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Juanes, Sanz Lead Latin Grammys

The language was different at this year's Latin Grammys, but the result was largely the same. Colombian rocker Juanes and Spanish crooner Alejandro Sanz walked off with all the major awards.

Juanes won a leading three trophies at Thursday night's sixth annual Latin Grammys, increasing his record number to 12. Sanz, who won four Latin Grammys last year, collected two more, bringing his lifetime total to nine.

The show, broadcast for the first time on Spanish language cable channel Univision, showcased an expanding range of genres including pop, salsa, reggaeton and rock. The format and the change in language from English to Spanish was welcomed by artists and presenters alike.

"The Latin Grammys have come home," co-host Eduardo Santamarina proclaimed to loud applause as Thursday's night's ceremony got under way at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Juanes, who won five Latin Grammys in 2003, was honored Thursday for best rock song, "Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor;" best music video, "Volverte a Ver;" and best rock solo vocal, "Mi Sangre."

"Each time it's more difficult to be nominated and win. I'm in shock," he said backstage.

Sanz picked up the song of the year and record of the year awards for "Tu No Tienes Alma."

Sanz, who was a no-show at last year's ceremony, dedicated his awards to his father, who died last summer and who had given him his first guitar.

"He will be celebrating with his friends up there," he said backstage.

Perhaps the biggest upset of the night came when Italy's Laura Pausini, one of the few non-Latin artists nominated, beat out Spain's Bebe for best female pop vocal.

"Thank you so much. I haven't prepared anything because I thought that Bebe was going to win," an emotional Pausini said as she accepted her first Latin Grammy. "I don't have the list of who to thank because it's at home."

She told reporters backstage she is grateful for the way Latin music fans have embraced her.

"In all Latin America, I feel at home," she said. "I really feel adopted. It's been 12 years that I've traveled through Europe and to here, learning the language without studying it."

Bebe, the alternative rock singer-songwriter who entered the competition with a leading five nominations, took home only one Grammy, for best new artist.

Dominican merengue and salsa music master Juan Luis Guerra collected two trophies: best Christian album and best tropical song for "Las Avispas."

Guerra said finding religion several years ago has given him a new perspective on life.

"I had no peace. I had to take pills to sleep. Nothing filled me," he said. "One day I heard the word of the Lord."

Puerto Rican singer Obie Bermudez, who was honored as best male pop artist, let loose with a yell and held up his Grammy, his first, in jubilation.

"I feel like a little kid," he said backstage. "I'm very, very happy."

This year's show was not only notable for being produced in Spanish but for also showcasing a broader variety of Latin artists and musical styles than previous years.

The show's production numbers included Guerra's classic tropical hit "Ojala Que Llueve Cafe," Don Omar's Puerto Rican Reggaeton music, and Mexican heartthrob Alejandro Fernandez's pop performance of "Canta Corazon," complete with a virtual waterfall as a backdrop.

The show's rousing finale featured winged dancers in the aisles and brought the audience to its feet.

In awards presented before the telecast, Mexican rockers Molotov collected the best rock album by a group or duo.

Los Angeles-based alternative rockers Ozomatli picked up the alternative music album award for "Street Signs," and pop star Marc Anthony's album "Valio La Pena" earned the singer the best salsa album award.

Mexican singer Luis Miguel, known best for sultry ballads, picked up the Ranchero album prize for "Mexico En La Piel."

Puerto Rican-born Elvis Crespo took home the best merengue album award for "Saborealo."

In Portugal, Colombian pop star Shakira won the Best Female award at the MTV Europe Music Awards. The singer was very surprised to receive the accolade. "I can't believe this," Shakira said. "I didn't expect it so I don't have a speech," she added, thanking fans in perfect Brazilian Portuguese.

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