Juanes, Romeo Santos among likely Latin Grammy contenders

September 24, 2012|By Reed Johnson
  • Colombian rock superstar Juanes will be among the presenters -- and likely nominees -- when the Latin Grammy Award nominations are announced Tuesday morning.
Colombian rock superstar Juanes will be among the presenters -- and likely… (Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles…)

When it comes to the Latin Grammy Awards, and most entertainment awards shows in general, nothing succeeds like past success.

Last year, the Puerto Rican urban-hip-hop duo and perpetual Latin Recording Academy favorites Calle 13 practically swept the field, boosting their career Latin Grammy total to 19 -- tops among all artists.

So you can expect to hear the names of Colombian superstar Juanes (a 17-time Latin Grammy winner), Mexican veteran rockers Maná (which sold out four nights at  Staples Center earlier this year) and pop-bachata king Romeo Santos uttered early and often at Tuesday morning's 13th annual Latin Grammy Award nominations at the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles. You may even hear Juanes read out his own name, since he'll be among the nominations' presenters.

And why not? After undergoing a very public midlife career burnout, Juanes rebounded with a vengeance this year with the release of his smoking "Juanes MTV Unplugged" album, which spent two weeks atop the Latin charts last June. The record also yielded a No. 1 single, "La Señal," an inspirational ballad about love, family and friendship produced by Juan Luis Guerra that's exactly the kind of uplifting tune the Latin academy loves to reward.

Maná, which over the years has racked up four Grammy Awards and seven Latin Grammys, figures to be back in the running this year for its hit single "El Verdadero Amor Perdona" (True Love Forgives), off its bestselling album "Drama y Luz." In a savvy piece of creative strategizing, that song features a bachata duet with another artist with Latin Grammy accolades in his sights, the Bronx-raised Prince Royce, who broke out with an eponymous bachata album that gained a nomination for contemporary tropical album at the 2010 Latin Grammy Awards. 

Royce's follow-up, "Phase II," released last spring, takes his music in a more openly pop, pan-Latino direction. With songs in both English and Spanish, the album has broadened his fan base and increased his chances of getting nominated in the Latin Grammys' more prestigious and lucrative categories.

No one has followed that blueprint for success better than Santos, songwriter and former lead singer for the highly successful New York bachata group Aventura. Santos has since become a huge solo star; his 2011 album "Formula, No. 1," spent weeks at No. 1 and produced the Latin hits "Promise" (featuring Usher) and "La Diabla."

Several other very familiar names have dominated the Latin charts in recent months, including Daddy Yankee, Wisin & Yandel, Gloria Estefan and Paulina Rubio. It will be hard for a new, or even relatively new, artist to muscle into this lineup, and harder still for one to take home a trophy when the awards are handed out in Las Vegas on Nov. 15.


Latin rock star Juanes at a joyful new stage

Juanes, Maria Barracuda among Latin Grammy nominations presenters

Follow me on Twitter: @RJohnsonLAT


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