Pitbull goes off script to pay tribute to Gloria and Emilio Estefan at Premios Lo Nuestro

Univision’s 30th edition of Premios Lo Nuestro had a throwback vibe on Thursday night.

From Daddy Yankee’s Run DMC-inspired performance of his new jam “Dura” to the reappearance of founding presenters Myrka Dellanos and Giselle Blondet to host the magenta carpet, the entire show felt like a trip down memory lane.

The night was filled with tributes, from a girl-powered send up of merengue queen Olga Tañón’s decades of hits to the long-awaited reunion of reggaetoneros Wisin Y Yandel. The audience got to hear a potpourri of favorites from artists who have dominated the Premios Lo Nuestro over the decades. Even Pitbull got to perform a medley of party favorites.

Perhaps the most touching tribute, however, was dedicated to Miami power couple Gloria and Emilio Estefan. The pair was serenaded by popera trio Il Volo, who performed a glorious version of “Con Los Años Que Me Quedan.” Then singer Leslie Grace joined the Miami Sound Machine to belt out jams like “Abriendo Puertas” and “Conga.” Víctor Manuelle punctuated the show with a salsa version of “Mi Tierra.”

The audience was on its feet the entire time, with the Estefans dancing next to niece and “El Gordo y La Flaca” hostess Lili Estefan.

To deliver the tribute to the couple for their contributions to the Latin music industry, Pitbull took the stage and delivered a heartfelt message. The first thing he did was throw out his script: “So I was back there, and they told they had written something for me to say to Gloria and Emilio and I said, ‘No.’ When I say something, it’s from the heart. So I looked up and said, ‘Celia, help me, please. Queen, please help me and the queen said, ‘Azúcar.’ And I told the queen, ‘Dale!'”

So, we are not going to judge Pitbull for talking to the ghost of Celia Cruz. But he did have an interesting point of reference for how close the Estefans were to him, even before he became a household name: “I have lived in a lot of bad neighborhoods in Miami, good neighborhoods, and even worse ones. One of them was Wynwood and in Wynwood my window had a crack and bugs and lizards wouldn’t come in because there was a huge poster of Gloria Estefan.”

Gloria is glad to know her poster kept the cucarachas out, Pit. Mr. 305 also recognized how the Estefans spread Cuban and Latin culture around the world. “I not only want to tell you guys but also thank you for all the doors that you both opened for all Latinos all over the world, for the Cuban community and Cuban culture.”

He closed with another conversation from beyond the grave with Celia Cruz: “And like Celia told me, ‘Tell the princess and the godfather, ‘What’s up?’ It is an honor to be here!”

We just wonder what the script actually said…