June 21, 2008

“Saving the planet” while putting on a dazzlingly entertaining show were the dual objectives of the fifth edition of Univision’s “Premios Juventud” youth awards show presented LIVE from the BankUnited Center at the University of Miami.

“Premios Juventud 2008” gave awards in 29 unconventional categories of music, sports, fashion, movies and pop culture. Among the night’s biggest winners were reggaeton super-duo Wisin y Yandel, with four statuettes (“CD to Die For,” “My Favorite Video,” “Favorite Urban Artist,” and this year’s newest category “Best Ringtone”), with three awards each, Dominican bachata group Aventura (“I Hear them Everywhere,” “My Favorite Concert,” “Favorite Tropical Artist”), Puerto Rican superstar Ricky Martin (“My Idol,” “What a Hottie,” “He’s got Style”), and singer/actress Jennifer Lopez (“She’s got Style,” “Girl of my Dreams,” and together with husband Marc Anthony, “Paparazzi’s Favorite Target”). Other multiple winners include international pop sensation RBD (with Jowell y Randy “Perfect Combination,” “Most Wanted”), and Mexican pop group Camila (“Best Ballad,” “Favorite Pop Artist”).

In keeping with tradition, the show’s opening was an elaborately produced “mini-movie” that set the theme for the night. As doctors are desperately trying to save an unseen patient, they remove cans and other debris in an operation that seems to bring the patient back to life. With vital signs back to normal, the “patient” is revealed to be the planet Earth itself. Then, the doctors from the operating room appeared live onstage, ripping off their surgical scrubs and facemasks to reveal their identities as international pop group RBD, who then launched into the show’s energetic opening number. Stepping into their other role as hosts of the show, they introduced their co-hosts, wildly popular Univision novela stars Mayrin Villanueva and Eduardo Santamarina.

With cutting-edge production numbers a hallmark of “Premios Juventud,” this year’s edition provided plenty of visual thrills and surprises. Among the highlights were a fully decked-out disco set as the backdrop for Tito el Bambino and Olga Tañón’s electrifying number “En la Disco;” a honky-tonk cantina set for the Tucanes de Tijuana and Akwid number featuring the newly crowned 2008 Nuestra Belleza Latina, Melissa Marty; a spectacular beach party/luau scene for Thalia’s “Ten Paciencia,” complete with bonfire, Polynesian dancers, and even a fire-eater, after which, as a complete surprise to her, Thalia was presented with the “Premio Diva” award; and perhaps the most colorful set piece of the night, a recreation of a typical urban “barrio” neighborhood street scene that conveys the sights, sounds and rhythms of today’s Latin communities, featuring a stage-full of dancers accompanying popular reggaetoneros Angel y Khriz.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening came as pop crooner Enrique Iglesias finished his performance of the hit ballad “Lloro Por Ti” and was joined onstage by the Dominican mega-group Aventura for their first-ever number together.

In what was one of the most emotionally charged segments of the evening, Mexican singer and movie star Pedro Fernández sang a medley of some of his biggest hits, after which he was honored with a special award honoring his outstanding career achievements.

Following another “Premios Juventud” tradition, three scholarships were presented to deserving Hispanic youths by Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos (Academics), singer Luis Fonsi (Music), and soccer superstar Claudio Reyna (Sports).

Preceding the event, a star-studded environmentally-themed “green-carpet” celebrity arrival show was kicked-off by Puerto Rican reggaeton duo Alexis y Fido and Dominican bachata artist Toby Love. Among the many Hispanic stars arriving to walk down the “Premios Juventud” purple carpet were: Alacranes Musical, Marlene Favela, Olga Tañón, Kate del Castillo, Pedro Fernández, Ivy Queen, Flex, Thalia, Fonseca, 2008 Nuestra Belleza Latina Melissa Marty, Paty Manterola, Menudo, Lili Estefan, Luis Fonsi, Tito el Bambino, Pee Wee, Ana María Canseco, Aventura, Maria del Portillo, and Wisin y Yandel, among others. The celebrity arrivals portion of the show aired one hour before the awards ceremony as a special titled “Noche de Estrellas” (Night of Stars) hosted by Carlos Calderón, Lilia Luciano, and Rafael Mercadante.

All of the night’s winners were chosen by fans voting on Univision.com, the exclusive home of “Premios Juventud” online.

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