Celia Cruz tops the finalists for the Billboard Latin Music Awards, to be presented April 29 at the Miami Arena in Miami. The late "Queen of Salsa" is up for seven honors, including top Latin albums a
Celia Cruz tops the finalists for the Billboard Latin Music Awards, to be presented April 29 at the Miami Arena in Miami. The late "Queen of Salsa" is up for seven honors, including top Latin albums artist, top tropical album, top female, and Latin greatest-hits album of the year.
Colombian pop/rocker Juanes and pop star Ricky Martin are each finalists in five categories. Three of Juanes' nods are for "Fotografía," his duet with Nelly Furtado from 2001's "Un Día Normal" (Surco/Universal Music Latino). Martin's nods include Latin pop album of the year, male, for "Almas del Silencio" (Sony Discos), his first Spanish-language set since 1998.
For Martin, the accolades will be particularly sweet, as recording in Spanish wasn't originally in his plans for 2003. "Everyone went nuts [when I decided to record in Spanish]," he told Billboard last year. "They said, 'You don't have time; you have to release an album in English because of timing issues with your career.' And that's fine. But I told them, 'In five months, you'll have a kick-ass album [in Spanish].' "
Other top contenders include EMI Latin labelmates Thalía and Obie Bermúdez, both finalists in four categories. Thalía competes against herself with two nods in the Latin dance single category, while newcomer Bermúdez, one of the year's radio success stories, is up for hot Latin track of the year for "Antes" (EMI Latin).
The continued relevance of regional Mexican music was obvious in the list of finalists for Top Latin albums artist of the year, where two of the four contenders -- Intocable and Marco Antonio Solís -- belonged to the genre.
The Billboard Latin Music Awards, the culmination of the four-day Billboard Latin Music Conference, air live this year for the first time, on the Telemundo network. The awards are based on sales and radio airplay data used in compiling the weekly Billboard charts.
For a full list of finalists, click here.