The expectations for the 20th edition of Premio Lo Nuestro were so high that it caused some surprises but also some disappointment.
A couple of months ago, the Univisión network announced the highly anticipated night as one that would go down in history. The focus was always on the number of important artists who would appear, and they accomplished it.
And since the party had a little bit of everything, here is the best and the worst of Premio Lo Nuestro 2008.
The event's most anticipated performance was that of ranchera icon Vicente Fernández, who received a standing ovation more than once. He received the Excellence Award and by the audience's request he sang three songs, including his classic 'Aca Entre Nos' (Between Us). The beauty of it all was that the production allowed him to do that extra song because he was only scheduled to sing two. Don Vicente walked between the walkways to greet the audience and at the end, he approached Angélica María and kissed her on the lips. A kiss that will go in history!
The musical presentations got an 'A' for their originality and visual effects. From Aventura starting its performance in a New York subway to Pepe Aguilar with his folkloric dancers, a very Mexican stage with piñatas, sombreros, and sarapes. Jenni Rivera traded 'banda' music for a Charleston and she even went and sat on José José's lap! Reggaetón artists Wisín and Yandel were on an extraterrestrial stage, Olga Tañón took us to the past as she performed a mix of her hits and a magnum reunion between Grupo Manía and Elvis Crespo, after 10 years of their separation, ended the night with a golden touch. Of course, there was Juanes who opened the event, Maná, Camila, and even Enrique Iglesias with a group of kids, who opted for a more mellow presentation. That was until Iglesias approached the audience, as is his way, and caused a riot. At the end he almost fell off from where he was standing.
The tears were not absent in such an important event. One of the most emotional moments took place when Ivy Queen won her first award of her artistic career. The singer could not contain herself and started to cry on stage.
"Thank you very much. It is difficult to be here standing straight, my feet are shaking. This is a difficult business I'm in, but it was about time I was recognized," she said before a standing ovation by her public that would not stop yelling out her name.
And later on, Aguilar, also with tears in his eyes, dedicated his award to his late father Antonio Aguilar: "I dedicate this award to those who were my inspiration along the years. Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete, Vicente Fernández and Don Antionio Aguilar."
One great surprise during the broadcast was the debut of the Maximum Excellence Award whose winner was Puerto Rican Ricky Martin. Cristina Saralegui was the person in charge of giving him his award. The singer was chosen by the people among 19 other personalities that in previous years had received the Excellence Award.
Martin took out a piece of paper to read a couple of lines: "This means a lot to me ... I try to speak on behalf of those who can't be heard. I humbly try to give the best of me, I try to lose the fear ... Let's remember that it is what we want to do and what we should do."
Now the question is: Will this award be given every 20 years?
Politics came up in the appreciation speeches. Fher of Maná gave the most impacting comment, when he went to receive an award. "It is impressive what we have accomplished in the Untied States, an immigration reform is urgent. Dignity and respect for all the Latinos in this country."
The transmission of the ceremony only lasted three hours and because of that we miss out on more performances and winners. For example, where did the presentation by A.B. Quintanilla Presenta Kumbia All Starz go? It was rumored that it would be an interesting event because A.B. and Cruz Martínez would come face to face after the problems between them. Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan also sang and we didn't see it. What a shame!
The hosts were not the best. Patty Navidad and Pedro Fernandez's nerves were very obvious after hosting for three hours live. The worst part of all was the addition of comedian Paul Rodríguez, who put Fernández aside to 'improvise' the hosting. If the motive was to create a few laughs, the truth is that it was a bit annoying.
The tribute to the artists who have died was absent. It had been said that the award ceremony would do something special to remember artists such as Selena, Rocío Dúrcal, Celia Cruz, and Antonio Aguilar, among others, but such 'tribute' only lasted a couple of seconds. They would have been better off not trying.
What happened to Ricky Martin's hair? Yes, I know, that is not necessarily a bad thing about the awards show, but for being such a great fan of this hunk, I had to say it and get it out of my system. With or without hair, he is still a great artist and so handsome!
To finalize, I think that -- as we say in México -- 'They put too much salsa on their tacos' (they exaggerated), the awards show came short of being the spectacular anniversary that it appeared to have been. Hopefully in the following years they continue to surprise us with less disappointments.
List of winners on www.vidaenelvalle.com