It's time again for us to make our annual predictions for the Latin Grammy Awards, which will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Thursday night (Nov. 11.) Alejandro Sanz, Juan Luis Guerra, Jorge Drexler and Camila lead the nominees, but who will emerge victorious? Here's who we think will take home trophies.
Record Of The Year:
Only two artists are really in the running: Alejandro Sanz with the romantic "Desde Cuando" from "Paraiso Express" (Warner Music Latina) and pop trio Camila with "Mientes" from "Dejarte de Amar" (Sony Music). With a distinctive sound that blends Latin pop sensibility with contemporary R&B, Camila has managed to top charts region-wide and redefined the boundaries of good, commercial Latin pop. They'll win.
Album of the Year:
The healthy competition here includes two perennial Latin Grammy favorites - Sanz and Juan Luis Guerra with "A Son de Guerra" (Capitol Latin). My bet is on Guerra for an album that's both exquisite and loads of fun. But Camila may surprise us with their utterly convincing set "Dejarte de Amar," which may finally pave the way for a new generation to begin snaring this top award.
Song Of The Year:
Do Academy members vote with their ears or by name recognition? I mean, we all love Ruben Blades, but how many have heard "Las Calles" (RB Records)? Camila's "Mientes" is in the running and Sanz's "Desde Cuando" is not the best song on his album, but he boasts name power. But Enrique Iglesias' whimsical, evocative mega-hit "Cuando Me Enamoro" (Universal Music Latino), penned by Descemer Bueno and Iglesias, may have the best shot. The Latin Grammys have shunned Iglesias in the past, but here he performs with Guerra as a guest artist, which may break the jinx.
Best New Artist:
Never heard of any of the best new artist nominees? You're not alone, which is why the winner is a toss-up between the only two acts with at least some name recognition: Alex Cuba and JotDog, popular in Mexico and with an alternative following built from years in other bands. I'm betting on JotDog, but I can't help but note that the nominations in this category failed this year to recognize other new artist successes, like Chino & Nacho, Prince Royce and Ana Isabelle.
Best Female Pop Vocal Album:
Nelly Furtado is the certain winner with the very compelling "Mi Plan" (Universal Music Latino), an album that deserves to win out of sheer musicianship and star power. An unlikely upset could be seen from Kany García, such a fine singer/songwriter and Latin Grammy favorite, with "Boleto de Entrada" (Sony Music Latin).
Best Male Pop Vocal Album:
Best Ranchero Album:
The most competitive category at this year's Latin Grammys boasts five superstar nominees: Alejandro Fernández, his dad Vicente Fernández, Pedro Fernández, Juan Gabriel with his eponymous Fonovisa/Universal release and Jenni Rivera. The Grammy should go do Alejandro Fernández, who has delivered the best thought-out regional Mexican album of his career. If there is to be an upset, it should be for Rivera, who went out on a limb on her first ranchera album and delivered a jewel.
Best Regional Mexican Song:
All pale next to "Amarte a la Antigua" (Fonovisa/Universal Music Latino), a ballad with perfect lyrics, performed by Pedro Fernández and written by Yoel Henríquez and Paco Lugo.
Best Urban Music Album:
In a twist, this category has gone beyond reggaetón to include a wide array of urban music exponents, and that alone is a heartening and exciting thing. While Vico C. is always a critical favorite, his "Babilla" went largely unnoticed, paving the way for Daddy Yankee's "Mundial" (El Cartel/Sony Music). However, I'll go out on a limb and place my bets on Chino y Nacho's "Mi Niña Bonita" (Machete/UMLE). The duo are one of the year's success stories yet they only garnered this single nomination; they deserve to win something (even though singling out "Niña Bonita" in a song category would have made more sense).
Best Urban Song:
Lots of songs here, none of them memorable hits for a lifetime. Where is "Nina Bonita?" In is absence I'll go with Yankee's "Descontrol" or Mala Rodríguez's "No Pidas Perdón."
Best Contemporary Tropical Album:
Guerra will win this by default for "A Son De Guerra;" he has no competition. But this category deserves to be singled out too for the presence of Prince Royce, a name to watch who got bypassed in the Best New Artist category for his eponymous debut.
Producer Of The Year:
Julio Reyes Copello did tracks for Alejandro Fernández, Chayanne and Florence Pagny. But with Marc Anthony's "Iconos," he took Latin pop standards and reinvented them with panache and rare musicianship that elevated Anthony's performance. Never a Latin Grammy winner, Reyes Copello deserves his debut in this category.
Best Short Form Video:
Juan Luis Guerra's "Bachata en Fukuoka," directed by Simon Brand and with Mauricio Osorio as producer, will win with name power, but also, with its evocative, nostalgic storyline, beautifully captured and in a completely understandable visual image. Honorary mention to Cuarteto de Nos' edgy "El Hijo de Hernández," directed by Charly Gutiérrez and adorned with cool, animated graphics.
What are some of your 2010 Latin Grammy predictions? Share in the comments.