“Why not?” said Christine Marsell, a senior majoring in management and marketing, when asked about her reasoning for attending the 2022 Billboard Latin Music Awards. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
On Thursday, Sept. 29, Billboard and Telemundo joined forces to take over the Watsco Center. Thousands of people packed the arena for the chance to sit (or stand) just feet away from some of Latin music’s biggest stars.
Global superstars such as Rauw Alejandro, Maluma and Nicky Jam were set to present awards or perform at the show. Other artists like Bad Bunny — who led this year’s nominations with 10 — were missing in action.
Damaris Rojas Lopez, a senior majoring in public health and psychology, recalled the disappointment she felt regarding the lack of opportunities for UM students to attend last year’s award show despite its on-campus location.
“I was heartbroken,” Lopez said. However, she would not be left waiting outside the event this time around.
OS | LA Productions is an audience filler company that provides both free and paid participation opportunities and casting services. This year, they offered University of Miami students the opportunity to apply to walk the red carpet, participate as seat fillers or watch the show from the stage’s pit.
The company provided interested students with applications, and those chosen to attend the event were notified via text message. Days leading up to the show, invitees were sent various emails and contacted via phone call to confirm their attendance.
Lopez said her experience as a fan in the stage’s pit standing area was unmatched. She spent the evening resting upon the stage. During Nicky Jam’s performance, her proximity to the platform was so close he grabbed her hand.
“I’m still freaking out,” Lopez said.
Other UM students, such as Paul Douillon, a senior majoring in criminology and sociology, attended the ceremony through Tau Sigma Transfer Honor Society. The organization had 33 tickets for members who submitted a form. Applicants were handpicked by their executive board.
Douillon said he enjoyed the end of the show the most. Colombian singer-songwriter Camilo closed the evening with the debut of his latest project “Aeropuerto.” The track was selected as Telemundo’s official song for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Between the stage production and backup dancers of all ages, Douillon was left feeling impressed and glad that he took advantage of the occasion. He wasn’t the only one.
Grecia Rivera, a junior majoring in modern artistry development and entrepreneurship (MADE), appreciated the show providing Latin music with the recognition it deserves.
“It was a really cool experience to see the show live after so many years of seeing it through the TV,” Rivera said. “You can tell the artists were happy to be there and as a fan that always makes the experience be so much better.”
Rivera attended the show with Amelia Tripp, a junior majoring in music therapy who has been delving into the world of Latin music more as of late.
“It was really cool to see how the music and the culture came together to bring the show to life,” Rivera said.
The award show’s schedule was jam-packed. Major wins include Becky G and Karol G’s “Mamiii” for Hot Latin Song of the year, Vocal Event. Rauw Alejandro took home the Latin Pop Song of the Year award for “Todo De Ti.”
Other legendary recognitions were given to Puerto Rican superstar Chayanne, who was honored with the Billboard Icon Award. Nicky Jam was inducted into Billboard’s hall of fame for being a reggaeton pioneer.
On Aug. 22, Bad Bunny released his music video for the track from his latest “Un Verano Sin Ti” album where he paid tribute to Elvis Crespo’s unforgettable “Suavemente” music video, Y2K vibes and all. Crespo returned the favor with his notable performance of Bad Bunny’s “Neverita” before transitioning into his famous “Suavemente.”
Billboard Latin Music Week 2022 wrapped up on Saturday, Oct. 1 with a Billboard En Vivo performance by Bresh at Oasis Wynwood after bringing a week of industry workshops, concerts and intimate networking opportunities.
Billboard’s VP and Latin Industry lead, Leila Cobo said the weeklong celebration of Latin music is designed to bring all the top artists and executives under a single roof.
“No one else does this, and we’re proud to be part of the historic growth of Latin Music,” Cobo said.
One thing is unanimous amongst those students who were able to attend the 2022 Billboard Latin Music Awards — this is just one example of the many perks UM students get from the city of Magic. For those who could not attend the show, be sure to keep an eye out for next year!