LOS ANGELES - Italian vocalist Laura Pausini won the best female pop vocal album award Thursday at a revamped Latin Grammys being broadcast in Spanish for the first time and showcasing a broad cross-section of music, including pop, salsa, reggaeton and rock.
Pausini, 31, received the nod for her album "Escucha," edging out the night's favorite, alternative singer-songwriter Bebe.
"Thank you so much. I haven't prepared anything because I thought that Bebe was going to win," she said, her voice breaking. "I don't have the list of who to thank because it's at home."
The award was Pausini's first Latin Grammy.
She was followed to the stage by the Texcan group Intocables, which won the award for best Norteno album for "Diez."
Mexican heartthrob Alejandro Fernandez kicked off the live Univision Network telecast from the Shrine Auditorium performing "Canta Corazon" with a virtual waterfall as a backdrop. The singer was nominated for best male pop vocal album for "A Corazon Abierto."
In awards presented before the telecast, Colombian rocker Juanes won the best rock solo vocal award for "Mi Sangre" - his 10th Latin Grammy - while 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 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," while Juan Luis Guerra's "Para Ti" netted the Dominican master of merengue and salsa music the best Christian album.
Puerto Rican-born Elvis Crespo took home the best merengue album award for "Saborealo."
Model and TV personality Rebecca de Alba and actor Eduardo Santamarina were co-hosting the show, which included English-language captions for non-Spanish speakers watching at home.
"The Latin Grammys have come home," proclaimed Santamarina, to loud cheers from the audience.
The broad range of performers nominated reflects the changing face of Latin music, which until recent years had been dominated by traditional ballads, pop songs and regional dance music.
Bebe, of Valencia, Spain, led the awards with five nominations, including album of the year, record of the year and song of the year for "Malo," and best new artist.
Anthony, singer Obie Bermudez, pop sensation Aleks Syntek and rockers J.D. Natasha and Juanes each started the night with vying for awards in three categories.
Anthony was also nominated for best male pop vocal album for "Amar Sin Mentiras" and best tropical song for "Valio La Pena." Colombia's alternative rocker-turned-pop star Juanes was also nominated for had nominations for best rock song for "Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor" and best music video for "Volverte a Ver."
Mexico's Syntek received nominations for record of the year and song of the year with "Duele El Amor" and best music video for "A Veces Fui." Puerto Rico-born Bermudez was nominated for album of the year and best male pop vocal album for "Todo El Ano" and song of the year for the album's title track.
Miami-based newcomer Natasha was up for honors in the categories of best new artist, best rock solo album for "Imperfecta-Imperfect" and best rock song for "Lagrimas."
Among those scheduled to perform included Bebe, Juanes, Tex-Mex crooners Intocable, rapper Vico C and reggaeton superstar Don Omar. Also due to take the stage during the sixth annual awards show were several Latin music greats - Cachao, Ed Calle, Generoso Jimenez, Johnny Pacheco, Arturo Sandoval, John Santos, Bebo Valdes and Orestes Vilato.