Young norteño star Gerardo Ortiz, the late Jenni Rivera and ever-popular Arrolladora Banda el Limon de Rene Camacho lead the list of finalists for the third annual Billboard Mexican Music Awards, set to air live on Telemundo Oct. 9 from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.
The list of finalists, which also includes banda star Roberto Tapia, brash norteño trio Voz de Mando, venerable Banda el Recodo de Cruz Lizarraga, Calibre 50, 3BallMTY and Joan Sebastian, represents the eclectic nature of regional Mexican music, which has long been the top-selling Latin genre in the United States.
Ortiz leads the charge with 14 nods in 13 categories that underscore his success in every arena of the business, from album sales and digital downloads to airplay and songwriting. Ortiz is up for artist, airplay artist, songwriter and producer of the year, among other categories. In the norteño album of the year category, his “El Primer Ministro” competes against another of his albums, “Sold Out: En Vivo Desde el Nokia Theatre L.A. Live.”
Following Ortiz in number of nods is Rivera, a 10-time finalist in eight categories following a surge of sales in the wake of her death last December. Rivera’s nods include artist, songs artist and digital download artist of the year. Two of her albums, “La Misma Gran Señora” and “Joyas Prestadas,” are vying for album of the year and banda album of the year, respectively.
Not far behind is La Arrolladora Banda el Limon de Rene Camacho, the hugely popular traditional banda group known for its string of radio hits. The act is up for seven awards, including artist, songs artist and airplay artist of the year. The band’s “Cabecita Dura,” from the hit album “Irreversible,” is a finalist for both song and banda song of the year.
Tied as finalists for six awards each are Tapia, Voz de Mando and Banda el Recodo de Cruz Lizarraga.
Given the popularity and variety of the genre, Billboard’s Mexican Music Awards were launched in 2011 as a stand-alone awards show and the first — and still only — such program on a major TV network devoted exclusively to the genre.
The 32 award categories — which include honors in the subgenres of banda, norteño, ranchero/mariachi and duranguense/grupero/cumbia as well as awards for top labels and publishers — are based on album and digital track sales data provided by Nielsen SoundScan and radio airplay monitored by Nielsen BDS for the time period of Aug. 18, 2012, through Aug. 10, 2013.
In addition, Billboard will present two special awards — the Voice and the Legacy — based on exceptional career achievement.
The success of the awards, which will air live for the second consecutive year, coupled with the ratings success of regional Mexican music on Spanish-language TV overall, have contributed to a veritable boom of programming devoted to the genre.
For example, the top-rated series on cable network mun2 — the sister station to Telemundo — is “Larrymania,” a reality show based on the life of banda singer Larry Hernandez. And Rivera starred in “I Love Jenni,” which continues to air on the network. In May, mun2 began airing a third reality series, “Alerta Zero,” featuring the titular regional Mexican band from Chicago led by former Alacranes Musical lead singer Memo Ibarra.