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'Despacito' wins big at Latin GRAMMY but, where was Daddy Yankee?

The biggest song of the year won four awards, including Song of the Year and Recording of the Year. Luis Fonsi performed 'Despacito' without Daddy Yankee, instead inviting Diplo, Bomba Estereo and Victor Manuelle onstage to close the show.
17 Nov 2017 – 03:14 AM EST
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The world's most popular song in 2017 also got the Latin Recording Academy seal of approval at the 18th annual Latin GRAMMY Awards in Las Vegas on Thursday night. Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's 'Despacito' won in the four categories it was nominated in: Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Music Video and Best Urban Fusion for the remix version featuring Justin Bieber (that's right, Biebs is now a Latin GRAMMY-winning artist).

But the celebration fell flat by the notable absence of Daddy Yankee, who chose not to attend the ceremony, even though he was in Vegas that week at a Spotify event and canoodling with Residente, J Balvin, and Camila Cabello. Instead, Fonsi closed the show with a medley that included a tropical-tinged version featuring Bomba Estereo, a salsa version with singer Victor Manuelle and finally, an EDM-drenched rendition with Diplo on the decks.

Unfortunately, Li from Bomba Estereo's rap delivery was out of tune and made Daddy Yankee's absence from the performance even more glaring.

See the full list of winners here:


In an interview on Thursday with El Nuevo Día newspaper, Daddy Yankee said he wasn't going to attend the award show because he wanted to "move on" from 'Despacito' and include a new song in his performance. When an agreement couldn't be reached, he decided not to attend." In the media room during the event, Latin Recording Academy's CEO Gabriel Abaroa said that Daddy Yankee was invited to the cereomny, but that he said he wasn't coming. "When Daddy Yankee confirmed he wouldn't be attending, then the producer decided to include other versions," said Abaroa.

Here are some of the highlights of the night:

Residente opened the show with a solmen rendition of 'Hijos del Cañaveral,' an ode to Puerto Rico. The artist flew in more than 40 music teachers from the island to perform with him:

Maluma sang 'Felices los 4' with a big band but the song was still dirty enough to be bleeped throghout:


Alejandro Sanz brought a group of Dreamers to join him onstage to sing 'Corazón partío'. He dedicated his lifetime achievement award to undocumented youth in the United States.


Salsa legend Rubén Blades was absolutely stunned to win Album of the Year for his Salsa Big Band album over Academy favorite (and his own mentee) Residente.


Lin Manuel Miranda received the presidential award with a passionate speech in Spanglish in which he reminded the White House and Congress that "Puerto Ricans are human beings". Yes, because that's where we are in 2017. Love is love is love is love is Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Puerto Rico.

En español:


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