Music Roundup: Ricky Rules at Premio Lo Nuestro; Janet Jackson Gets Disciplined

In case you’re not one of the 11 million viewers who caught up with our music stars at Thursday night’s Premio lo Nuestro, here’s what you missed. The bachateros of Aventura led the night by winning four awards (including Album and Song of the Year), proving that as long as fans are calling the shots, these new romantics will always come out on top. Merengue legend Olga Tañon closely followed the group with three awards, while on the rock-lite side, newbie Mexican band Camila and stalwarts Maná took home two trophies each. Pop starlet Belindawas genuinely ecstatic to pick up an award for Favorite Female Pop Artist, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t say this: Belinda, stop copying Avril Lavigne’s faux-punk style, por favor, and get back to showing off your true beauty!

The king of the night by far was Ricky Martin, who arrived with a hot new, close-shaven look and won the Best Pop Album award for his Ricky Martin MTV Unplugged disc. More importantly, Martin was bestowed with the Premio a la Máxima Excelencia Award by a very matronly and proud Cristina Saralegui, and his acceptance speech trumped any other we’ve heard in years. Here are a few choice moments:

“This means a lot to me. Humbly, what I try to do is give my best, satisfy myself, and find a powerful way to express myself and share my
concerns with the world…I try to speak in the name of those in the world who are not heard…Like the master, Mahatma Ghandi, once said, the difference between what we are able to do and what we actually do has the power to transform the world. There’s what we want to do, and what we have to do…we must find a balance between the two.”

Truly a tough act to follow…unless, that is, your name is Elvis Crespo, and you’re reviving the “Suavemente” phenomenon with a performance in honor of its 10th anniversary!

Out This Week:

In other news, two hot albums are dropping this week that deserve mention. Let’s kick things off with Janet Jackson, who’s making her third (or fourth, if you’re less generous) comeback attempt with Discipline, and does so by sticking to the tried and true formula that her hardcore fans will never reject. “Feedback,” the album’s grinding debut single, doesn’t match up to the days of “If”and even “Doesn’t Really Matter,” but it’s still quintessential Janet. The rumored second single, “Rock Wit U,” is an obvious nod to her hermano but sounds like straight Euro-pop a la Kylie Minogue (another vet releasing an album this week…our advice: skip it, and just listen to this track!) Meanwhile, the breathy ballads that are a Janet staple are back in full force here. “Greatest X,” her collabo with The-Dream, has a sing-along chorus that sappy chicks will love. That’s three niche fanbases right there, which is a good start. Now, what remains to be seen is whether Janet can reel in a mass audience one more time…

The second noteworthy album of the week is by flamenco/hip-hop collective Ojos de Brujo, who are releasing a live version of their Latin-Grammy winning record, Techarí. This disc was a bold step forward for the group, especially on tracks like the bhangra-heavy “Todo Tiende” and the gorgeous sevillana with swagger, “Respira.” ODB’s queen, Marina “La Canillas” Abad, is a gitana force to be reckoned with, and the group’s two-night gig at Highline Ballroom last June was our favorite concert of the year by a mile, so there’s no doubt that this album is worth adding to your playlist.

--Monica Herrera