Iglesias, Shakira Lead Finalists For Billboard Latin Music Awards

Pop sounds dominated the charts during the past year and Latin music was no exception, with crossover stars Enrique Iglesias and Shakira leading the list of finalists for the 22nd annual Billboard Latin Music Awards, presented by State Farm.

Leading the pack is Iglesias, whose album "Euphoria" (Universal Music Latino/Republic) debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 and has sold 244,000 units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. He's up for 14 awards, including artist, album and pop album of the year, as well as Hot Latin Songs artist of the year, male and Hot Latin Song of the year for "Cuando Me Enamoro," featuring Juan Luis Guerra. That single, which spent 17 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart, more than any other song, is also vying for Hot Latin Song of the year, vocal event along with Iglesias' "I Like It," featuring Pitbull.

"It's very exciting," Iglesias says of his front-runner finalist status. "I grew up reading Billboard and being on those charts is always important to me."

The Billboard Latin Music Awards honor the most popular albums, songs and performers in Latin music, as determined by Nielsen SoundScan sales, Nielsen BDS radio airplay and social media activity used to compile Billboard's weekly charts for the period of Feb. 6, 2010, through Jan. 29, 2011. Album categories are limited to titles that didn't chart prior to November 2009 and exclude finalists from the prior year's Latin Music Awards.

The awards will air live April 28 on Telemundo in the United States and in more than 35 countries around the world. They're the culmination of the Billboard Latin Music Conference, taking place April 26-28 at the Eden Roc Resort in Miami Beach.

Second to Iglesias in finalist slots is Shakira with 13. The Colombian pop star is up for artist of the year, Latin album of the year for "Sale el Sol" (Epic/Sony) and Hot Latin Songs artist of the year, female. Both Iglesias and Shakira are also up for Latin digital album of the year and the new Latin social artist of the year award. The latter is based on Billboard's newly launched Social 50 chart.

The widespread appeal of danceable pop was further highlighted by the inclusion of Lady Gaga as a finalist in the Hot Latin Songs artist of the year, female category, underscoring Latin radio's increasing willingness to include top 40 mainstream acts on their playlists.

The finalists also illustrate the enduring pull of romantic songs, with Mexican pop trio Camila and Dominican bachata star Juan Luis Guerra each vying as finalists in 10 categories.

Camila's hotly anticipated sophomore album, "Dejarte de Amar" (Sony), debuted atop the Top Latin Albums chart, solidifying its status as a force to be reckoned with in Latin music. The group is up for artist of the year and album of the year and has two tracks-"Alejate de Mi" and "Mientes"-vying for pop airplay song of the year.

Guerra's collaboration with Iglesias on "Cuando Me Enamoro" makes him a finalist in four categories, including Hot Latin Song of the year, while his Latin Grammy Award-winning album, "A Son de Guerra" (Capitol Latin), and single "Bachata en Fukuoka" are up for tropical album and tropical airplay song of the year, respectively.

Other multiple finalists include newcomers Chino y Nacho, who are up for nine awards, including new Latin artist of the year. Competing in that same category are Prince Royce, who's up for six awards; Banda Los Recoditos, a finalist for four awards; and Voz de Mando.

For a complete list of finalists and for more information on the conference, go to billboardlatinconference.com.