By Mike Blake
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Marc Anthony and the late Paco de Lucia were early winners at the Latin Grammys on Thursday after the start of the ceremony was preempted by U.S. President Barack Obama's speech announcing a new immigration order, a core issue for the U.S. Hispanics.
Anthony, 46, won best salsa album for "3.0," while Spanish flamenco guitarist de Lucia's "Cancion Andaluza" won album of the year. De Lucia died of a heart attack in February at age 66.
But U.S. politics and Obama's new immigration order that could allow about 5 million undocumented immigrants to stay and work in the country was as much the focus as music during the televised ceremony in Las Vegas.
The audience applauded the conclusion of Obama's speech, and Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias added his perspective while accepting the song of the year award for "Bailando" via video link from Paris.
"Tonight is not only an historic night for all Latino artists, but for all Latinos who live in the United States," the 39-year-old singer said.
Puerto Rican singer Eduardo Cabra leads all nominees with 10 nods while his band, the eclectic Calle 13, scored nine nominations and songwriter Andres Castro had eight.
Early performances included Ricky Martin and Mexican rock band Camila performing the ballad "Perdon," as well as Colombian reggaeton singer J Balvin and U.S.-Mexican mariachi singer Pepe Aguilar singing "Siempre En Mi Mente" with Spanish crooner Miguel Bose.
(Additional reporting by Alicia Avila; Writing by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Alan Crosby)