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21st Annual Latin Grammy Awards Overcomes Covid Challenges for Nov. 19 Broadcast

PLSN Staff • News • November 24, 2020

Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images

MIAMI – Univision’s exclusive telecast of the 21st annual Latin GRAMMY® Awards, aired Thursday, Nov. 19 and — like most 2020 awards shows — this year’s awards operated a bit differently than previous ceremonies.

More details from PRG (

The telecast included a mix of remote performances filmed from multiple cities all over the world, along with the main event broadcast from Miami’s American Airlines Arena. Featuring a line-up of Latin music superstars such as Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, Anuel AA, Camilo, Bad Bunny, Karol G, Anitta, Fito Páez, Pitbull, and J Balvin, among others, this year’s show reached 5.7 million total viewers 2+ and delivered all-new high-water marks on social with 11.8 million total interactions on social.

J Balvin, Bad Bunny and Karol G led the nominations this year, giving the urban genre some well-deserved recognition. Singer-songwriter Natalia Lafourcade ended up being the big winner, sweeping all three categories she was nominated in, including Best Alternative Song (for “En Cantos” with iLe) and Best Regional Song (for “Mi Religión”). She tied with fellow artists Rosalía and Carlos Vives for the most wins of the night.

These pandemic era productions pose unique obstacles for designers and producers. One of the biggest challenges, outside of staying healthy, testing every member of the crew multiple times, and abiding by the plethora of governmental guidelines, is replicating the energy lost by a live audience. In this instance, a very limited offscreen audience of 200 lent a bit of atmosphere to the performers in the massive arena setting.

Photo provided by PRG

As the necessity for entertaining a live audience is eased, a bit of relief comes in the form of pre-taping certain performances and the ability to achieve music video levels of production. In the live portions of the show, camera angles — that would typically disrupt an in-house audience — are now able to bring a cinematic feel to the final product.

In one of the five international broadcasts of the evening, Bad Bunny performed two tracks from his 2020 Latin GRAMMY-nominated LP, YHLQMDLG, “Bichiyal” and “Si Veo A Tu Mama.” The singer, draped in a silver sequined track suit, crooned out the window of a white sports car as four wheelers encircled him on the streets in his hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Photo provided by PRG


Design for the Latin GRAMMY Awards stage started back in August by Set Designer Jorge Dominguez in collaboration with the show’s Executive Producer Jose Tillan, and Assistant Producer Charlie Singer. The team also partnered on Univision’s Premios Juventud which was the first live awards show in the States since the pandemic hit. While it went off remarkably smoothly, it served as a conceptual testing ground for Dominguez and team.

After Premios wrapped, Tillan decided the official theme for the Latin GRAMMY would be “Music Makes Us Human.”

“With everything we were encountering with quarantine, music was the thread that connected humanity,” explains Dominguez, who drew inspiration from viral videos of people around the world playing music from their apartment windows during lockdown.

By broadcasting from five different countries, having artists perform from their homelands, and recognizing reggaeton and trap artists – Latin urban genres that had been previously snubbed in award ceremonies – the global appeal of Latin culture and music was beautifully and thoughtfully highlighted by the Latin Recording Academy.


Photo provided by PRG

“The remote stages spread the wealth of jobs throughout the production community and showed the influence of Latin Music around the world,” said lighting designer Tom Kenny, who was responsible for the colorful, glamorous looks on the main stage in Miami.

Kenny’s vivid color looks came from Robe Pointes, Claypaky Sharpys and Scenius profiles. The lighting and video orders were provided by PRG. With a rig of roughly 1,200 fixtures, Kenny had no problem achieving big looks, but also left space for smaller, stripped down moments as well. “I always use a cornucopia of lights, but the GroundControl Followspot system from PRG is fabulous for those intimate performances,” said Kenny.

The LED screens took a starring role in the show, with content by Raj Kapoor and Jason Rudolph as screens producer. Exotic, deep, lush colors filled the ROE CB5 screens and the BM4 Floor throughout the evening. The effect was captivating and elegant, but never busy.

Getty Images


“We had a house band and real musicians, a very classic feel – we can’t let people forget how great live music is,” said Kenny. “It was important that we provided an escape to everyone at home while celebrating the influence of Latin music in the world.”

“Our team onsite knocked it out of the park, especially our video crew with Luke Lewis leading the charge as project manager of this show. Saying, “no” is not in his vocabulary,” said PRG Account Executive Anthony Ciampa.

“I have to give a lot of credit to the guys at PRG – they have been integral to this entire process,” agreed Dominguez, who had, for an added hurdle, just come off a surgery during the production. “When you’re trying to jump start the industry with these kind of events, we all have a vested interest and they stepped up to the plate like they were part of our core production team.”

Pitbull performs with First Responders (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for The Latin Recording Academy )

Article written by Erin Bates

Credits & Crew:

Executive Producer: Jose Tillan

Set Design: Jorge Dominguez

Lighting Design: Tom Kenny

Production Manager: Antonio Parodi

Content: Raj Kapoor

Screens Producer: Jason Rudolph

Gaffer: Alex Flores

Gaffer: John Ellar

Lead Carpenter: Jesus Fragoso

Lighting Director: Mark Butts

Lighting Director: Ronnie Skopac

Lighting Director: Fuji Convertino

Screens Programmer: Tim Nauss

E2 TD: Duane Wright

Screens Control Engineer: Josh Fleitell

Content Manager: Kelly Austin

Project Manager/LED Programmer: Luke B Lewis

LED Lead/Crew Chief: Josh Marrano

LED Techs: Pablo Moreira, Colton Carroll, Mike Sienkiewicz, Omar Montes Rangel

Lighting Techs: Tim Donovan, Mikey Smallman, Adam Haigin, Russ Keitel


Lighting and Video: PRG

Audio: Firehouse Productions

Comms: Professional Wireless

Cameras: Univision


PRE-SHOW crew:

Lighting Designer/Director: Rene Garcia

Gaffer: Jason Uchita

Programmer: Chris DeLorenzo

Techs: Ramon Furelos , Cris Estrada, Sylvio “Riff” Romanello, Andres Vietto, Edward Miyares




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