MIAMI (AP) _ Mexican artists Lupillo Rivera, with six nominations, and Juan Gabriel, with five, lead the finalists for Thursday's Billboard Latin Music Awards in Miami Beach.
Rivera, who was born in Mexico but raised in Long Beach, Calif., received the nominations for his albums ``Despreciado'' and ``Sufriendo a Solas.'' The nominations include regional Mexican album of the year, airplay track of the year and new artist.
He is among the best-known artists of the regional Mexican style, and returned to Mexico to record ``Despreciado.''
Gabriel, a Latin music veteran and one of the genre's most popular performers, is nominated for songwriter, track and artist of the year. His album, ``Vivo,'' earned him the male artist award for pop album of the year in 2001.
Marco Antonio Solis, a member of Billboard's Latin Music Hall of Fame, is nominated in four categories.
Female finalists include Jaci Velasquez and mainstays Jennifer Lopez and Gloria Estefan. Velasquez's ``Como Se Cura Una Herida'' is nominated for track of the year.
Billboard's Latin Music Awards honor the most popular albums, songs, and performers in Latin music as determined by sales and radio airplay data published on Billboard's weekly charts.
Also to be handed out are Spirit of Hope and Lifetime Achievement awards. Past winners of the spirit award, which honors civic and humanitarian contributions, include Willy Chirino, Olga Tanon and Los Tigres Del Norte.
Other artists and groups competing for awards include Ricky Martin, Vicente Fernandez, Victor Manuelle, Marc Anthony, Alejandro Fernandez, A.B. Quintanilla Y Los Kumbia Kings and Ozomatli.
Telemundo, a Spanish-language television network, will air the ceremony Sunday.