Telemundo will be broadcasting the first ever Billboard Mexican Music Awards (Premios Billboard de la Musica Mexicana) on October 27, 2011 in Los Angeles at the Orpheum Theater. This awards show, produced by State Farm and the Telemundo Network, will mark the first time a major US network produces and broadcasts an award show devoted to regional Mexican music.
Finalists and winners are determined by chart performance on Billboard’s regional Mexican charts as chronicled in Billboard Magazine and on www.billboard.com from August 28, 2010 through August 20, 2011. The special award recipients and honorees, however, are selected by Billboard for singular achievements that go beyond the charts. Also being factored into the formula determining the finalist for the top artist and top songs categories are digital track sales. This further promotes the importance of digital distribution and promotion in the music industry today. Awards will be given in 3 categories, including in the subgenres of Banda, Norteno, and Mariachi/Ranchera and duranguense/grupero music. Billboard will also honor the top labels, publishers, producers and songwriters of the year.
Billboard and Telemundo will honor three performers at the first time ceremony. The recipients for special awards will be Nortenio icons Los Tucanes de Tijuana, legendary singer Paquita la del Barrio and multi-faceted diva Jenni Rivera. Los Tucanes de Tijuana will be awarded the “Premio Legado Muiscal,” this award is in recognition of a lengthy and rich musical trajectory that has influenced the genre and its artist. The “Los Voz” Award is the award given to an artist with a distinctive and unique on and off-stage persona which will be presented to Paquita la del Barrio. Jenni Rivera will be recognized for her achievements as a musical artist beyond the realm of the performance when Telemundo presents the “El Premio de la Estella” Awards.
On the finalist front, there are a few artists who stand out with the most nominations, such as, Gerardo Ortiz, Espinoza Paz and Larry Hernandez. Ortiz and Hernandez, along with several other acts, perform narcocrridos. These types of songs tell the stories of drug dealers and their exploits. With the latest news stories depicting the drug wars throughout Mexico and its borders, it’s not a surprising thing that this type of music has gained popularity. The drug cartels have the most power and are able to wage their war with an alarming body count of over 34,000 within the last four years. However, it is a wonder of how the general public would feel about an award show where many of the artists place these cartels in a spotlight, sometimes even glamorizing them to some degree.
On the other side of the argument, an award show may just be what the Mexican people need to put a positive spin on the culture in order to beat out the negative press of late. However, these finalists reflect the massive change in the way regional Mexican music is made. The majority of nominated artists are new talent who hit the Billboard charts for the first time in 2009 or 2010, which is unlike Latin pop and tropical music, which depend on major, established acts.
Kenny Walker Jr.
Spin Live Weekly