LAS VEGAS – The smash hit “Despacito” by Puerto Rican artist Luis Fonsi featuring his compatriot Daddy Yankee won the prize for “Song of the Year” at the 18th Annual Latin Grammy Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday.
The song, which is the most watched video in YouTube history with more than 4.3 billion views, and which topped the US Billboard chart for 16 consecutive weeks, also took home the awards for “Record of the Year,” “Best Urban/Fusion Performance” and “Best Short Form Music Video.”
“What a night, what a night! Thanks to the Academy. What a blessing, what a privilege to make songs and communicate through music,” Luis Fonsi said on stage.
The Puerto Rican thanked those who had contributed to the success of “Despacito,” including his compatriot Daddy Yankee and songwriter Erika Ender.
Among the nominees for “Song of the Year” were Mon Laferte feat. Juanes “Amarrame,” Shakira feat. Maluma “Chantaje,” Descemer Bueno feat. Melendi “Desde Que Estamos Juntos,” Ricardo Arjona’s “Ella,” Maluma’s “Felices los 4,” Residente’s “Guerra,” Diana Fuentes feat. Tommy Torres “La Fortuna,” Natalia Lafourcade’s “Tu si sabes quererme,” and Ricky Martin feat. Maluma “Vente Pa’ca.”
Elsewhere, Panamanian singer Ruben Blades won the prize for Album of the Year for “Salsa Big Band,” seeing off competition from nominees such as Antonio Carmona (“Obras son amores”), Vicente Garcia (“A la mar”), Nicky Jam (“Fenix”), Juanes (“Mis planes son amarte”), Mon Laferte (“La trenza”), Natalia Lafourcade (“Musas”), Residente (“Residente”), Shakira (“El Dorado”) y Danay Suarez (“Palabras manuales”).
“I am extremely surprised and very grateful to those who made this possible,” Blades said on stage.
Spanish singer-songwriter Alejandro Sanz received the award for “Person of the Year” in recognition for the success he has enjoyed throughout his career, and made a heartfelt call to protect undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children, known as “Dreamers.”
“They have been living in this country for many years and yet still they are in an illegal situation. They are ‘dreamers’ and these children are our children,” Sanz said.
Prior to receiving the prize, Sanz performed a series of his hits alongside a choir made up of a group of so-called “dreamers” wearing black t-shirts bearing slogans such as “We have a dream” and “Protect our families.”