J Balvin & Bad Bunny Lead Reggaetón-Heavy Latin Grammy Award Nominations

Lead Photo: Photo by STILLZ
Photo by STILLZ
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After last year’s “Sin Reggaetón, No Hay Grammy” debacle, all the major categories for this year’s Latin Grammy Awards are dominated by the genre. The most nominated artist this year is Colombian reggaetonero J Balvin with 13 nominations followed by Puerto Rican superstar Bad Bunny with 9 nominations.

Last year reggaetón artists were up in arms about being shut out of the biggest categories of the night like Album, Song, and Record of the Year. This year’s categories paint a different picture with the inclusion of Bad Bunny’s YHLQMDLG, the year’s best-selling Latin album, and the top-selling “Tusa” by Colombian reggaetonera Karol G and Trinidadian rapper Nicki Minaj. Colombian singer-songwriter Camilo has emerged as this year’s breakout star in the major categories.

In the Album of the Year category, Bad Bunny and J Balvin are both nominated twice. Benito’s YHLQMDLG faces off against Balvin’s Colores and their joint album Oasis. Camilo’s breakthrough album Por Primera Vez is among the nominees with other standouts from Puerto Rican superstars like Ricky Martin’s Pausa EP and Kany García’s Mesa Para Dos duet albums. With García and Jesse y Joy’s Aire album in the mix, that means there’s three nominees from the LGBTQIA+ community in the mix.

The record of the year category is also stacked with reggaetón nominees. This award goes to the artists and the song’s producer. Puerto Rican rapper Anuel AA’s super collaboration “China” with J Balvin, Karol G, and fellow Boricua superstars Daddy Yankee and Ozuna faces off against Bad Bunny’s “Vete,” Balvin’s “Rojo,” Camilo’s “Tutu” with Pedro Capó, and Karol’s “Tusa” with Nicki Minaj. García is also nominated here with “Lo Que En Vi Veo.” With the inclusion of Spanish singer-songwriter Pablo Alborán’s “Cuando Estés Aquí,” that’s another two artists in the LGBTQIA+ community up for a major category.

The Song of the Year category is awarded solely to the songwriters and here is where Bad Bunny and J Balvin were shut out. Colombian heartthrob Maluma’s “ADMV” faces off against his compatriots Juanes and Sebastián Yatra’s “Bonita” and Camilo’s double-nomination for “Tutu” and “El Mismo Aire,” both of which put hit-making producer Jon Leone up for the award. Puerto Rican icon Residente is up for “René” along with “Tusa.” Karol G, Minaj, Ovy on the Drums, and rising songwriter Kevyn “Keityn” Mauricio Cruz Moreno are the smash hit’s songwriters.

Among the oddities of the nominations, Anuel AA is strangely up for Best New Artist for his second album Emmanuel. Other standouts in the category include Argentina’s Cazzu, Nathy Peluso, and Nicki Nicole and Colombia’s Mike Bahía and Soy Emilia. Camilo is absent from this category, probably due to his previous nominations as a songwriter. Sadly, the Latin Grammy Awards failed to acknowledge Mexican corridos tumbado star Natanael Cano, who was completely overlooked this year. Fellow Mexican artist Christian Nodal was shown some love in the regional Mexican music categories.

Spain’s La Rosalía was nominated this year with Ozuna for “Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi” in the Best Urban Fusion Performance category. (Yes, the Latin Grammys are still using “Urban”). She’s up against Anuel’s “China,” Bad Bunny’s “Hablamos Mañana” with Argentine traperos Duki and Pablo Chill-E, J Balvin’s “Azúl,” and Ricky Martin’s “Cántelo” with Residente and Bad Bunny. The inaugural Best Reggaetón Performance category includes Bad Bunny’s “Yo Perreo Sola,” J Balvin’s “Morado,” Panamanian superstar Sech’s “Si Te Vas” with Ozuna, and Colombian singer-songwriter Feid’s sad boy anthem “Porfa” with Justin Quiles.

In the Best Urban album category, Bad Bunny’s YHLQMDLG is up against Anuel AA’s Emmanuel, Benito’s Oasis with J Balvin, Balvin’s Colores, Feid’s Ferxxo: Vol. 1 M.O.R., Ozuna’s Nibiru, Sech’s 1 of 1, and rising Puerto Rican rapper Myke Towers’Easy Money Baby. Other nomination highlights are Rosalía’s longtime collaborator Pablo “El Guincho” Díaz-Reixha facing Eduardo “Visitante” Cabra in the Best Producer category, Colombian-Canadian singer Lido Pimienta’s critical success Miss Colombia in the Best Alternative Music Album category, Gina Chavez’s La Que Manda in the Best Pop/Rock Album category, and Dominican artist Riccie Oriach’s Mi Derriengue in the Best Tropical Fusion Album category.

It’s interesting to see more variety among the nominations this year. To see who actually takes home the awards will be a different story. The Latin Grammy Awards will air live from Miami on Nov. 19. Univision will be showing the telecast.