By Mario Anzuoni
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Colombian rocker Juanes and the Mexican brother and sister pop duo Jesse & Joy took home the top Latin Grammys on Thursday in Las Vegas on a night in which the contemporary triumphed over the traditional.
Juanes, one of the most well known Latin American stars worldwide, won the coveted album of the year with his "MTV Unplugged," which also won best long-form video. Dominican singer and songwriter Juan Luis Guerra won producer of the year for Juanes' album.
"Here's to the maestro Juan Luis Guerra for making this possible," said Juanes, 40, who now has won 19 Latin Grammys, tying him with reggaeton group Calle 13 for the most awards.
Guerra, who made the romantic Bachata music famous and is known to sweep the awards from the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, led the nominations with six nods this year. But he lost out on the big awards for record and song of the year with his "En El Cielo No Hay Hospital" (In Heaven There Is No Hospital).
Those two awards went to "Corre!" (Run!) by Jesse & Joy, the duo from Mexico City who won best new artists in the same Las Vegas venue in 2007. Their third studio album Con Quien Se Queda El Perro? (Who Is The Dog Staying With?) lost out on album of the year, but won best contemporary pop vocal album.
"Viva Mexico!," said Jesse upon accepting record of the year, a phrase repeated several times by winners at the 13th edition of the Latin Grammys Thursday night.
Like Jesse & Joy five years earlier, Mexican pop group 3BallMTY won best new artists with their musical style known as "tribal guarachero," a mix of Mexican cumbia and electronic dance music.
The trio, barely beyond their teenage years, found success on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border with their debut album "Intentalo" (Try It). They dedicated their Latin Grammy to Mexican DJs.
Mexico's Carla Morrison won best alternative music album with "Dejenme Llorar" (Let Me Cry). Wearing a red dress and sporting multiple tattoos on her arms, she let loose an expletive on the live broadcast after crying out "Viva Mexico!"
Among the top performances of the night were Juanes playing with veteran guitarrist Carlos Santana. The show opened with Miami-born rapper Pitbull, who sings in both English and Spanish.
Brazilian singer and songwriter Caetano Veloso was honored as the Latin Recording Academy's person of the year in a ceremony on Wednesday. A founder of the 1960s musical movement known as Tropicalia, Veloso continues to to be one of Brazil's most popular and innovative artists at 70 years of age.
(Writing by Mary Milliken; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)