Shakira's fiance told her to tone it down

Colombian singer Shakira has revealed that her fiance told her to tone down her sexy image.

The 32-year-old Latin singer is engaged to Antonio de la Rua, 36, who is the son of the former Argentine president Fernando, 72.

In the video for her single She Wolf, she dances in a cage and appears to dance in just high heels and a black belt.

She said: "He did not expect that at all. When he saw me in my flesh-toned leotard bodysuit, he was like: 'Could you not have worn a scarf at least?'"

She added: "I kept my cage from my She Wolf video. I may use it some other time.


Aventura premieres new video 'Dile al amor'

Their album, The Last, was certified double-platinum and held the no. 1 spot on the charts for a record 15 weeks; they performed for the president and first lady during last month’s Fiesta Latina at the White House; and their upcoming shows have already sold out on both coasts. Is there anything these Dominican bachateros can’t do? Well, their supremacy will be tested this weekend during the American Music Awards when they face off against Wisin y Yandel and Luis Fonsi for the title of “Favorite Latin Music Artist.”

In the meantime, the Bronx-based boys have just released another single from their top-selling album. The song, titled “Dile al Amor,” has lead vocalist Romeo singing, “I don’t need no love in my life” as he gives up on finding the perfect woman because of all his failed relationships. The video for the track was shot mostly in Brooklyn, with the bridges in the background. It opens with Romeo sleeping soundly while a beautiful raven-haired cupid (or is it cupida?) aims her arrow at him. Flashback scenes reveal the many disillusions our hero has suffered and why he’s determined to stay single.


Ricky Martin raises money for kids

Latin superstar Ricky Martin said Thursday he is teaming up with a German broadcaster to support his foundation and build a youth center for children in his native Puerto Rico.

Multi-Grammy winning artist Martin told The AP he is joining RTL on a telethon to raise money to build the center in Loiza, near the capital, San Juan.

"The idea is to build a center, a safe haven for children that are at risk of exploitation, which is the main mission of my foundation."

The RTL telethon Thursday and Friday is also raising money for other international and German children's charities.

The center in Loiza will be able to accommodate 150 children and will offer them art classes, meditation,
martial arts and yoga, Martin said. It has been designed by University of Puerto Rico architecture students, and construction is to get under way next year.

"It's just to show them another aspect of life they don't know because of the way that they live," he said, adding that the town has a 50 percent dropout rate in its schools.

"We need to show them the beauty of having a dignified life."

The "Livin' La Vida Loca" singer said his own twin boys, born in 2008 to a surrogate mother, would be regulars at the center themselves.

Martin said it would be valuable for the boys, Valentino and Matteo, to be able to mix with other people who had different lives.

"They're 16-month-old beautiful boys. They're healthy and surrounded by love. I learn something from them every day."

Martin said his Ricky Martin Foundation, founded in 2004, is also working on other projects like helping victims of human trafficking.

"Thousands of children are trafficked around the world," he said. "This isn't necessarily a problem of poverty but an issue of values. It's the slavery of a new era and I hope to abolish it."

Martin said he'd be back in Germany on a tour next September. He's currently in the studio working on a new album and expects a single as well as a book he's working on to be released next spring.

Ricky Martin Foundation:


Alejandro Sanz boards Paraiso Express

Alejandro Sanz is, in some ways, the thinking fan's Latin-pop star. His odes to love and confesiones del corazón have always boasted thoughtful lyrics and interesting, intricate arrangements. He never goes for the obvious, but he's still managed to keep the swoon factor high over the span of seven studio albums.
Even current single Looking For Paradise -- a joyous,bilingual duet with Alicia Keys -- has become a social statement of sorts. Sanz encouraged fans and friends (incuding Shakira, Juanes, Ricky Martin and Eva Longoria Parker) to upload videos of themselves describing their ideal paradise.

Paraiso Express, online and in stores Tuesday, continues the trend. And it finds Sanz a bit more relaxed in his overall approach and delivery. The breezy tone is largely thanks to lush, lovely production from Tommy Torres (an accomplished singer in his own right). Sanz says he ruled out the flamenco he often favors, going instead for a more international, rock-based sound.
One of Sanz's biggest assets is his unmistakable vocal rasp -- it adds a world weariness to every tune he tackles. He's filled Paraiso Express with mature ballads and soulful midtempos that find him looking, yearning, hoping for love.
Mala lurches along, all guitars and horns, like the titular femme fatale; and Tu No Tienes La Culpa details, with real ache, a complex relationship where no one is to blame.

Desde Cuando, Pero Esta Tarde No Te Vas and Nuestro Amor Sera Leyenda are vocal master classes -- gorgeous exercises in holding back and going full-throttle heartbreak at just the right moments.
He gets playful during kickoff track Mi Peter Punk, but for the most part, Paraiso Express finds Sanz on a slow, steady journey through the many aspects of love.


Billboard Latin Music Awards Move to PR

The Billboard Latin Music Awards will take place in Puerto Rico in 2010.

It'll be the first time the prize giving has been held outside Florida in its 20-year history and Latino stars are thrilled by the news, which was announced at a press conference on Tuesday morning (17Nov09).
Colombian star Juanes tells, "I celebrate with great joy the fact that Puerto Rico will be the location for the Billboard Latin Music Awards. All the music in the region, in the island of music."

Enrique Iglesias adds, "What great news, the Billboard Latin music awards in the island. I'm sure that they will be historic."  And Puerto Rico native Ricky Martin states, "My island has always been witness to important musical events and for it to be the location for the 2010 Billboard Latin Music Awards brings great pride to our culture."

The awards will take place on 04/ 29/ 2010 at the Conrad in San Juan.


SHE might be one of music’s biggest stars — but Jennifer Lopez still gets nervous!

The Do It Well hitmaker admits she’s terrified about performing her new single, Louboutins, at Sunday night’s American Music Awards.

Lopez’s performance will include fireworks and an on-stage costume change.

“Dancing again, singing, the lights and the costumes — it all feels like second nature,” said Lopez of her first live TV performance in quite some time.

“You know what you’re doing and you feel very good about it, but at the same time, you wouldn’t be human if you’re not afraid,” she added.

Other artists set to perform at the 37th annual American Music Awards include Rihanna, Adam Lambert, Whitney Houston, Green Day, Lil’ Wayne, Lady Gaga, Eminem, Keith Urban, Jay-Z and Carrie Underwood.

40-year-old Lopez — who welcomed twins Max and Emme in February last year — recently revealed that becoming a mom has made her “glow from within”.

“Right now, I am at a place in my life where I feel immense happiness and fulfillment,” she said in October.

“It’s the kind of happiness that makes you glow from within, just like the special glow women get when they’re pregnant and when they’re falling in love with their babies.

“Being a mother has changed the way I look at my work in a very positive way. I want to be able to create and be part of things that I know my children will be proud of one day.

“It has really helped me stay focused on what is important and what is right for me.”


(ABC) What would you do? Latino Hate Crime

Check out this episode of what would you do? "latino hate crime"

Lopez Tonight averages 1.6 Million viewers

TBS’s “The George Lopez Show” averaged 1.6 million viewers its first week, a very solid week based on modest expectations.

TBS sent out a release gleaning the best data from the first week. His viewers’ median age was 33, the youngest among late-night talk shows.

Among 18-49 and 18-34 demographics, he beat season-to-date averages of shows such as “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” (Kimmel is on at 12:05 a.m. and Ferguson starts at 12:35 a.m. but Stewart is head to head with Lopez.)

About one-third of his audience came from Hispanics and 24% came from African Americans.

The four-day total on TBS was 1.8 million Monday, 1.4 million Tuesday, 2 million on Wednesday (after Tyler Perry’s shows) and 1.3 million Thursday.


YouTube + Univision = TuTube

YouTube said Monday that it reached an agreement with Univision, the most-watched Spanish language television network in the United States, to make a wide range of its programs available on the video sharing site.

YouTube described the deal, the latest in a series of agreements with owners of professionally-produced programming, as one of its most comprehensive agreements for TV content. The agreement is nonexclusive and includes short clips as well as full-length TV shows from Univision’s three networks, Univision, TeleFutura and Galavision.

YouTube has been on a quest to acquire rights to more professionally-produced content, which is more attractive to advertisers than clips uploaded by users.

The agreement, however, does not include content from Televisa, a Mexican media company that owns rights to some of the most popular telenovelas and serialized dramas that are broadcast on Univision. (Univision and Televisa recently settled a lawsuit in which the Mexican company accused Univision of breaching the companies’ revenue-sharing contract.)

Chris Maxcy, the head of content partnerships at YouTube, said the deal would appeal to one of YouTube’s fastest growing audiences, Latinos in the United States. YouTube already has content from some TV networks and producers in Latin America and Spain.

Kevin Conroy, president of Univision Interactive Media, said the network would upload to YouTube a combination of catalog content and new programming, including popular shows like Nuestra Belleza Latina, El Show de Cristina, Don Francsico Presenta and Escandalo TV.

YouTube and Univision refused to disclose financial details of the agreement. But YouTube said the two companies would share revenue generated through advertising.


Shakira Feat. Lil Wayne "Give it up to me"

Check out Shakira's new single Feat. Lil Wayne.  Let us know what you think.

Latino leaders sparking youth interests

Today's youth are tomorrow's doctors, lawyers and teachers. And Latino leaders want to motivate those students to be the next responsible and educated leaders for future generations.

"They just need to be pointed in the right direction," said Fran Aguilar, director of San Joaquin County WorkNet and president of the San Joaquin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

San Joaquin County mirrors the diversity of California, the largest minority group being Latino (more than 30 percent).

With diversity comes challenges, as some minority groups generally have more socioeconomic barriers, ranging from low academic achievement to gang-risk factors.

Motivational events are one way community leaders are trying to reach and inspire youth to refrain from destructive behavior, stay in school, be productive, make good decisions and keep striving.

"We really wanted these students to know what the opportunities are," said Aguilar, who was part of organizing the local League of United Latin American Citizens' Youth Leadership Conference, held earlier this month at San Joaquin Delta College.

Considering that these challenges are fixable, Aguilar said, the county is rather fortunate to have a large youth population to replace baby boomers who are beginning to leave the work force. "All we need to do is focus on educating those individuals," Aguilar said.

The conference followed another youth empowerment summit in October, held by an organization known as ESPINO. That event focused on keeping youth out of prison.

Other such motivational conferences include:

» Tracy Hispanic Business Group holds an annual youth gathering in partnership with Tracy Unified School District.

» San Joaquin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce collaborates with University of the Pacific on an annual financial aid and college workshop event.

» Jose Hernandez Reaching for the Stars Foundation also puts on a youth conference that promotes science, technology, engineering and math careers.

The most recent youth leadership conference drew about 1,200 students from throughout San Joaquin County. Many were chosen for participation by their counselors and teachers.

The conference featured an array of workshops that not only explored everyday personal issues but also weaved those topics into career and educational workshops.

Community professionals led presentations about their careers. There were discussions about preventing teen pregnancies, healthy interpersonal relationships, domestic violence, saying no to drugs, money management and the consequences of crime.

"Who wants to be a dropout and only make $27,000 a year?" Aguilar asked the students. "Who wants to have a master's degree and earn maybe over $71,000 a year?"

That answer was clear when the crowd cheered for the last question.

"I think it was great," said 16-year-old Isela Valentin. "It just make me want to go further than I wanted to before."

Valentin, whose parents are farm workers, said she plans to be the first in her family to graduate from high school and go to college. "I want to go as far as possible so I can help my family," said Valentin, an Edison High School junior.

Conference keynote speaker Maria Teresa Hernandez, a public health researcher at University of California, Berkeley, talked about the shortage of Latinos in the health and medicine industries.

Even though 30 percent of the state's population is Latino, less than 5 percent work in the health field, she said. "The people who fill those shortages are you."

Latinos are filling lower-end jobs, and that's wasted potential, she said.

Leopoldo Nuno, 15, was also encouraged by the messages from Hernandez and Aguilar.

Nuno, who aspires to be an automobile engineer, said his family recently migrated from Mexico so that he and his siblings can have a good education.

"Aprendi a no rendirme para alcanzar mis metas," said Nuno, a sophomore at Escalon High School.

"I learned to not give up in order to reach my goals."


Wisin y Yandel Recruit T-Pain

Found this on MTV Website. Check it out!

Paulina & Don to present Miss Colombia 09

Singers Paulina Rubio and Don Omar are confirmed to present the coronation finale of Miss Colombia 2009 in Cartagena de Indias November 16.

Rubio will share the stage with Colombian musician Jorge Celedon the night that te new national beauty queen in elected and Don Omar will be joined by tropical pop group Mauricio y Palo de Agua for the bikini parade, reported news station La FM on Monday.

In addition to these two Latin celebs there will a vibrant array of artists who will be accompanying the various competition categories such as 'most beautiful face', 'best body', the couture costume parade and the galas.
Controversy has surrounded this years competition with regard to the unlawful dismissal and subsequent reinstatement of one of the contestants, Diana Salgado.


Don Omar 'Hasta Abajo' - New Song

Don Omar's 'Hasta Abajo' is the debut single included on his forthcoming re-release album, 'Prototype 2.0,' set to hit stores in early 2010. This energetic and powerful hit -- produced by Eliel -- brings us back to reggaeton's Latino hip-hop roots, luring us on the dancefloor with it's prominent raga beats. Be sure to listen to the new single on AOL Radio's Reggaeton/Urbano station.


Daddy Yankee taking music classes

Reggaeton singer Daddy Yankee has told a Mexican newspaper that he's taking music classes — 17 years after he started his career.
The Puerto Rican star says he has been taking classes on keyboards and expects to graduate in another year and a half.

Daddy Yankee tells the newspaper El Universal in a story published Tuesday that he once started music study but dropped it. He says he started up again a few years ago.

He says the formal studies have influenced his performances. "Before, I had to hum the melody to my producers; now I can play it on the keyboard and I feel comfortable, accomplished," he says.

The artist's real name is Ramon Ayala and he is best known for his song "Gasolina."


Dobbs will turn up in politics

It is only fitting, and hardly surprising, that Lou Dobbs has once again decided to part ways with CNN.
The long-time anchor, who helped launch the cable news network in 1980, announced his resignation yesterday, effective immediately.  It's not the first time he's resigned abruptly.  He once stormed out because producers broke away from his show to cover a breaking news story.  Dobbs returned two years later, after a change in station management.

There had long been rumors of mutual dissatisfaction between Dobbs and CNN, a rift that has grown more heated sinced 2001 when he began espousing his anti-immigration views almost nightly.

While Dobbs' views usually stopped short of spilling over into Limbaugh-esque hatemongering, he had a hard time refraining from crossing that journalistic border.  Too often, he didn't even try.  His anger didn't seem to be limited to illegal immigrants, but to Latinos in general.  Many complained that, while FOX is expected to have a far-right bent, and MSNBC to be left-leaning, viewers tuned in to CNN for balance.  And, with the exception of Dobbs, they were usually able to find unbiased reporting there.

Robert Lovato, co-founder of, said of the resignation, “Our contention all along was that Lou Dobbs — who has a long record of spreading lies and conspiracy theories about immigrants and Latinos — does not belong on the ‘most trusted name in news,’ We are thrilled that Dobbs no longer has this legitimate platform from which to incite fear and hate.”

It's a good thing for both Dobbs and his former employers that he is leaving.  He has long since left the ranks of pure journalism and chosen the way of pure editorialism.  In announcing his resignation, he said, "some leaders in media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond the role here at CNN and to engage in constructive problem solving as well as to contribute positively to the great understanding of the issues of our day."

Oh, brother.  We all know what that means.  See ya on the campaign trail, Lou.  Or, on FOX.


Sammy Sosa Pictures of Latin Grammy

The pictures of Sammy Sosa snapped on the Latin Grammy night has received huge circulation in the internet as it shows the former baseball player having white skin. Sosa, who was a popular baseball player and had black skin throughout his gaming career. His bleached skin photographs has surprised people and some have compared him to Michael Jackson, who had changed his skin color several times.

Like many other Sosa’s friends, Rebecca Polihronis, who was an employee of Cubs was surprised to see his new look. However, she has justified the reason for Sosa’s white skin and said, “he is going through a rejuvenation process for his skin.” She also stated that Sosa himself was astonished to see the new color of his skin. Polihronis added that Sosa does not want to follow Michael Jackson, who had changed the color of his skin, he was just undergoing dermatological treatment to keep his skin healthy after playing several years in sunlight.

Though Polihronis has stated the cause of Sosa’s bleached skin, people have not stopped making speculations. Some considered that the baseball player takes steroids, which caused vitiligo and resulted to this new skin color. The news of Sammy Sosa’s changed complexion has spread like a wildfire and received more importance than many other important happenings of the Latin Grammy Night. The pictures of Sammy Sosa accompanied with Sonia Sosa [his wife] has gained mixed comments from people, who were perplexed to see his bleached skin. Though some considered that he was not looking bad in his white complexion, some considered that Sammy Sosa looked better in his black complexion.


Lopez Tonight a Party atmosphere

After being a guest on almost every late-night talk show, George Lopez enters the fray as host of “Lopez Tonight,” premiering tonight at 11 on TBS.

Anyone who has watched TBS recently no doubt has seen the commercial with President Obama telling Lopez that his show is “change I can believe in.”

“He was really funny because he played it really dry,” Lopez said in a recent telephone interview from Los Angeles. The bit was filmed while Obama was still a candidate.

Lopez spent time on the campaign trail stumping for the future president and realized there that the time was right to host a talk show.

“I would see the people that were coming out and the hopefulness of those people and seeing how they related to me,” he said. “And knowing that late-night TV was in a bit of decline, I thought that there was an opportunity for something to happen like it happened 20 years before with Arsenio Hall.

“I did ‘The Arsenio Hall Show’ 16 times in five years, so I saw what that inclusive party format looked liked.”

The comedian hopes to bring a similar format back to late-night.

“I don’t just want to do good. I really want to wreck it every night,” he said. “I want to destroy it. I think there is a place to be inclusive, a place to be relaxed, a place to be funny and a place to be spontaneous.”

That means no desk and no pre-show interview. Sometimes members of the audience will ask the guests questions. Ellen DeGeneres, Eva Longoria-Parker and Kobe Bryant will join Lopez for the premiere.

“I’ve been on all the sides of (talk shows),” he said. “But what I didn’t like is the pre-interview that (felt) like you were being interrogated for something that was going to last seven minutes. Jimmy Kimmel was really great at being loose. When you did Leno, you had to stay on point from the first question to the second question to the third question.”

Lopez also brings diversity to a field dominated by white men.

“I think you lead by example. I’ll show (viewers) what America really looks like. They might not see it every day, but they’ll see it here. And maybe in things that we say, in things that we do, it will open people’s eyes to what is already out there, which is just a different color of a world.”



Ugly Betty is on a new day and time this season, but that’s not the only change in store on the series.  America Ferrera tells that her character, Betty Suarez will shed a bit of that cocoon.

But, don’t expect the producers and writers to go crazy-overboard glamming Betty up.  Ferrera says fans are concerned that having Betty change too quickly could possibly cause her to lose her identity.  She points out that everyone connected with the show is sensitive to avoiding that at all costs as well.

The actress also isn’t worried that the Friday night move will diminish the core viewers.  Ferrera is confident the audience will find them - no matter how the show is delivered.

Click onto video for all the subtle changes in store for Ugly Betty from America Ferrera.

Ugly Betty airs 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.


Gabriel Recognised At Latin Grammys

Noted Mexican singer and songwriter Juan Gabriel was honored on Wednesday night as the Latin Recording Academy’s Person of the Year, at an event that witnessed the presence of a number of renowned singers from all across the world. The much acclaimed singer was recognized for his immense contribution in the various facets of Mexican music. The event was held just a day prior to the Latin Grammy Award show which is scheduled to be held in Las Vegas.

When the singer walked the red carpet wearing a sophisticated black jacket and sunglasses as well a impressive jeweled tie pin, all the photographers rushed their way up to the red carpet to catch a glimpse of the celebrated artist. Over the years, Gabriel has been successful in creating a name for himself in the music industry and boasts of a fan following all across the world. The artist is also recognized for penning down around 1500 songs and at the same time selling around 100 million records in all these years. The singer-songwriter who is also fondly referred to as the “divo of Juarez” has an recording experience spanning 30 years. No wonder the artist deserved all the accolades and appreciation that he received on Wednesday’s event.

Gabriel, whose actual name is Alberto Aguilera Valadez was born in extremely poor conditions and had to face a lot of hardships in his early life as he had to spend his growing up years in an orphanage at Juarez, which is a border city. However, he first tasted success in the year 1971 as his song “No Tengo Dinero,” and “I Have No Money,” became chart toppers.


Alejandro Sanz searches for paradise

Whenever Latin pop sensation Alejandro Sanz writes music, he sets off on a "long mental journey" to find inspiration. But when Alicia Keys surprised the singer at a party in New York by joining him in an impromptu jam session, Sanz knew then that he'd found his muse.

"I simply grabbed a guitar and we started to improvise, singing and playing. After that, we decided then that we needed to do something together," he said in an interview. "Working with her was such a marvelous thing. She's a great artist, a great woman, and it turned out to be something marvelous between us."

The end result is reflected in their new duet, "Looking For Paradise."

The 15-time Latin Grammy winner, who has performed on stage with Destiny's Child at the second annual Latin Grammy Awards and who collaborated with Colombian singer Shakira on her 2005 smash hit song "La Tortura," said he's found the same work ethic in Keys as he did with his other female counterparts.

Of Shakira and Keys, he said, "The two have things very much in common. For example, when it's time to work, they are perfectionists and they like to be at work until the very last detail is done. They are very much perfectionists and have a sensibility for music."

Despite rumors circulating for months that the 40-year-old raspy-voiced singer was working on a crossover English language studio album, "Looking for Paradise" is the only English track from his upcoming album, "Paraiso Express," due out on Nov. 10.

The music video for the lead song finds the Madrid-born singer and the R&B songstress searching for each other and later meeting up at a rooftop party in New York City — in a symbolic gesture of unity among two singers from different musical worlds.

"The song is so beautiful. It's touching. It's uplifting. It's worldwide. It really talks about the way we're all looking for something and how we can all find it," Keys says in a video posted on Sanz' Web site. "I just love this idea of bringing worlds together. I think that's what it's all about."

"Paraiso Express" is Sanz's eighth studio album in three years, and he linked up with producers Swizz Beatz and Tommy Torres, who has worked with Latin singers Ricardo Arjona and Ricky Martin. He said he hopes listeners will enjoy the journey and "find for themselves the 'Paraiso' within."

"I hope this album motivates listeners to look for their own paradise, that paradise that very often is inside us, although we insist in looking for it in the outside," he said.

On the Net:

Calle 13 Rule Latin Grammys

The big winner at the Latin Grammys in Las Vegas on Thursday night was the Puerto Rican hip-hop group Calle 13, who nabbed all five awards they were nominated for, including Album of the Year (Los de Atrás Vienen Conmigo) and Record of the Year ("No Hay Nadie Como Tú").

"This award, I have to dedicate to many people," Calle 13's René Pérez — a.k.a. Residente — said while accepting Record the Year, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The hip-hop duo — which also features Pérez's stepbrother Eduardo José Cabra Martínez, who raps under the name Visitante — secured additional wins for Best Urban Music Album, Best Short-Form Music Video and Best Alternative Song.

"To all the people who make music in this moment of independent music, to hell with record labels!" Residente said while accepting the alternative-song trophy, according to E! online. "This is the moment for those of us who make real music."

The duo also performed at the show, busting out a rendition of "La Perla," for which they'd won best short-form video, with salsa singer Ruben Blades.

Alicia Keys — whose presence at the Latin Grammys was the reason she wasn't able to perform "Empire State of Mind" with Jay-Z at MTV's European Music Awards in Berlin — took the stage with Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz for a rendition of his "Looking for Paradise."

Other highlights from the awards show included Eva Longoria Parker appearing as a presenter. Enrique Iglesias presented the 2009 Person of the Year award to Mexican singer Juan Gabriel. Alexander Acha, a Mexican singer/songwriter, took home Best New Artist.

Latin Grammys has another spotlight

Calle 13, the Puerto Rican half-sibling, alt-hip-hop duo, is a group that hardly needs more accolades to make its presence known. If not at the pinnacle of their careers, the stepbrothers René Pérez Joglar, the lead singer known as Residente, and Eduardo José Cabra Martínez, a.k.a. Visitante, surely are entering into Andean altitudes.

Building on their huge Puerto Rican following, they've been playing to sell-out crowds in South America and the United States. Already a multiple Latin Grammy and one-time Grammy award winner, Calle 13 leads the pack of this year's Latin Grammy nominees with five.

Among the trophies the duo might haul home from tonight's ceremony at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas are those for album of the year ("Los De Atrás Vienen Conmigo"), record of the year ("No Hay Nadie Como Tú") and best short form music video, for "La Perla," with Ruben Blades, one of tonight's presenters. Calle 13 also is gaining traction with non-Latino listeners; among its recent U.S. gigs was a 2008 performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Yet, speaking by phone recently from Venezuela, where he was on tour, Residente said he was grateful that he and other Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking artists have their own separate event from the Grammy Awards. The Latin Grammys, with 49 categories, targets artists across a spectrum of styles, including reggaeton, cumbia, ranchera and religious music.

The Grammys, with only a handful of Latin categories, necessarily lumps many disparate artists into one thick cultural pozole.

"Music is music, but it's good we have a separate award," Residente said. "They [the Grammy Awards] try to incorporate everything, from Mana to Calle 13, and it's crazy."

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Latin Grammy Awards has found a comfortable niche between registering shifting Latino musical tastes and sensibilities while catering to an awareness that more non-Latinos, both in the United States and elsewhere, are listening to Spanish- and Portuguese-language music.

The show's presenter, the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, no longer feels compelled to argue for its right to a spot in America's saturated entertainment-awards cosmos. And the awards themselves, now broadcast on the Spanish-language Univision Network, have become a lavish, commercially lucrative affair that reflects the growing importance of U.S. Latinos, who as of 2007 made up 15.5% of the nation's population, both as a political and consumer force.

But if the awards have grown to fill out their ambitious expectations, the academy remains a relatively lean operation, said its president, Gabriel Abaroa. Each year, he said, its core staff of 10 people relies heavily on a group of about 350 volunteers to listen to and classify all the recordings. The more money the organization saves on overhead costs, said Abaroa, the more it can focus on identifying and promoting new talent.

"Every single day that an office closes, the last person goes and turns out all the lights and shuts all the computers," Abaroa said. "All the staff that works for the Latin Recording Academy came from Third World countries, where crisis is an everyday word. You learn to be very conservative."

In some ways, the Latin music industry has had to rethink its future in the decade since the Latin Grammys and the academy were launched. Back then, the conventional wisdom was that "the crossover moment had arrived," as Ricky Martin and other artists scored a handful of monster English-language pop hits, Abaroa said. "Ricky delivered the perfect punch at the perfect time in the perfect world."

But that crossover phenomenon never fully arrived, and since then the academy has "become more rootsy, we have gone more to the roots," Abaroa maintained. This was possible in part, he believes, because "the American public is accepting much more that someone can sing in Spanish."

Despite the accelerating mainstreaming of Latino culture -- or, if you like, the Latinization of U.S. popular culture -- the Latin Academy seeks to maintain the legitimacy of Latin, non-English music as a distinct cultural entity. That goal is reflected in its stiff rules governing the proportion of Spanish- or Portuguese-language content that recordings must have in order to be nominated.

For any song category, at least 75% of the lyrics must be in Spanish or Portuguese. Album recordings in all categories must have at least 51% Spanish or Portuguese lyrical content. "You want to make sure the album is as pure as possible in the use of Spanish or Portuguese. It has to respect the poetry," Abaroa said.

Tomas Cookman, president and owner of North Hollywood-based Cookman International and Nacional Records, said that although Latino artists and listeners do care about the Latin Grammys, winning an award seldom does much for a record's sales.


Kid Cudi to Appear on Shakira Album

Shakira is adding to her list of rap collaborators. After recruiting Lil Wayne for her Timbaland-produced single “Give It Up to Me,” she has tapped Kid Cudi for a track on the U.S. edition of her album.

The “Day ‘N’ Nite” rapper appears on the remix to The Neptunes production “Did It Again,” while Pitbull guests on the Spanish remix “Lo Hecho Está Hecho.” A video for the original song was recently released and can be viewed below.

Shakira’s third English album She Wolf lands stateside November 23. Kid Cudi can be seen opening for Lady Gaga’s “Monster Ball” tour beginning November 27 in Montreal, Canada.