilla-Pérez] who won big, taking home the award for “Regional Mexican Album of the Year” for Live Selena, and “Regional Mexican Female Artist of the Year.” She would be inducted into the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame the following year, after her untimely death.
5. Like any other award show, collaborative performances usually steal the headlines
Award shows are fun, but in the world of music (especially Latin music), if it doesn’t make you dance when performed live, the artist/song just won’t cut it. So it’s only proper that the show has featured some pretty memorable live performances over the years. One of the more noteworthy collaborations between artists came back in 2004 when Cuban jazz legend and future Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree Arturo Sandoval joined Alicia Keys on stage for a duet performance of her then hit single, “If I Ain’t Got You.” A low-def recording of the performance can be watched by clicking here.