International superstar Shakira is officially this year’s Person of the Year, an award she received from the Latin Recording Academy during a star-studded tribute event last night that included a special performance by the Colombian singer’s father.
Latin music’s brightest stars paid homage to the 34-year-old singer during the event at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay. They performed some of biggest hits, including “La Tortura” and “Estoy Aqui” during the two-hour salute to a career that has spanned decades and crossed international borders.
Shakira delightedly watched artists like Cristian Castro, Franco de Vita, Alejandra Guzman and Gilberto Santa Rosa sing her music and went on stage to hug each one after their performance.
But it was a surprise performance by Shakira’s father William Mebarak that served as the highlight of the night. Mebarak took to the stage mid-way through the event and sang “Mi Niña Bonita” to his daughter.
As Mebarak sang the father-daughter tune often heard at Latino weddings and birthday parties, pictures of him with Shakira, flashed on a screen behind him.
“Thank you, daddy, for that song,” Shakira later told her father in Spanish.
Marc Anthony later presented Shakira with her Person of the Year plaque.
“We are in the presence of one of the most special human beings, one of the most talented human beings you will ever meet,” Anthony said.
Shakira—who has sold more than 60 million albums in Spanish and English—is the youngest person to receive the prestigious award. Previous honorees include Carlos Santana, Gloria Estefan and Julio Iglesias.
“I’ll carry this night with me always,” she declared in Spanish after receiving the award. “It’s an honor that I am not sure I deserve, but you’ve made me very happy.”
She ended the night with a performance of “En Barranquilla me quedo,” a tribute to her hometown originally performed by the late Colombian salsa star Joe Arroyo. During the performance, Shakira lifted up the skirt of her sea foam-colored evening gown as she salsa danced across the stage.
And she could get more recognition before the week is over. Shakira’s up for three awards, including album of the year, at this year’s Latin Grammy Awards, taking place tonight in Las Vegas.
It’s no wonder Shakira—who recently ended an international tour to promote her “Sale el Sol” album—has said that 2011 has been a “year of passion.”