Latin America. The 23rd Latin Grammy Awards, held at the Michelob Ultra Arena at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, challenged easy categorization, being big, bold and sensually dazzling one moment, and then providing soft, intimate moments the next.
This was evident from the start of the three-hour show, as it began with a brief but intense display of lights and background music, before continuing with a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to the winner of the "Person of the Year", the iconic Antonio. Solís, by three of the co-hosts of the event: Thalía, Luis Fonsi and Laura Pausini.
Regardless of the image it projected, every element of the diverse show flourished for the live audience, as well as the millions watching it on television, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Univision set designer Jorge Domingues and lighting designer Tom Kenny.
"Jorge and I work very closely," Kenny said. "In such a big program, there has to be a lot of collaboration. We completed and complemented the work of others. I added lighting to all the initial performances, so we could create different moods and expand the scenic elements."
To help Kenny achieve this vision at the Latin Grammy Awards, an extensive collection of Chauvet Professional Maverick MK3 Wash accessories, Color STRIKE M motorized strobes and COLORado PXL Bar 16 tilting slats were found in equipment supplied and installed by 4Wall Entertainment.
Building on the wide range of performance features in these accessories, Kenny had his platform to play a variety of roles in the show, which featured performers and honorees from 30 different countries. This versatility was especially important given the diversity of artists and honorees on stage, who ranged in age from 15 to over 90, and represented a myriad of musical genres.
While creating his wide mix of looks, Kenny always had to be careful to keep each of them camera-friendly. "We fill the space for every camera angle," he said. "My live experience has taught me to be generous in the looks we create, but minimalist at the same time. This approach has worked for me in the world of television. I try to create an overall atmosphere for the audience on-site and at home without being intrusive. Sometimes LDs with no experience in this environment forget it's not their show and ultimately it's not for the people in the room, it's about television."
To keep coverage and color soft and consistent on set, Kenny relied on his team's 133 Maverick MK3 Wash accessories. "They were the workhorse in this show," he said of the RGBW accessory. "Because of their performance, we can trim them very high while continuing to give us great reach. We can get a great wash light without shutting out the crowd. Another good thing is that their power requirements are minimal."
Passion in many forms swept through the Latin Grammys, from the futuristic and spacious sounds of Rauw Alejandro performing songs from his album "Saturno," to the sophisticated cabaret styles of John Legend and Sebastían Yatra performing "Tacones Rojos," to the homely lifestyle. Ranchera style duets by Christina Aguilera and Christian Nodal. Kenny accentuated the feelings behind each song with vibrant colors often from his Color STRIKE M accessories.
"We created moods with Color STRIKE M, while at the same time relying on them to expand the scenic elements of the set," he said. "I like their size and the huge impact they create. Some of them on our equipment were used to sound the main video screens, integrating those elements more closely into the set. Others were used in the inputs for wide shots."
The platform's COLORado PXL Bar 16 accessories added shape to the stage. "We used them to create concentric lines and shapes that helped define the scenario with color," Kenny said. "They were also invaluable in illuminating hard-to-reach locations, which helped us have a more complete stage for the TV camera."
The close collaboration with fellow stage designer, Domingues, made it easier for Kenny to place each lighting device in the optimal place on stage, so that he could make the best possible contribution to the final production. The fluid collaboration on this show was not limited to two designers. Kenny also attributes the success of his efforts to colleagues David Cortina, Mike Appel, Alex Flores, John Ellar, Mikey Smallman, Adam Haigin, Ivan Latino, Russ Keitel, Ronnie Scopac, Uli and Univision's Uji, Marcelo Gamma and The House of Sam.
Working together, the design team created a show that reflected the best of Latin music in all its iterations. It was, in Kenny's words, "a night of incredibly beautiful music complemented by a breathtaking visual spectacle." In short, a perfect way to pay homage to this vibrant genre.