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Latin Grammys to allow 10 nominees for album of the year

Calle 13
The chance of winning an album of the year Latin Grammy just slightly improved. Coming to the 2012 Latin Grammy Awards is an expansion of the four top categories, which will now include 10 nominees apiece.

This adds five new contenders to best new artist, as well as the record, album and song of the year fields. The move would seem to foretell similar changes for the Grammy Awards and would follow like-minded tweaks by the Academy Awards and the Emmys. However, the Latin Recording Academy operates independently of the Recording Academy, with each maintaining a separate board of trustees.

"Each organization, independent of the other, reviews its awards process annually, evaluating proposals and recommendations to the process and then, ultimately, determining any changes to be made," said Barb Dehgan, the Recording Academy's vice president of communications and media relations.

The Recording Academy will meet in late May to discuss any changes to next year's Grammy telecast. President Neil Portnow earlier told Pop & Hiss that he "would anticipate there would be some changes this year," but he did not elaborate. 

Dehgan cautioned against reading too much into the Latin Grammy changes. She pointed out that the Latin Grammys recognize and balance works from multiple countries, whereas the Grammy Awards honor only domestic releases. 

Increasing the number of nominees has been an award show trend of late. In 2009, the Motion Picture Academy altered the rules for the Oscars to allow for 10 nominees in its best picture race. The rules were further amended in 2011 to allow for anywhere from five to 10 best picture contenders. Also in 2009, the Emmys began allowing six nominees instead of five in a number of major fields.

Specific rules as to how the 10 Latin Grammy nominees will be arrived at were not revealed. A press release from the Latin Recording Academy was vague, noting only that the body "will closely evaluate a formula that now includes 10 nominees."  

Other changes to the Latin Grammys this year were less major. Three pop field categories -- best female pop vocal album, best male pop vocal album and best pop album by a duo or group with vocals -- were combined into best contemporary pop vocal album and best traditional pop vocal album.

Also, the category of best pop/rock album was added to the rock field and best tropical fusion album was an addition to the tropical field. Also, Portuguese language albums are now allowed to contend in the alternative field. There are a total of 47 Latin Grammy categories in 2012, up from 46 in 2011. 

The Latin Grammys will be held Nov. 15 and broadcast live from Las Vegas on Univision. 

Last year, the Grammy Awards underwent a massive overhaul, when the Recording Academy slashed its number of award categories from 109 to 78. Reduced and consolidated were its R&B, American roots music, classical, Latin, jazz, country, pop and rock fields. Some artists and activists cried foul, arguing that the cuts would hurt an artist's career and unfairly targeted niche categories.

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-- Todd Martens

 Photo: Residente of Calle 13, which won the 2011 album of the year Latin Grammy for "Entren Los Que Quieran." Credit: Getty Images

 
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