The 22nd annual Billboard Latin Music Awards and Conference rolls into town next week -- and with it, a multitude of stars, celebs and industry types who will descend upon Miami Beach to partake of parties, panels and poolside cocktails at the Eden Rock Renaissance. But the main event is, of course, the Awards, which will go down 8 to 10 p.m. on Thursday night at the University of Miami's' BankUnited Center.
Like most awards, the Billboard Latin Music Awards are a spectacle to behold, chock full of glamor and gowns, bling and five-figure makeup jobs.
Of course, where the Billboards differ is that its winners aren't selected by an academy of industry insiders or voted on by viewers. Instead, the awards serve to recognize chart toppers who ruled supreme atop the venerable trade mag's sales and airplay charts throughout the award year.
As such, it might seem a little easier to predict the night's big winners. Of course, unless you're poring over Billboard's charts, it's about as much a shot in the dark as any other show. Still, you can pinpoint a few of the night's likely big winners.
Enrique Iglesias, who has dominated with "Tonight I'm Loving You" (and its more risqué incarnation, "Tonight I'm Fucking You") holds 14 nominations, including Artist of the Year and Album of the Year. He's set to do more winning than Charlie Sheen with four goddesses and a baleful of blow.
You can also bet on Shakira, who has 13 nods of her own, even if she is facing off against Enrique in several categories. And another surefire bet to win big is Aventura, who may now be on hiatus, but nonetheless have seven nominations, including Hot Latin Songs Artist of the Year, Duo or Group, and Top Latin Albums Artist of the Year, Duo or Group. We like them for both.
Meanwhile, bachata newcomer Prince Royce promises to do well. Royce, who blew up with a tropical take on "Stand By Me," has six nominations, including Tropical Album of the Year. And he could take it in a dark horse victory too, though competition is stiff with two for the salsa institution El Gran Combo and another for iconic Juan Luis Guerra. At the very least, though, Royce should be a lock to take New Latin Artist of the Year.
Other nominated acts include Banda El Recodo, as well as Los Recoditos, Voz de Mando, Espinoza Paz, and Gerardo Ortiz in the regional Mexican realm, Venezuelan romantic reggaetoneros Chino y Nacho, who might be the ones to upset Royce for New Latin Artist, and our very own Mr. 305 turned Mr. Worldwide, Pitbull.
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Tune into Telemundo at 8 p.m. next Thursday to see for yourself who wins big.
Billboard Latin Music Awards and Conference. Tuesday, April 26 to Thursday, April 28. Eden Roc Renaissance, 4525 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Visit billboardevents.com.