The 15th Latin Grammy Awards are a little more than 24 hours away, with artists vying for awards in 48 categories. Here are our picks on who will nab awards this year at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Enrique Iglesias (Getty Images)
RECORD OF THE YEAR
Who Should and Will Win: This should be a slam dunk for “Bailando.” It’s not just Enrique Iglesias and Latin music’s catchiest song of the year. It’s the fact that it was also a hit on the top 40, pop and dance charts — a triumph and a great song. Although Iglesias has never been an Academy favorite, having this go elsewhere would be a shame.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Who Should Win? It’s a split: On one hand, the ravishing and singular — but little heard — Raíces by three contemporary folk stars: Lila Downs, Niña Pastori and Soledad. On the other, Carlos Vives, who didn’t win this one in 2013 with Corazon Profundo but now has a second chance with Mas + Corazon Profundo.
Who Will Win: Calle 13‘s Multiviral. The rap duo got nine nods, more than anyone else. Plus, they’ve won in this category for their past two albums. Voters have already spoken.
SONG OF THE YEAR
Who Should Win? Camila‘s “Decidiste Dejarme” is one of those beautifully crafted pop songs that are rare nowadays, featuring great lyrics, a great verse, a great chorus. Plus, pop music needs a boost.
Who Will Win: Prince Royce‘s “Darte un Beso,” which boasts songwriters with clout like Andres Castro, plus a version in Portuguese that will aid in getting Brazilian votes.
Pablo Lopez (Getty Images)
BEST NEW ARTIST
Who Should and Will Win: In a sea of ten little-known but deserving acts, Spain’s Pablo Lopez has the more defined musical persona and the biggest commercial success, at least in his native country. Label Universal is using the Latin Grammys’ platform to launch him in the U.S.
Camila (left); Carlos Santana (Getty Images)
BEST CONTEMPORARY POP VOCAL ALBUM
Who Should Win? A face-off between Camila and Carlos Santana. For Latin Grammy favorites Camila, this is their first — and fine — effort as a duet. But they have formidable competition in Santana with Corazón, his first-ever Spanish-language album, featuring a slew of stars, ranging from the more commercial (Pitbull, Juanes, Gloria Estefan) to the more purely artistic (Niña Pastori, Soledad, Wayne Shorter) and spanning all Latin America and Spain.
Who Will Win: Santana. That’s one impressive album, and if you incorporate all the guest acts, that’s a lot of votes. It’s surprising that it didn’t get a nod in the album of the year category as well.
J Balvin (left); Calle 13 (Getty Images)
BEST URBAN PERFORMANCE
Who Should Win?: While the knee-jerk reaction would be to give it to “Bailando,” it’s a stretch to call that an urban performance, and urban voters likely balked at casting the vote for Iglesias (even if he’s sharing the spot with Gente D’Zona and Descemer Bueno, who is not really an urban act either). This should belong to “6 a.m.,” the party anthem by J Balvin feat. Farruko.
Who Will Win: Those who dislike reggaetón but like urban music will vote Calle 13. And as past behavior has indicated, Calle 13 draws votes.
Ricardo Arjona (Getty Images)
BEST SINGER/SONGWRITER ALBUM
Who Should Win? There is no bad album here. But Ricardo Arjona‘s Viaje and Rosana’s Lunas are personal favorites.
Who Will Win: Although he’s never been to the Latin Grammys, my bet is on Arjona, who’s had a very visible touring year.
Prince Royce (left); Carlos Vives (Getty Images)
BEST CONTEMPORARY TROPICAL ALBUM
Who Should Win? This will be a contest between Prince Royce’s Soy El Mismo and Carlos Vives’ Más + Corazón Profundo.
Who Will Win: Vives is clearly the Latin Grammy voter favorite. Save for Juan Luis Guerra, voters have yet to embrace bachata.
La Arrolladora Banda el Limon de Rene Camacho (Getty Images)
BEST BANDA ALBUM
Who Should and Will Win: All the big guns are competing here: Banda el Recodo, La Arrolladora Banda el Limón de René Camacho and La Original Banda el Limón de Salvador Lizárraga. The nod should go to La Arrolladora, who’ve had a tremendous year.
Sergio George (Getty Images)
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
Who Should Win? A contest between Sergio George and Andres Castro, who’ve produced a broad gamut of releases, both commercial successes and critically acclaimed.
Who Will Win: With George the winner last year, this one should go to Castro, who not only has shown growth and versatility through his work with Carlos Vives, Samo and Pee Wee, but is also shining as a songwriter.
An edited version of this story appeared in the Nov. 22 issue of Billboard.