MIAMI (AP) – Juan Luis Guerra had little to say, but his awards spoke volumes.

Guerra was one of three triple-winners – Colombian rocker Juanes and dance diva Paulina Rubio were the others – at Thursday’s glittery Billboard Latin Music Awards.

The Dominican singer-songwriter won male tropical album of the year and Latin Christian or gospel album of the year for his “Para Ti” (“For You”).

Guerra, who expanded the horizons of Dominican music 15 years ago with the album “Bachata Rosa,” is a born-again Christian who also won the Spirit of Hope award for the work of his foundation. The group, which includes his band 4.40, raises money for children’s medical care – from eyeglasses to organ transplants.

“I just thank God for the privilege of helping others,” he said.

Juanes’ “Mi Sangre,” which touched fans with stories of political and social struggle interwoven with messages of hope and love, won male Latin pop album of the year.

Rubio’s chart topping “Pau-Latina” was named the best female Latin pop album.

The long-haired, guitar-playing Juanes also won hot Latin track of the year and top male Latin pop airplay track for the song “Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor” (“I’m Nothing Without Your Love”).

The honors follow Juanes’ designation as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. His tight cumbia-rock stylings have even attracted English-speaking fans to concerts on his recent tour.

“This award would not be possible if it wasn’t for all of you out there, the fans who support me,” Juanes said, lifting his award statuette. “This is also for Colombia.”

Rubio earned prizes for top hot Latin tracks artist and best female Latin pop album. She appeared in a Native American headdress, cowboy vest, tank top and shorts after singer Soraya and pop-rocker Aleks Syntek kicked off the show singing “Duele el Amor (“Love Hurts”). Syntek originally sang the duet with Ana Torroja, a song that earned two awards.

Also performing were the group Conjunto Primavera, balladeer Christian Castro, Mexican star Thalia and salsa singer and actor Marc Anthony.

Anthony received Billboard’s Star Award, saying: “I’m not sure it’s possible for someone like me to be comfortable accepting such an honor.”

Anthony’s wife, Jennifer Lopez, attended the ceremony. The two, both dressed in teal outfits, waved to the red-carpet crowd as they arrived at the Miami Arena.

Among the star award presenters were actor Jimmy Smits and music mogul P. Diddy, who appeared with bilingual rapper Pitbull. “I know a little bit of Spanish,” P. Diddy said in Spanish.

The invasion of rock and urban sounds into mainstream Latin music was reflected in the choice of performers. Daddy Yankee, an up-and-comer in the reggaeton genre, and hip-hoppers Crooked Stilo had electric performances. P. Diddy joined Daddy Yankee on stage in the show’s finale.

The most emotional moment of the evening came when Christian singer Tony Melendez, who plays guitar with his feet because he was born without both arms, performed a song he wrote in honor of the late Pope John Paul II. Melendez performed for the pontiff when he visited Miami in 1987.

Other big winners Thursday night were the eclectic group Los Horoscopos de Durango, which won three regional Mexican categories for their album “Locos de Amor” (“We’re Crazy for Love”). The group mixes regional Mexican with other Latin sounds.

Veteran Mexican singer Marco Antonio Solis was nominated eight times, winning once for his greatest hits album. But a more significant honor was his Lifetime Achievement Award.

The singer-songwriter’s 20-year career started with the popular group Los Bukis before he embarked on a pop solo career and built a hemisphere-wide popularity.

Hosting the awards were TV personalities Candela Ferro and Saul Lisazo.

The awards honor the most popular albums, songs and performers in Latin music as determined by sales and radio airplay data published on Billboard’s weekly charts. The show was broadcast live on Telemundo.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.