Maluma kicked off the 2020 Billboard Latin Music Award (BBLMA) to the rhythm of “Hawái” (”Hawaii”). Wearing all white, the global sensation opened up the show on top of a matching grand piano.
The hit song was released by Sony Music Latin on July 29, 2020, as the second single from Maluma’s fifth studio album, Papi Juancho, and peaked at the top spot, marking the singer’s first Number 1 as a lead act.
Allegedly, “Hawái” lyrics are dedicated to model Natalia Barulich, Maluma’s ex-girlfriend, and Neymar’s current partner. A source close to PageSix revealed that Barulich had no idea about “Hawái” and that Maluma released the song without giving her the heads up. “Maluma did not tell Natalia about the song,” they reported. “He wrote it based on his own personal experiences.” Although Maluma never mentions Barulich or Neymar during the song or the music video, specific hints are hard to miss.
On Twitter, fans reacted to his performance and his looks.
Jesus, I swear Maluma would fix all my inner issues.— $tephanie (@ledesteph) October 22, 2020
El mejor🙏🏽🔥🔥— EMMA (@Isabella050912) October 22, 2020
Besides his performance, the Colombian superstar would be honored with the Billboard Spirit of Hope Award for his commitment and altruistic efforts. In 2016, Maluma founded El Arte de Los Sueños (The Art of Dreams), a foundation dedicated to supporting kids’ dreams.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 BBLMA took place at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, becoming the first award ceremony to include a red carpet and live performances instead of taped performances.
According to Billboard and Telemundo’s parent company, NBCUniversal, to safeguard the well being of every guest, performer, and crew member, they took the required safety measures to avoid any risk of contagion.
Five stages were constructed to allow sanitation between acts and respect the CDC’s social distancing requirements. Each set also has its medical team and a small dedicated crew dedicated to handling red carpet arrivals, video, and graphics.
“It‘s certainly unprecedented for us,” Jeff Mayzurk, Telemundo’s executive vice president of operations and technology, said, according to USA TODAY. ”It’s almost like producing four separate shows.”
Mayzurk also said that everyone had to check their temperature multiple times during the show and had to wear masks when off cameras. “Their responsibility is to make sure people are following the rules and when they maybe get too excited and slip up, to point that out,” Mayzurk said. “Everyone has been taking it seriously ... all the performers, the cast and crew, but they also want to get back to work.”