Regional Mexican artist Lupillo Rivera, a maverick in the genre who released two successful studio albums within a year of each other, leads the finalists for this year's Billboard Latin Music Awards,

Regional Mexican artist Lupillo Rivera, a maverick in the genre who released two successful studio albums within a year of each other, leads the finalists for this year's Billboard Latin Music Awards, set for May 9 at the Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami Beach. Rivera garnered six finalist mentions, including two each in the regional Mexican album of the year/male and the regional Mexican album of the year/new artist categories, thanks to chart performances of his Sony Discos albums "Despreciado" and "Sufriendo a Solas."

Veteran singer/songwriter Juan Gabriel is a finalist in four categories. The artist topped airplay lists with his single "Abrazame Muy Fuerte" and is a finalist in the songwriter of the year category. Marco Antonio Solis, Gilberto Santa Rosa, and Jaci Velasquez all are finalists in three categories.

Finalists were announced at a star-studded press conference this morning (Feb. 12) at BillboardLive in Miami Beach, with representatives from the Telemundo television network, a local civic host committee, and Billboard magazine. Telemundo is slated to air the awards show, which has grown to become the network's highest-rated special, on May 12.

The Billboard Latin Music Awards, which honor the most popular albums, songs, and performers in Latin music, will take place immediately following the Billboard Latin Music Conference, held May 7-9 in Miami Beach. Finalists, and the eventual winners for the 13th edition of the awards, are determined by the actual sales and radio airplay data that informs Billboard's weekly charts during a one-year period from the issue dated February 17, 2001, through this year's February 9 issue.

For a full list of Billboard Latin Music Awards nominees, click here.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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