Wide array at Latin Music Awards


MIAMI -- Rare eclecticism marked the 19th annual Billboard Latin Music Awards, with no one artist or genre dominating the list of winners.

Instead, the changing Latin demographic, already reflected in increasingly diverse radio formats and broader TV options, permeated the winners list in sales and radio airplay categories. The honors were handed out Thursday in Miami and aired live on Telemundo.

Leading the pack with three wins was veteran tropical star Juan Luis Guerra and his group 440, whose album "La Llave de Mi Corazon" (EMI/Televisa) won in the tropical album of the year, duo or group category. Guerra and 440 also won Hot Latin Songs artist of the year, and Guerra took home producer of the year, underscoring the perennial radio appeal of his songs.

Scoring two wins each were reggaeton star Daddy Yankee; banda diva Jenni Rivera; pop star Gloria Estefan; urban bachata group Aventura; late regional Mexican singer Valentin Elizalde; duranguense group Alfredo Ramirez y Los Creadorez del Pasito Duranguense; reggaeton duo R.K.M. & Ken-Y; and new pop acts Kany Garcia and Camila.

Daddy Yankee's wins included the newly created Latin album of the year category for "El Cartel: The Big Boss" (El Cartel/Interscope/IGA), the top-selling album during the eligibility period. The Top Latin Albums artist of the year nod went to Elizalde, whose sales have soared since he was shot to death a little more than a year ago. In a surprising twist, the Hot Latin Song of the year award went to Aventura's "Mi Corazoncito," which spent virtually the entire eligibility period on the Hot Latin Songs chart.

This year's songwriter of the year award went to Mexican star Marco Antonio Solis. Special awards went to Conjunto Primavera, which received Billboard's Lifetime Achievement Award celebrating its 30 years in the business, and Juanes, who received the Spirit of Hope Award for humanitarian work done with his Mi Sangre foundation.

Finalists and winners are determined by their performance on the Billboard charts, as measured by Nielsen SoundScan and BDS during a one-year period from the Feb. 10, 2007, issue through this year's Feb. 2 issue.

This year, awards were given in 54 categories. Besides Latin album of the year, the other new category, Latin ringmaster of the year, was won by Down AKA Kilo's "Lean Like a Cholo."