Best New Artist nominee Anuel AA closed out the Latin Grammy Awards with a performance of deep cuts from his latest album Emmanuel.
In a sea of laser lights, the Puerto Rican superstar upped the dramatics with a haunting performance of his ballad “Estrés Postraumático.” He then headed into the future with his squad of Speed Racer-like female dancers for the tropical “El Manuel.” Instead of retreading past hits like “China,” Anuel put on a show with some fresher material.
Anuel AA was nominated for Best New Artist, but lost to Colombian singer Mike Bahía. His inclusion in the category was a bit jarring for some, as his qualifying album was his sophomore LP Emmanuel and the singer has already earned a high-profile spot in Latin music. He previously topped Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart with his debut Real Hasta La Muerte in 2018.
Anuel AA was also nominated for Record of the Year for his all-star collaboration “China” that worked a sample of Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me” into a reggaeton hit. On that song, he assembled the Avengers of the genre, including his fiancée Karol G, pioneer Daddy Yankee, and chart-toppers J Balvin and Ozuna.
On Emmanuel (the album was titled after Anuel’s legal first name), he also collaborated with stars like Blink-182’s Travis Barker on the Bob Marley-sampling “No Llores Mujer” and rap star Lil Wayne on “Ferrari.” Reggaeton OG Tego Calderón came out of semi-retirement to feature on “Jangueo.”