Watching last night's Latin Grammys was an occasionally painful, occasionally baffling, frequently choke-on-your-food hilarious experience. I don't really work for Global Rhythm anymore, so I'm not obligated to pay attention, but I checked it out in hopes that at least a few of the performances would be, if not mind-roastingly awesome, at least cooler than those on the MTV Video Music Awards or Wednesday night's CMA Awards. And there were some good ones, along with some not-so-good ones.
First of all, though, what the fuck? Is Juan Luis Guerra dying or something? I understand that merengue, for the most part, is vulgar, ass-shaking music made entirely out of Casio presets, but does that mean the Latin Grammys have to give six trophies to the Dominican Republic's answer to Rubén Blades, only more boring? I can't stand Juan Luis Guerra's voice, I hate his fucking hat, and his music makes all the blood spiral out of my brain. But there he was, all 7'6" of him, thanking Jesus and his wife six goddamn times last night. Bah.
Oh, well. At least he wasn't ripping off more deserving artists, the way Jesse & Joy did, taking Best New Artist over Miranda!, who totally should have won.
But enough about the awards. I don't actually remember who won most of them, except for Aterciopelados, whose matching tracksuits - were they supposed to be parking attendants, or something? - were at least momentarily amusing, even if they're still annoying hippies. I think the whole evening built up to Ivy Queen's performance.
A moment, though, to make fun of Daddy Yankee, and reggaeton in general. All the reggaetoneros (except for Calle 13, who looked like the art-student hipsters they are, right down to the use of native people as fashion accessories, and Wisin y Yandel, who looked okay, except for haircuts so short the hair looked airbrushed on their gleaming skulls) looked like they were at the prom, and acted the part too, throwing gang signs at the camera all the way down the pre-show red carpet. Daddy Yankee attempted to stand out by dressing like a 65-year-old Jewish man; his suit hung on him like he was planning to gain 50 pounds in the very near future, and had informed his tailor in advance, and he performed wearing a hat that looked like he'd dug it out of Walter Matthau's grave.
But anyway, back to Ivy Queen. I know I said awhile ago I wouldn't make fun of her for looking like someone wearing a horse's skull as a mask, and I won't. Last night, she looked like a drag version of Madonna's Japanese phase from a few years ago. She performed "Que Lloren" (and admittedly, her performance was tight and her voice very powerful - the woman does know how to command a track and an audience) in vaguely Chinese - like, if all you know about Chinese culture is Crouching Tiger and paper lanterns in the take-out place, this would make sense to you - garb and surrounded by muscle dudes in gold demon masks. But the best part was the big video screen behind her, which displayed footage of samurai and geishas. Chinese, Japanese...whatever, right? Considering most Latino performers shout out the name of their country almost as fast as they thank Jesus when winning a trophy, she sure was comfortable lumping all Asian cultures together. Stay classy, Ivy Queen.