Hispanic TV Upfronts 2017: The Good, the Bad, the Beautiful

Enrique Iglesias (aka Henry Churches) rocked the Telemundo Upfront party Monday night

May is my favorite month of the year, and not only because it is my birthday, and spring is blooming and all that crap. It is because in addition to the very serious journalistic work I do everyday, I get to attend some of the presentations, parties and after-parties around the so-called Hispanic TV upfronts.

My favorite part, of course, is trying to cover the not-so-serious side of the three-day-marathon of parties, parties and programming presentations, interviews and business meetings.

Here are some highlights of this year’s Hispanic TV upfronts, which have left this blogger (and her liver) particularly damaged.

CNN en Español: Eñes, Eñes Everywhere!

* Hispanic TV Upfront week officially kicked off with a small, but lively party in New York City hosted by CNN en Español, which insists on putting an eñe on its logo, even though it looks silly and makes no sense whatsoever. This time around, though, the “eñe-offender” made its way to pillows, cookies and chocolates, because why have pass the opportunity to amplify the silliness?

The ‘zucker’ ran away before I could ask him a question

Personally, the highlight of this year’s CÑÑ’s presentation was non other than Jeff Zucker, the mero mero jefe of CNN (sans eñe,) who kicked off the event by addressing the audience in a moderately good Spanish.

Needless to say, this blogger did her best to run after him as soon as he stepped off the thing and tried to ask him who had coached him in the language of Cervantes. Alas, I have to report Mr. Zucker runs way faster than me!

Telemundo

Unlike previous years, Telemundo did not host its own upfront presentation, but was a small part of a much bigger event by parent company NBCU at Radio City Hall. But in an effort to make it up to the many people it didn’t invite to Radio City Hall (ahem, ahem, self,) it treated hundreds of advertising executives, media — and me, of course —  to a lavish party Monday night featuring Enrique Iglesias (also known as The-Singer-That-Makes-This-Blogger-Feel-Like-a-Cougar.)

As usual, right before the event I was able to squeeze past security and reach the so-called VIP area of the Hammerstein Ballroom, where I spotted my friend José Díaz Balart chatting with former Univision star Mario Kreutzberger (aka Don Francisco) who is making a TV comeback on Telemundo — for some reason.

It is important to note there was some kind of “wall” between me and the celebrities, but nothing a crafty Mexican couldn’t get through.

Univision’s ‘Proof of Passion’

Univision’s theme for its 2017 Upfront presentation was “Proof of Passion,” a celebration of the things that Hispanics are so passionate about, namely soccer, family and dancing! Yes, there was the usual stuff about how much my people (i.e. The Hispanics) love soccer, their family and all that jazz. But there were also some fun jabs at Telemundo’s own theme, SHIFT, which Univision simply dismissed as just “a crock of shift.”

“We’ve heard how there’s some kind of shift happening,” said Steve Mandala, Univision’s executive vicepresident of ad sales. “That is a crock of shift.”

LOL.

Univision’s presentation closed with Shakira performing two songs. TWO SONGS, after which she just simply wished us all well and walked away.

Oh and did I mention how RUDE and awful it was for Univision to forgo its lavish luncheon that had become a legend in town? Come on, Randy Falco, that luncheon was literally the only thing that made this blogger get her Latina butt moving and stand the horrors of Times Square.

Are you telling me Univision finances are so bad that you couldn’t afford the spiced pollo of last year? SAD!

‘People en Español’s’ Beautiful Latinos

‘People en Español’s’ Armando Correa insisted so much, that I had to attend his thing

No Hispanic TV upfront would be complete without the funnest party of them all: The People en Español’s 50 Más Bellos bash, an annual ritual for me — and 50 other beautiful Latinos.

This year, the party took place at ESPACE NY, and – unlike previous years – it was much smaller, and the room looked kind of empty at times. On the bright side, it was easier to harass famous, beautiful Latin people and refill my champagne glass way faster than in years before.

Other than me, other beautiful people who showed up included.

María Elena Salinas, looking sharp as ever and drinking tons of water (which is what I should have done)

Thalía, who received an special award for being the Latina that has been featuring more times in the special Bellos issue….

Thalía has appeared more times in the “coveted” Bellos list. Me, on the other hand…

David Chocarro, who was seen posing near some skincare products, but could have used a comb instead… 

… and Lili Estefan, Raúl de Molina, Geraldine Bazán, Gabriel Soto and many, many more famous Latinos whose name I couldn’t really catch after all those liters of … Seltzer water.

Anyhow, everything ended up smoothly and this blogger was able to go back home in one piece, blessed by a beautiful Manhattan night.

BTW: I just realized I’ve been doing is too long…

Shakira Launches Own Fragrance… Sadly Not Called “Waka-La”

Shakira (aka Legally Blond Part III) has finally launched her own fragrance, which according to her very tacky self is a “fresh, elegant and suave aroma, whose main ingredients are jasmine, vanilla and sandalwood.”

The concoction goes by the name of “S by Shakira,” which I think is, like, booooring! Had the Colombian asked this blogger for advice, I would have suggested Waka-La (or -if looking to attract the Mexican market- she could also go for Guácala.)

The ‘Waka Waka Gate’ Heats Up. Vargas Says Shakira Plagiarized a Song He Took from Someone Else

[ UPDATED: Wilfrido Vargas this week came forward to deny reports of a potential lawsuit against Shakira.]

The Waka Waka Gate -which I am proud to have partly initiated– is about to become more interesting.

Turns out Dominican composer Wilfrido Vargas is, like, pissed. Now, he claims Shakira plagiarized his song, El negro no puede.

Truth be told, neither Wilfrido nor Shakira can claim ownership of the now infamous Waka Waka. As you have been reading in this blog -and everywhere else for that matter- the song precedes both Vargas and Shakira. It is, in fact a popular African song based on an African military melody, Zangalewa, popular throughout the continent.

So, if anyone is about to get rich (or richer) with the Waka Waka, let’s dig a bit deeper and see who owes what to whom. And if anything comes out of this whole mess, this blogger wants her share. LOL.

Way Before Shakira Reached Puberty, the Waka Waka Was Called ‘El Negro no Puede’

If you are remotely familiar with Univision and it’s exclusive Spanish-language rights to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, I’m certain you have heard the now ubiquitous Waka-Waka, a melody everybody wants us to believe was written from scratch by the super famous 33-year old Colombian singer Shakira.

Well… years before the hip-queen even reached puberty, the Waka-Waka was already a sensation, first performed live on Latin American television by the wonderful Las Chicas del Can, under the original title of Waka-Waka: El Negro no puede, freely translated by myself as: Waka-Waka The Black Guy Can’t Get it Up.

So, without further ado, here are both versions. Watch and judge for yourselves…

Which is your favorite Waka-Waka?

Hat tip: Carlitos [manito] Tropical


CBS Wants you to Know Shakira is an Ivy League Graduate, Somehow Linked to ‘Sex and the City’

UPDATED: SEEMS LIKE SOMEONE AT CBSNEWS.COM READ THIS BLOG, SO THE COLUMBIA SLIP-UP HAS BEEN FIXED ONLINE. [THANK GOD FOR SCREEN GRABS]

Turns out Univision’s CEO, Joe Uva, is not the only who is nuts about things hailing from Columbia.

CBS Katie Couric recently sat down to interview Shakira, upon which she concluded the singer is some sort of a Colombian version of Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw.

Yet, someone at cbsnews.com thought it was much more appropriate -and less third-worldly- to make the singer a ‘Columbian’ instead of a Colombian.

Click here to watch the full interview with the “Columbian” singer, formerly known as a Colombian singer.