Celia Cruz photographed before her passing in 2003. Courtesy of Celia Cruz Entertainment.
The biggest night in Latin music is returning with the Latin Grammy Awards on November 16. Before the 24th annual ceremony airs on Univision, we’re looking back at 10 of our favorite performances from the past. Check out memorable moments from Celia Cruz, Shakira, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, Karol G and more.
10. Jenni Rivera, “Por Qué No Le Calas” (2010)
Before her tragic passing in 2012, Jenni Rivera received four Latin Grammy nominations throughout her career. At the 2010 ceremony, the late Mexican-American icon proudly represented regional Mexican music. In a stunning purple gown, Rivera sang her heart out as she belted her kiss-off anthem “Por Qué No Le Calas.” She then followed that up with an emotional performance of the heartbreaking “Ya Lo Sé.”
9. Los Tigres Del Norte and Paulina Rubio, “Golpes en el Corazón” (2011)
At the Latin Grammys, no Paulina Rubio performance is the same as the one that came before it. Throughout her career, the Mexican pop icon has received six Latin Grammy nominations. At the 2011 ceremony, Rubio really switched it up by joining legendary Mexican group Los Tigres Del Norte. The two acts teamed up for a beautiful duet of the heartbreaking norteño ballad “Golpes en el Corazón.” Rubio and Los Tigres Del Norte did Mexico proud.
8. Karol G, “Tusa” (2020)
Karol G has made her mark on the Latin Grammy Awards stage multiple times. In 2018, the Colombian superstar won the Latin Grammy award for Best New Artist, which is a title that she has lived up to in the years that followed. For the 2020 ceremony, Karol G channeled a Greek goddess as she sang her first global hit “Tusa” live. Though Nicki Minaj wasn’t present for the dreamy performance, Karol G made sure to give her a shout-out at the end.
7. Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, “Olvidame y Pega la Vuelta” (2016)
Jennifer Lopez was a highlight of the 2016 Latin Grammy Awards. The previous two-time nominee teamed up with her ex-husband Marc Anthony to sing their cover of the classic “Olvidame y Pega la Vuelta.” Lopez masterfully channeled the dramatics from her acting career into their captivating performance. She told Anthony to take a hike as he pretended to try to win her back. At the end of their telenovela-like duet, the two Nuyorican pop icons shared a hug.
6. Gloria Estefan, “Mi Tierra” (2008)
Gloria Estefan helped bust down the door for Latin music acts to break through. At the 2008 Latin Grammy Awards, the Cuban-American icon was honored with the Person of the Year award. She opened the show with a fiery performance of her son montuno classic “Mi Tierra” from her 1993 landmark album of the same name. Estefan kept the party going with a soulful rendition of the salsa hit “Oye Mi Canto.”
5. Ricky Martin, Residente and Bad Bunny, “Cántalo” (2019)
Ricky Martin has delivered a number of memorable performances at the Latin Grammy Awards. Throughout his career, the Puerto Rican icon has won two Grammy awards and four Latin Grammy awards. At the 2019 ceremony, Martin joined forces with Calle 13’s Residente and Bad Bunny to sing the empowering anthem “Cántalo.” The trio celebrated the resilience of their island following the resignation of Puerto Rico’s disgraced governor Ricardo Rosselló earlier that year.
4. Thalia, “Seducción” (2006)
Thalia has graced the stage of the Latin Grammy Awards multiple times throughout her career. In 2019, the Mexican pop icon was honored with the President’s Merit Award. Thalia’s most memorable performance took place at the 2006 ceremony. She channeled Madonna’s Marie Antoinette-styled performance of “Vogue” at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards with her show-stopping rendition of “Seducción.” Thalia also played with gender norms as she switched from a gentleman’s outfit into a fierce bodysuit.
3. Christina Aguilera, “Genio Atrapado” (2000)
Christina Aguilera has proudly embraced her Ecuadorian roots at many Latin Grammy Awards ceremonies. Throughout her extraordinary career, the pop icon has won five Grammy awards and two Latin Grammy awards. At the very first Latin Grammy Awards in 2000, Aguilera performed a medley that showed off powerhouse vocals and bicultural pop star prowess. She belted out the bolero “Contigo En La Distancia” and then performed a salsa-infused version of “Genio Atrapado.”
2. Shakira and Alejandro Sanz, “La Tortura” (2006)
The Latin Grammy Awards have Shakira to thank for many iconic performances throughout the years. Overall, the Colombian pop icon has won 11 Latin Grammy Awards and three Grammy Awards. In one of her most memorable performances in 2006, Shakira showed two sides to her artistry. First, her voice soared as she sang the beautiful ballad “La Pared.” Then, Shakira unleashed her fierce side with the sexy “La Tortura” featuring Alejandro Sanz.
1. Celia Cruz, “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” (2002)
Throughout her lifetime, Celia Cruz won four Latin Grammy awards and two Grammy awards. During the 2002 Latin Grammy Awards, the late Queen of Salsa brought down the house with a rousing performance of “La Negra Tiene Tumbao.” Although she was 76 years old at the time, Cruz didn’t let age slow her down as she ruled the stage with her vibrant aura. Cruz proudly represented her Cuban and Afro-Latina heritage in the most commanding performance in the history of the Latin Grammy Awards.
Lucas Villa is a freelance music contributor for LATINA. His work is also featured in Rolling Stone, Billboard, Teen Vogue, MTV News, and W Magazine.