Who Will Win at Latin Grammys? Billboard Editors Debate

Shakira and Carlos Vives
Jose Torres/AFP/Getty Images

Shakira and Carlos Vives ride bikes during the recording of the video for the song "La Bicicleta" in Barranquilla, Atlantico department, Colombia on May 20, 2016.

Each year, Billboard offers its analysis of who will win and who should win in the main categories in the Latin Grammys. This year, leading up to Thursday's Latin Grammys, we’ve gathered our Latin editorial team and embarked on a lively discussion on their predictions. Our participants are Leila Cobo, Billboard’s executive director of content and programming, Latin; Suzette Fernández, assistant editor for Billboard en Español; and Griselda Flores, associate editor, Latin, for

Record of the Year
Pepe Aguilar, “Cuestión de Esperar”
Andrea Bocelli, “Me Faltarás”
Carlos Vives and Shakira, “La Bicicleta”
Enrique Iglesias feat. Wisin, “Duele el Corazón”
Pablo Alborán, “Se Puede Amar”
Buika, “Si Volveré”
Djavan, “Vidas Pra Contar”
Jesse & Joy, “Ecos de Amor”
Laura Pausini, “Lado Derecho del Corazón”
Diego Torres, “Iguales”

Leila Cobo: The record of the year category is different from song of the year because it’s not given to the composition but to the actual recording.

Griselda Flores: I’m going with Carlos Vives and Shakira’s “La Bicicleta” on this one. It was the biggest summer hit of the year, radio stations played it like crazy, and it’s one of those songs that one doesn’t get tired of listening to.

LC: Do you think that there’s a song here that should win that is being overlooked because it’s not as well known?

GF: Perhaps Diego Torres’ “Iguales,” but Carlos Vives and Shakira are taking it for me.

Suzette Fernandez: Laura Pausini’s “Lado derecho del corazón” is vocally an amazing performance and the recording was fantastic. Pausini sounds powerful. I think that should be the winning song.

LC: Now there is a difference between who we think should win and who will actually win. Suzette, you think Laura Pausini’s song will actually win?

SF: I think it will be between “La bicicleta” and “Lado derecho del corazón.” They both have been really popular this year and people love those songs.

LC: I’m going with “La Bicicleta.” My reasoning here is Carlos Vives and Shakira have a history of winning Latin Grammys, so even though it’s a very popular track -- and popularity doesn’t always gets kudos in these awards -- it features two people who have traditionally won big awards. I also think Pepe Aguilar did a great job with his entire album.

Song of the Year
“La bicicleta,” Carlos Vives and Shakira
“A Chama Verde,” Patty Brayden, Ned Claflin and John Finbury
“Bajo el Agua,” Manuel Medrano
“Céu,” Celso Fonseca
“Duele el Corazón,” Enrique Iglesias, Patrick A. Ingunza, Silverlo Lozada, Servando Moriche Primera Mussett, Hasibur Rahman, Francisco Saldana and Wisin
“Ecos de Amor,” Jesse & Joy, Danelle Leverett, Jason Reeves and Rune Westberg
“En Ésta No,” Sin Bandera
“Es Como el Día,” Kevin Johansen
“Hermanos,” Moska and Fito Páez
“La Tormenta,” Flavio Cianciarulo

LC: In song of the year I definitely would be really surprised and disappointed if “La bicicleta” didn’t win.

GF: I agree with you. It was a hit, it gave Carlos Vives his first debut on the Billboard Hot 100. Like I said, it’s simple and beautiful. Two Colombian superstars coming together.

SF: It will be between “La Bicicleta” and “Duele el corazón” (Enrique Iglesias feat. Wisin). Those were the strongest songs this year and they were really high on the charts.

GF: I think “La Bicicleta” will win, although I would love to see “La tormenta” by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs take it.

SF: I would love to see Manuel Medrano win with “Bajo el agua.” Why not? It’s a great song.

Album of the Year
Andrea Bocelli, Cinema
Juan Gabriel, Los Dúo 2
Fonseca, Conexión
Pablo Alborán, Tour Terral (Tres Noches en las Ventas)
Andrés Cepeda, Mil Ciudades
Djavan, Vidas Pra Contar
Jesse & Joy, Un Besito Más
José Lugo & Guasábara Combo, Donde Están?
DiegoTorres, Buena Vida
Julieta Venegas, Algo Sucede.

SF: I would say Juan Gabriel. We all know that Los Duo 2 was the top-selling album of the year.

GF: I don’t think there’s a tribute planned, so I think this is a way to pay homage to him. This was a chart-topping album, it includes collaborations with pop artists, and it’s Juan Gabriel.

SF: But remember Fonseca is the one with the most nominations this year and he’s in that category as well.

LC: The Latin Grammys love to give awards to people who have recently passed. I definitely think Juan Gabriel is going take this one, and it’s a great album. But to be very honest, this is a category where I would also be very happy if Fonseca won. He’s worked hard and he tried to do different things and it’s a very fine album.

Best New Artist
Mon Laferte
Álex Anwandter
Joss Favela
Manuel Medrano
Sophia Abrahão
The Chamas
Ian Ramil

LC: This is my favorite category and I think this year it’s very hotly contested.

GF: Yes for sure. I have three favorites. I’ve been able to see most of these live, including Mon Laferte, Manuel Medrano and Esteman. They have amazing things going on, they seem very fresh, something we haven’t seen in a while. Esteman, you see him perform and he kind of has this David Bowie thing going on, his songs are very powerful and he has this feminist movement that I really respect him for. If Esteman takes it, I would be over the moon. But Manuel Medrano and Mon Laferte have amazing voices; they blow you away with their performances.

SF: Ile, Rene Perez’s sister. I think she’s really strong, she really has good music and could win. But I also think Manuel Medrano is a really good talent.

LC: I don’t think I’ve ever seen this category as competitive as it is this year. I had overlooked Ile, but she has talent and she has the pedigree, if we want to call it that. I have not seen Mon Laferte live, but I love her music. However, I think Manuel Medrano is going to be a big star so I’m going to bet on him. The other artist I don’t think will win, but who I think is fantastic is Joss Favela.

GF: I wouldn’t mind if Ile wins. I think her album is amazing and it has that Eduardo Cabra [Cabra, one half of Calle 13, produced it] feel.

Best Contemporary Pop Album
Pablo Alborán, Tour Terral tres noches en Las Ventas
Jesse & Joy, Un besito más
Pablo López, El mundo y los amnates inocentes
Luciano Pereyra, #Tumano
Reik, Des/Amor

LC: This is a very eclectic category that reflects what’s happening in the world, not really what’s happening in the U.S. We have two artists from Spain -- the two Pablos -- Jesse & Joy and Reik from Mexico, Luciano Pereyra from Argentina.

GF: I would like to see Reik take the award. They went out of their comfort zone and recorded with Nicky Jam. That was very brave of them because they’re very pop and the whole album is very well-crafted.

SF: This is a tough category. I also think Reik is the big contender but Pablo Alborán also had a strong year. I don’t know which one to pick.

LC: I love Pablo Alborán, but I don’t like giving these awards to live albums. So I am going to say this will be between Jesse & Joy, who are big nominees, and Reik. I agree with Griselda that Reik really went above and beyond. They looked at what was happening and were able to do something different and edgy without kind of going too left-field.

Best Norteño Album
Joss Favela, Hecho a mano
Intocable, Highway
Los Ramones de Nuevo León, Tierra mojada
Los Tigres del Norte, Desde El Azteca
Pesado, Tributo a Los Alegres de Terán

GF: I’m going with Intocable on this one. It’s a great album, kind of country, blues, but still that Intocable sound that’s norteño and accordion. The songs are also very powerful. It’s a mix of social justice but also songs that are plain fun.

SF: OK, this is really difficult for me. I would say Los Tigres Del Norte. I think it’s a really, really good album.

LC: I think Intocable has a really strong album this time. It is tough when they’re up against Los Tigres, who are such a recognized group. But Intocable has some really, really powerful songs, like “Día 730” about the women in Juárez. And although I think he won’t win, I want to give a special mention to Joss Favela, again, just because it’s his debut album and he’s really talented.

Best Traditional Tropical Album
Rafael Pollo Brito, Pa’ Tío Simón
La Sonora Santanera, La Sonora Santanera en su 60 Aniversario
Jesús “Chino” Miranda, El Malquerido: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro, El más grande y universal
Various Artists, Cuba y Puerto Rico Son

GF: I have to pick La Sonora Santanera. My parents use to listen to it all the time and this new album has amazing collaborations with diverse artists like Mijares and Ruben Albarran. The fact that they recorded with some young, cool artists made them relevant again and I would totally listen to that album over and over and play it at a party.

SF: I would go with Cuba y Puerto Rico Son. That album came out last holiday season and it was amazing. Especially for me as a Puerto Rican.

LC: Since Chino y Nacho didn’t nab a nomination for their music videos or songs, maybe this is the place to honor Chino in this category as a soloist.