Juanes wins big at Latin Grammys

Julieta Venegas, Kany Garcia also among night's winners

HOUSTON -- Commercial success stories triumphed over critical darlings at the 2008 Latin Grammys, with Juanes, Julieta Venegas, Wisin & Yandel, Flex and Kany Garcia emerging victorious during ninth annual awards in Houston.

Colombian pop/rock star Juanes won for album of the year and best male pop vocal album for "La Vida Es Un Ratico." His "Me Enamora" also won for record of the year, song of the year and best shortform music video.

Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Garcia triumphed in a best new artist field that included Mexican alternative singer-songwriter Ximena Sarinana, a commercial success in Mexico who has yet to break big in the U.S. Garcia also took home the award for Best Female Pop Vocal album for "Cualquier Dia." Garcia dedicated her award to Puerto Rico and to Mexico, for being "my second home," and from which she was able to break the continental U.S. market.

In the night's first upset, Wisin & Yandel beat out critical favorite Tego Calderon when they won best urban album for "Los Extraterrestres." In the urban song category, Flex's "Te Quiero," a song that ruled the charts relentlessly in pop and regional Mexican versions, emerged the winner.

Alternative/pop singer/songwriter Julieta Venegas won earlier in the day for best longform music video and best alternative album.

Alternative rock legends Cafe Tacuba, who entered the night with the most nominations, walked away with awards for Best Rock Song ("Esta Vez") and best alternative song ("Volver a Comenzar").

Juanes bounded onstage to receive his first award after opening the show with "Me Enamora" and "Odio Por Amor," plus a joint performance with R&B artist John Legend. Backed by a gospel choir, Legend dueted with Juanes in heavily accented Spanish on a translated version of Legend's "If You're Out There" from his new album.

Hosts Cristian de la Fuente and Patricia Manterola kicked off the Univision telecast by announcing that the night's theme would be change -- a familiar refrain in the 2008 election year. In accepting his record of the year award, Juanes said, "You've chosen the correct president."

After an introduction by actor Andy Garcia, Person of the Year winner Gloria Estefan brought the house down with "Mi Tierra" and "Oye Mi Canto," followed by a collaboration with Carlos Santana and Jose Feliciano on "No Lloren."

Another standout performance came from Venegas, who won earlier in the evening for best longform music video and best alternative album. Venegas performed "El Presente" with multinational accordion jammers Emiliano Zuleta, David Lee Garza, Michael Salgado and Fernando Otera. Jimmy Zambrano, Jorge Celadon and Mariachi Vargas also had everyone on their feet in a pan-Latin collaboration.