November 21, 2014 / 3:49 AM / 4 years ago

U.S. politics takes center stage at Latin Grammys

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Enrique Iglesias and Uruguayan singer Jorge Drexler were the big winners at the annual Latin Grammys on Thursday in a ceremony where U.S. immigration politics played a prominent role.

Residente of Calle 13 performs "El Aguante". REUTERS/Mike Blake

Iglesias won three Latin Grammys, including song of the year, while Drexler and French-Chilean singer Ana Tijoux won record of the year for their song “Universos Paralelos”.

Late Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia, whose album “Cancion Andaluza” won album of the year, won two Latin Grammys, the Latin music industry’s top honors. The renowned musician died of a heart attack in February at age 66.

But U.S. politics and President Barack Obama’s new immigration order that could allow about 5 million undocumented immigrants to stay and work in the country was as much the focus as music during the televised ceremony in Las Vegas.

The start of the ceremony was preempted by Obama’s speech announcing a new immigration order, a core issue for U.S. Hispanics.

The audience applauded the conclusion of Obama’s speech, and Iglesias added his perspective while accepting the song of the year award for “Bailando” via video link from Paris.

“Tonight is not only an historic night for all Latino artists, but for all Latinos who live in the United States,” the 39-year-old Spaniard said.

Colombian singer Carlos Vives, who won two awards, concluded his acceptance speech for best contemporary tropical album, “Mas + Corazon Profundo,” by dedicating the award to Obama.

The 15th Latin Grammys, broadcast in the United States on Spanish-language network Univision, was hosted by Mexican actors Jacqueline Bracamontes and Eugenio Derbez. The winners are chosen by voting members of the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Venezuelan-born singer Mariana Vega won best new artist, and Spanish singer Joan Manuel Serrat, 70, won the person of the year honor given for career contributions.

Eclectic Puerto Rican group Calle 13 also won two awards.

Top-line performances during the show included Ricky Martin performing his song “Adios” and a duet with Mexican band Camila performing the ballad “Perdon.”

U.S.-Mexican guitarist Carlos Santana performed “Oye 2014” - a remixed version of his band’s hit “Oye Como Va” - with U.S. rapper Pitbull.

Pitbull took the stage again with R&B singer Chris Brown to perform the song “Control” with Puerto Rican reggaeton singer Wisin in a robot-themed rendition.

Additional reporting by Alicia Avila in Los Angeles; Writing by Eric Kelsey; editing by Nick Macfie

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