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US politics takes centre stage at Latin Grammys

The ceremony was preempted by Barack Obama’s speech announcing a new immigration order.

Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias. Picture: EPA.

LAS VEGAS - Enrique Iglesias and Uruguayan singer Jorge Drexler were the big winners at the annual Latin Grammys on Thursday in a ceremony where US immigration politics played a prominent role.

Iglesias won three Latin Grammys, including song of the year, while Drexler and French-Chilean singer Ana Tijoux won record of the year for their song Universos Paralelos.

Late Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia, whose album Cancion Andaluza won album of the year, won two Latin Grammys, the Latin music industry's top honours. The renowned musician died of a heart attack in February at age 66.

But US politics and President Barack 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 start of the ceremony was preempted by Obama's speech announcing a new immigration order, a core issue for US Hispanics.

The audience applauded the conclusion of Obama's speech, and 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 Spaniard said.

Colombian singer Carlos Vives, who won two awards, concluded his acceptance speech for best contemporary tropical album, Mas + Corazon Profundo, by dedicating the award to Obama.

The 15th Latin Grammys, broadcast in the United States on Spanish-language network Univision, was hosted by Mexican actors Jacqueline Bracamontes and Eugenio Derbez. The winners are chosen by voting members of the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Venezuelan-born singer Mariana Vega won best new artist, and Spanish singer Joan Manuel Serrat, 70, won the person of the year honour given for career contributions.

Eclectic Puerto Rican group Calle 13 also won two awards.

Top-line performances during the show included Ricky Martin performing his song Adios and a duet with Mexican band Camila performing the ballad Perdon.

US-Mexican guitarist Carlos Santana performed Oye 2014, a remixed version of his band's hit Oye Como Va, with US rapper Pitbull.

Pitbull took the stage again with R&B singer Chris Brown to perform the song Control with Puerto Rican reggaeton singer Wisin in a robot-themed rendition.

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