5 things to watch for at the 2022 Latin Grammy Awards

A triptych of Bad Bunny, Christina Aguilera and Marco Antonio Solis
Bad Bunny, Christina Aguilera and Marco Antonio Solís.
(Chris Pizzello; Scott Garfitt / Invision via AP; Raul Roa / Los Angeles Times)

At Thursday’s Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, all eyes will be on an artist who won’t be attending the ceremony: Bad Bunny.

The Puerto Rican superstar — who is scheduled to perform in Medellín that night as part of his global stadium tour — leads this year’s field with 10 nominations, including album of the year for his record-breaking LP, “Un Verano Sin Ti,” which topped the Billboard 200 for 13 weeks. Other top nominees include Édgar Barrera, Rosalía, Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera and Camilo.

The 23rd Latin Grammys, which will be broadcast live on Univision, will be hosted by Luis Fonsi, Laura Pausini, Thalía and Anitta, with performances from nominees including Aguilera, Alejandro, Gente de Zona, Karol G, Aymée Nuviola, Rosalía, Romeo Santos, Carlos Vives and Sebastián Yatra — as well as newcomers Silvana Estrada and Carin León.

Both Latin music’s old guard and its burgeoning vanguard will be honored; first-time nominees range in age from 15 (regional Mexican artist Yahritza Martinez) to 94 (Cuban singer Angela Álvarez).


Here are five things to watch for on Thursday:

1. Who’s afraid of the big Bad Bunny?
The global pop dynamo has previously won four Latin Grammys in the reggaetón and urban categories, but never before in what’s known as a general field category: album, song and record of the year, and best new artist. This year, he’s nominated for both album of the year and record of the year, for “Ojitos Lindos,” his joint pop lullaby with Colombian duo Bomba Estéreo.

Still, he will have to contend with a formidable group of institutional darlings who count multiple wins in these categories: Jorge Drexler, Alejandro Sanz, Juan Luis Guerra, Carlos Vives and Shakira. He’s also competing against fellow upstart Rosalía, who caused a massive upset when her LP, “El Mal Querer,” won album of the year in 2019. Now, her acclaimed 2022 LP “Motomami” is also nominated.

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2. The “Person of the Year” sold out SoFi Stadium. Twice.
After a near 25-year hiatus, Los Bukis’ 2021 reunion made for one of the summer’s hottest tickets in Los Angeles — the Grupera band sold out SoFi faster than the Rolling Stones on their latest jaunt. As the 2022 honoree for Person of the Year, Los Bukis frontman Marco Antonio Solís will perform a medley of the band’s classics, dating back to 1975, as well as his own smash hits as a solo act, on Thursday night’s show. “Our band has survived many marriages and divorces,” Solís told The Times in 2021. “It moves me to know that the music survived everything.”

3. Team U.S.A. at the Latin Grammys?
Not counting the astronomical number of talented honorees from Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory with its own national identity, many artists and producers from the continental United States are due to make a splash this year. While English-language stars John Legend and Elvis Costello are slated to perform during the live telecast, others are being nominated for the first time.

Chic bassist Nile Rogers is up for what could be his first Latin Grammy, alongside the Puerto Rican reggaetón idols Daddy Yankee and Rauw Alejandro, for their song “Agua.” Producers Pharrell Williams and Noah Goldstein, who co-piloted the making of Rosalía’s “Motomami,” are up for record of the year for their work on her 2021 single “La Fama,” which features some Spanish-language crooning courtesy of Canadian hitmaker the Weeknd. Nominated for their joint single “Pa’ Mis Muchachas,” or “For My Girls,” the Ecuadorian American pop icon Christina Aguilera and L.A.’s homegrown pop-star Becky G will also contend for record of the year, a category in which no U.S.-born artist — again, outside of Puerto Rico — has won before.


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4. TikTok flexes its muscles.
In the five years since its international launch, the viral video app TikTok has indelibly changed the music industry, evolving from a teen tech novelty to a necessity in every artist’s marketing plan. One notable TikTok success story is that of Washington regional Mexican trio Yahritza Y Su Esencia, nominated in the category of best new artist, who launched their careers on the platform with their 2022 hit, “Soy El Unico.” Meanwhile, Rosalía’s live TikTok performance of “Motomami” is the first TikTok and first vertical video to be nominated for a Latin Grammy, in the category of long-form music video.

5. Latino icons, gone but not forgotten.
It would be nothing short of shocking if Thursday night’s show neglected to honor the legacy of Vicente Fernández, Mexican King of Ranchera and beloved staple of many Latin Grammys ceremonies. Fernandez died on Dec.12, less than a month after the 2021 awards. Others we hope to see remembered during the telecast include Los Lobos’ founding singer, Francisco González, and the Brazilian soul singer and luminary of the 1960s Tropicália movement, Gal Costa.