| Pop band Supernova during the 3rd Latin Grammy Awards at the Kodak Theater, Hollywood. (AFP)
Hollywood, Sept. 19 (Reuters) - Cancelled last year due to the September 11 attacks, the Latin Grammys returned to Hollywood yesterday in high style to honour Spanish artist Alejandro Sanz, who swept the awards for the second year in a row.
Singer-songwriter Sanz, who won four top awards last year, nabbed the Grammy for best record of the year, for Y Solo Se Me Ocurre Amarte, in a category that honours artists and producers for a commercially released single from a current year's album.
Sanz also won best song of the year, a songwriter's award, for Y Solo Se Me Ocurre Amarte, and best album of the year for his album MTV Unplugged.
Im a little embarrassed from taking this award from Celia Cruz, the singer songwriter said in accepting best album of the year for MTV Unplugged.
Backstage he again said he was embarrassed at his windfall. It came so suddenly. To win two years in a row, it's too much, he said.
Cuban-born Latin legend Cruz, 77, had competed against Sanz for best album and best record, but nevertheless took home the Grammy for best Salsa album.
The third annual Latin Grammys, airing on CBS, got underway with a hot rendition of Celos by Marc Anthony, followed by a rousing duet performance by Colombian rocker Juanes and pop singer Nelly Furtado and a sizzling performance by Mexican singer Thalia who sang No Me Ensenaste on a stage blazing with pyrotechnics.
Latin veteran Carlos Santana and rap/metal rockers P.O.D. also performed a moving rending of a new song titled America from Santana's forthcoming and highly anticipated new album.
A group of demonstrators gathered outside the gala at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre to protest Washington's visa denial for Cuban Grammy nominees.
In awards handed out before the televised ceremony began, Miami native Jorge Moreno took home the Grammy for best new artist, Puerto Rican rapper Vico C won the Latin Grammy for best rap/hip hop album, Mexican singer Guzman won for best rock solo vocal album and Chilean rockers La Ley took won for best rock album by a group with vocal for their album, MTV Unplugged.
Since their inception three years ago, the Latin Grammys and politics have gone hand-in-hand. While all attendees were overjoyed to be there, the sector's challenges were never far from their minds.
I don't think politics and music should be mixed up but I understand a lot of people are still hurting from what Fidel Castro did. I can understand both sides of this issue, best new artist winner Moreno, who is of Cuban descent but grew up in Miami, told reporters backstage.
Last year's gala was overshadowed by controversy even before the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, which occurred on the day the show was to have aired.
Prior to September 11, organisers sparked a firestorm by yanking the show out of Miami and scheduling it for Los Angeles amid fears of anti-Castro demonstrations.
This year, security concerns since September 11 have led US immigration authorities to tighten visa application procedures, leading to the denial of entry into the country for Cuban artists.
To qualify for a Latin Grammy, spanning dozens of categories, ranging from flamenco to samba, rock, classical, salsa, merengue and Mexican regional, an album must be at least 51 percent in Spanish or Portuguese.