The 2006 Latin Grammy Award Program was held at Madison Square Garden, making this the first year that New York hosted the event, an appropriate move for the city that has the largest and most diverse Hispanic population in the world.
2006 is also the first year that the general public was able to purchase tickets to the event, and it certainly looked like enough of the Latin music loving public took advantage of the opportunity to fill the 10,000+ theater. It was also the first year that, at the articulate request of Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, cumbia and vallenato were added as a category to the awards.
In keeping with the goal of entertaining that large audience, the Latin Recording Academy focused on the "entertainment" portion of the agenda, with few actual awards handed out on stage. This certainly made the event more of a Latin music concert and less of an evening spent listening to a list of acknowledgements from the winners, a positive tactic to reward the fans that actually paid for a seat at the show.
So here's a list of highlights from 3 hours spent in the company of Latin music's brightest stars.
- Large number of musical acts, including Shakira, Alejandro Sanz, Ricky Martin, Joan Sebastian, Luis Fonsi, Andrea Bocelli and Mana.
- Fonseca's acceptance speech. While most of the other winners kept it short and sweet - almost to the point of seeming jaded, Fonseca showed up with an actual list of people to thank. Instead of being boring, it was quite sweet.
- Ricky Martin. Not just the great performance of two numbers from his MTV Unplugged album, but his acceptance speech as Latin personality of the year, which he ended with a warning to those that exploit children: "We are at war with you".
- Ricardo Arjona, winning the award for "Best Male Pop Vocal Album", wasn't in attendance, which is not that bad. But apparently he didn't bother to designate anyone to pick up his award, so the presenters had to take it with them after a few minutes of trying to figure out what to do.
- The Latin Grammy website, posting the winners as they were announced in New York. That certainly took the anticipation out of the show for west coast viewers.
- The salsa spectacular that ended the show. It seemed pretty tough on the performers to be giving it their all while half the audience has already left the auditorium.
- Losing the envelope for the winner of "Best Tropical Song". And the winner is.. is... is... that certainly went on for awhile. I think I would have just stuck my own name in there.
- New York mayor Michael Bloomberg greeting the evening's audience with "hasta la vista". Did he even see The Terminator?
- The reggaeton spectacular, while entertaining and full of energy, for some reason highlighted women dressed as different felines (and I use the word 'dressed' lightly). Bizarre at first glance, after the first few it just got funny.
- Co-host Victor Manuelle's garish red on red/orange shirt and jacket. Who dresses this man?