Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Tainy are lone Latin artists to escape Grammys’ Latin categories

Bad Bunny and J Balvin relax in an artists' lounge at the 2019 Coachella festival.
Bad Bunny, left, and J Balvin, seen at the Coachella festival in 2019, are Grammy-nominated along with Tainy and Dua Lipa for best pop duo/group performance for “Un Día (One Day).”
(Roger Kisby / Getty Images)

Bad Bunny, J Balvin and Tainy are the only Latin artists to break beyond the Latin categories in the 2021 Grammy nominations, which were announced Tuesday morning. Their 2020 collaboration with Dua Lipa, “Un Día (One Day),” is nominated for best pop duo/group performance.

That distinction prompted some social-media grumblings about how Latin music was shut out of the top categories and relegated to its own fields. There was even talk about the Recording Academy’s Latin Grammys show, which aired last weekend.

Said one Twitter user, in a series of tweets: “man that bad bunny’s album wasn’t nominated for album of the year and instead placed in a separate category because it’s a latin album ... the alienation and discrimination is showing ... the fact that they have latin grammys just so they don’t have to have to nominate latinos in their main grammys award show.”


“How does country music have so many categories but the Latin pop and urban categories have about 5 different genres in them,” tweeted another person.

The Jan. 31 ceremony will be held amid what will likely be an unabated deadly pandemic, so Grammy organizers hoping for a less knee-buckling show than last go-round may have to wait until 2022.

Following ample criticism from those in the Latin music industry, the Grammy Awards’ Latin categories have been amended to better reflect the genres. The previous category of best Latin pop album has been converted to best Latin pop or urban album. The previous category of best Latin rock, alternative urban album is now best Latin rock/alternative album.

Best Latin pop or urban album nominees are Bad Bunny for “YHLQMDLG,” Camilo for “Por Primera Vez,” Kany García for “Mesa Para Dos,” Ricky Martin for “Pausa” and Debi Nova for “3:33.”

In the category of best Latin rock or alternative album, the nominees are Bajofondo for “Aura,” Cami for “Monstruo,” Cultura Profética for “Sobrevolando,” Fito Páez for “La Conquista del Espacio” and Lido Pimienta for “Miss Colombia.”

The Recording Academy unveiled the 2021 Grammy nominees live Tuesday morning. See how BTS, Megan Thee Stallion, Jhené Aiko and others reacted to the news.

The nominees for best regional Mexican music album (including Tejano) are Alejandro Fernández for “Hecho en México,” Lupita Infante for “La Serenata,” Natalia Lafourcade for “Un Canto por México, Vol. 1,” Mariachi Sol de Mexico de José Hernández for “Bailando Sones y Huapangos con el Mariachi Sol de México de José Hernández” and Christian Nodal for “Ayayay!”

For best tropical album, the nominees are José Alberto “El Ruiseñor” for “Mi Tumbao,” Edwin Bonilla for “Infinito,” Jorge Celedon & Sergio Luis for “Sigo Cantando al Amor (Deluxe),” Grupo Niche for “40” and Víctor Manuelle for “Memorias de Navidad.”

From Bad Bunny’s joyride through San Juan to Karol G’s “Tusa” spectacular, here are some of the best moments from Thursday’s Latin Grammy Awards.

Times staff writer Christie D’Zurilla contributed to this report.