Daddy Yankee Returning as a Coach for Telemundo’s “La Voz Kids”

Daddy Yankee is ready to kid around…

The 38-year-old Puerto Rican singer is returning as a coach for the fourth season of Telemundo’s La Voz Kids alongside fellow returning coaches Natalia Jimenez and Pedro Fernandez.

La Voz Kids Daddy Yankee

La Voz Kids, scheduled to air this spring, features the young voices of the nation.

The new season, filmed at Universal Studios Orlando, offers the audience the opportunity to witness the development of future stars.

Last year, Jimenez’s team had the victory, when Jonael Santiago was selected the winner of the third season. Winners are determined by the audience and Santiago got votes from more than 1.2 million viewers.

Like The Voice, La Voz features three rounds: Blind Auditions, Battle Rounds and the Final Stage. This season, the coaches will have the opportunity to save a contestant from the audience during the Battle Rounds with a new “Wild Card” system. During the final stage, viewers have the opportunity to vote for their favorites and, with the coaches, will decide who continues in the competition, who will go home and who will be the winner of La Voz Kids for the grand prize: a recording contract with Universal Music Latino.

Santiago Wins the Third Installment of Telemundo’s “La Voz Kids”

Jonael Santiago is the pint-sized voz of the season…

The 11-year-old Puerto Rican dynamo with an outsize personality was declared the winner of the third installment of La Voz Kids, the Spanish-language kiddie version of The Voice on the Telemundo network.

Jonael Santiago

Santiago’s win — determined by audience voting from more than 1.2 million viewers — was not a slam dunk by any means. This third season boasted a particularly talented lineup of finalists, including 11-year-old Shanty Sumaya, a Mexican American from Texas who already plays gigs in her home state and is particularly good at grupero; and 14-year-old Franser Pazosa, a Cuban-born 14-year-old from Portland, Oregon, with a stunning, versatile voice.

Santiago, a diminutive boy who looks younger than his years, couldn’t match their vocals, but he made up for it with stage presence, attitude and dance moves that evoked Bruno Mars and Michael Jackson. His grand finale was Mars’ “Treasure,” a song chosen for him by coach Natalia Jimenez.

“He’s an amazing package,” Jimenez told Billboard after the win. “He can dance, he can sing, he can act. I wanted him to sing something he can move with. He’s really good at singing ballads, but the most impressive thing is seeing him dance and sing at the same time.”

Even Daddy Yankee, a competing coach, agreed. “It’s so entertaining to watch Jona onstage,” he said after Santiago’s final performance.

Santiago competed against contestants coached by Jimenez, ranchera singer Pedro Fernandez and reggaeton star Daddy Yankee, who shared the stage as coaches for the first time in this third season of La Voz. The show, whose previous coaches have included Paulina Rubio and Prince Royce, has become a ratings success for  Telemundo.

La Voz Kids is a variation on The Voice’s format that features kids as contestants, major music stars as coaches and big-name guest performers. For the Sunday night finale, held — as the entire season was — at Universal Orlando, featured performers for the evening, beside the contestants, were Marc Anthony and Gente de Zona, Mexican singer Lucero and La Voz coach Fernandez.

The winner of La Voz Kids gets a $50,000 cash prize from AT&T that goes toward their education, and a recording contract from Universal Music Latino for the production of a song and video. That could go in different directions for Santiago, who moved from Puerto Rico to Miami two years ago to further his training in music and dance and sings equally well in both languages.

“I felt comfortable with ‘Treasure,’” he said of his final performance. His favorite acts, he says are “Demi Lovato — I love her — and Tori Kelly. I really want to record in the studio ‘All In My Head’ by Tori Kelly; she’s awesome.” However, he added, “Spanish is my first language and I came to Miami two years ago and I’m not perfect [in English yet]. I’m Puerto Rican and I always will be and I’ll talk Spanish forever.”

Sanz to Perform at This Year’s Billboard Latin Music Awards

Alejandro Sanz is bringing zombies to the Billboard Latin Music Awards…

The 46-year-old Spanish singer-songwriter will perform “Un Zombie a la Intemperie,” the first single from his upcoming new album, during the awards show on the April 30.

Alejandro Sanz

Sanz’s appearance will mark the worldwide television premiere of “Un Zombie a la Intemperie.”

The song will be included on Sanz’ new album Sirope, his 10th studio set. The artist has announced to his over 12 million Twitter followers that the album will be released on May 4.

Sanz, a Latin music superstar who has won more Grammys than any other Spanish artist, has also announced the first dates of what is expected to be a worldwide tour to support the album.

Starting with a concert in Cordoba on July 7, he’ll be performing in Spanish cities throughout the summer, finishing in Seville on Sept. 26.

The Billboard Latin Music Awards, hosted by actress and TV host Gaby Espino and Mexican singer Pedro Fernandez, will also feature performances Wisin, Daddy Yankee, J Balvin, Carlos Vives, Regional Mexican chart topper Julion Alvarez y Su Norteño Banda, Ana Gabriel, Lucero, and special honorees Roberto Carlos and Carlos Santana.

Topping the list of this year’s finalists are Romeo Santos (21 entries), Enrique Iglesias (19), J Balvin (12), Marc Anthony (7), Drake (7), Descemer Bueno (6), Gente de Zona (6), Julion Alvarez y Su Norteño Banda (6), Farruko (6) and Banda Sinaloense MS de Sergio Lizarraga (6).

Thousands Celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City…

There’s no denying that Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is Mexico’s most popular religious and cultural image… And, “La Morenita,” as she called, has become one of the most popular icons of the Virgin Mary throughout Latin America and the world.

On Monday, December 12, hundreds of thousands gathered at the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City— one of the most visited Catholic shrines in the world—to observe the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, an annual celebration that dates back to the 16th century.

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

This year’s observance—which included a special performance of “Las Mañanitas” to the Empress of Latin America by superstars like Lucero, Aracely Arámbula, Pedro Fernández and Gabriela Spanic—commemorated the 480th anniversary of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s apparitions in Mexico, on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, on December 9, 1531.

According to Catholic tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared to a poor 57-year-old recently converted Aztec Indian named Juan Diego and asked him to build a church on the spot where they were standing. He told the local bishop, who asked for proof. When he returned to the hill, Mary gave Juan Diego the requested sign. Miraculously, roses appeared on the hill in the middle of winter, and Juan gathered them in his tilma.
Mary arranged the roses in his tilma with her own hands, and Juan returned to the bishop. When he released the tilma, the flowers fell to the floor and an imprint of the Virgin Mary appeared on the tilma from the residue of the soil and roses.

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Along with “Las Mañanitas,” Monday’s celebration included a performance of “Amor eterno” and special prayer readings.

Gerardo Ortiz Wins Big at the Billboard Mexican Music Awards…

“El Rey del Corrido” Gerardo Ortiz is this year’s king of the Billboard Mexican Music Awards—an awards show dedicated entirely to regional Mexican music, the top-selling genre of Latin music in the United States.

During last night’s awards show at Los Angeles’s Orpheum Theater, the 22-year-old corridor singer won six awards, including Artist of the Year, New Artist of the Year and Male Artist of the Year.

When he wasn’t picking up awards, the Mexican singer, who calls his tunes “progressive corridos,” took the stage to perform “Ese Amor,” his Spanish cover of Bob Marley‘s “Is This Love” led by accordion.

Other award winners included banda and ranchera diva Jenni Rivera, who won Artist of the Year, Female; Larry HernándezVicente Fernández and  Julión Alvarez y su Norteño Banda.

Mexican telenovela star Kate del Castillo and singer Pedro Fernandez co-hosted the show, which also featured performances by Shaila Durcal, Larry Hernandez and Jenni Rivera.

The first-ever Billboard Mexican Music Awards show will be broadcast on Telemundo on October 27 at 7:00 pm ET.