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by Rachel Devitt

March 23, 2011

A Guide to Great Latin Pop Divas

by Rachel Devitt  |  March 23, 2011

The Latin pop world knows divas. Take Gloria Trevi, whose new self-titled album (out this week) serves as both a collection of snarling dance-pop and Trevi's self-professed reinvention as a supposedly scandal-free, newly focused pop star. One of Latin's grandest (and most controversial) dames, Trevi has followed a career trajectory that's gone from superstardom to serving time back to superstardom. Beloved for her fierce attitude and outspoken opinions on issues like AIDS, abortion and homosexuality, Trevi still managed to shock even her own devoted fan base when she and her manager were jailed (after fleeing to Brazil) for a sex scandal involving underage girls. Trevi spent four years in jail, then (upon clearing her name) immediately got back to the business of being a star, releasing new albums and experiencing virtually no drop in album sales. Now, that's a diva. She's not called the Mexican Madonna for nothing.

Trevi's level of infamy is relatively extreme, but in terms of all-around fabulousness, she's in fine company in Latin pop. From mambo mavens to alt ingenues, ranchera royalty to dance pop drama queens, the wide world of Latin pop has produced some serious female star power. With our handy-dandy guide to identifying your divas, you'll get to know and learn to love the ladies of Latin pop, from La Lupe to La Lopez. Instructions for using the guide are simple: First, click on the playlist link. As you listen, follow along with the guide to properly locate each diva's claim to fame. (Caution: Some divas are just too fabulous to be contained within the parameters of one category and, therefore, appear more than once.)

Your Handy-Dandy Accompanying Guide

Grand Dames

Ladies who have been living la vida loca for a few decades. These are the divas who helped shape Latin Pop.

Gloria Trevi (Mexico)

Amanda Miguel (Argentina)
Yuri (Mexico)
Gloria Estefan (Cuban American)
Marta Sanchez (Spain)
Ednita Nazario (Puerto Rico)
Myriam Hernandez (Chile)
Celia Cruz (Cuba)
Angela Carrasco (Dominican Republic)
Karina (Venezuela)

Colombian Singers Who (Mostly) Aren't Shakira

She's not the only one with George Washington hips.

Shakira
Fanny Lu
Maia
Veronica Orozco
Naty Botero

TV Presenters and Beauty Queens

Latin pop stars are often ambitious multi-taskers. Think of them as the Tracy Jordans of Latin America.

Ana Barbara (Mexico, Cumbia/Ranchera)
Ednita Nazario (Puerto Rico)
Myriam Hernandez (Chile)
Kiara (Venezuela)
Yolandita Monge (Puerto Rico)

Rock Goddesses

Some Latin pop divas just rock -- and have the chops to pull it off.

Gloria Trevi (Mexico)
Francisca Valenzuela (Chile)
Belinda (Mexico)
Kiara (Venezuela)

Dancing Queens

These ladies know their way around a dance floor and regularly have their way with hot, hot dance-pop beats.

Belinda (Mexico)
Gloria Trevi (Mexico)
Gloria Estefan (Cuban American)
Anais (Dominican Republic)
Marta Sanchez (Spain)
Thalia (Mexico)
Jennifer Lopez (The Block)

Soap Stars

A soap career is not a liability in Latin America. Telenovela stars and pop stars are practically interchangeable. Think of them as the James Francos of Latin America.

Paulina Rubio (Mexico)
Thalia (Mexico)
Belinda (Mexico)
Ximena Sarinana (Mexico)
Veronica Orozco (Colombia)

Alt Ingenues

Quirky and off-beat, these ladies make music perfect for sipping a chocolate in a hip Guadalajara cafe.

Ely Guerra (Mexico)
Sara Valenzuela (Mexico)
Kany Garcia (Puerto Rico)
Julieta Venegas (Mexico)
Naty Botero (Colombia)
Natalia Lafourcade (Mexico)

Natalias

If you want your child to become a Latin Pop star, name her Natalia. That is all.

Natalia Lafourcade (Mexico)
Natalia (Spain)
Natalia Oreiro (Uruguay)

Crossover Successes (Both Directions)

Stars who've hit the big time (or at least tried to) on both sides of the border.

Paulina Rubio (Mexico)
Jennifer Lopez (N.Y.C.)
Belinda (Mexico)
Selena (Mexico)

Singers So Fabulous Their Names Require a Definite Article

Forget these no-last-name jokers in American pop. Latin pop divas see your single-name stars and raise you a full-on title. There can be only one.

La India Meliyara (Mexico, Cumbia)
La India Canela (Dominican Republic)
La India De Oriente (Cuba)
La Lupe (Cuba)
La Lopez (N.Y.C.)

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