Mexico-based Spanish band La 5ª Estación and pop singer Melendi head the nominations for the Premios Principales international music awards, organized by Spanish radio group Cadena SER's Top 40 national network, Los 40 Principales. The Premios Principales are the only international music awards in Spain and Latin America whose winners are voted directly by fans, and this year voters from six Latin American countries in addition to Spain can participate. They are Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, where SER's Grupo Prisa holding company owns radio and TV networks.

La 5ª Estación and Melendi each have five nods for the seven Spanish awards, out of a total of 17 in three categories - national (Spain and Latin America), international in Spanish, and international in another language. Miguel Bosé, Pereza and El Sueño de Morfeo have three nominations each in the national category. Antonio Carmona, Antonio Orozco, Conchita, Dover and Hanna win two nods each.

The nominations were announced today at a ceremony in Madrid's Fine Arts Center. Fans can vote from October 13 until November 30 by emailing premiosprincipales.com, and the 17 winners will be announced at a televised gala in Madrid's Sports Palace on December 14. Votes by SMS messages will be accepted up to just 5 minutes before the concert starts.

The gala will also be broadcast on radio in the six Latin American countries. Negotiations continue on whether the gala will be televised in these countries. Six of the categories are for the best artist or group from each of the countries.

The Premios Principales were inaugurated last year in Spain only to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Los 40 Principales, Spain's most popular music network with more than 4 million listeners each day, and 280,000 fans voted. Los 40 Principales director Juame Baró said the selection of five nominations in each category was based on sales, Los 40 program rotations over the past year, and Los 40 market studies carried out each two weeks from October 15 last year.

"The system of selection of nominations and the direct voting of award winners by fans is the purest form of knowing who is genuinely popular this year among pop music fans in Spain and the other six countries," says Baró.

Mexico's Maná gets three nods in the international category in Spanish, followed by Colombia's Juanes and North American singer of Puerto Rican origin Jennifer Lopez with two nominations each.

In the international category in another language, which has only two awards, Mika, Nelly Furtado and Snow Patrol have two nods each. Competing with them are Natasha Bedingfield, Tokio Hotel, The Fray and Rihanna.

Money raised from the sending of SMS messages and ticket sales for the gala at the 15,000-capacity venue will go to the project "Music to rebuild Peru." The project was organized by the NGO Ayuda en Acción (Aid in Action) in response to this year's devastating earthquake in Peru, South America.