Unity: The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson features the King of Pop's hits reworked as salsa tunes, and producer and arranger Tony Succar felt sure his album would be a top contender for a prize at this year's Latin Grammys.

But, on the eve of the nominations, he has learned the project was never even in the running for an award, because members of the Latin Recording Academy considered the album wasn't Spanish enough.

Succar tells Billboard.com, "I don't know how much more Latin the project can get."

A spokesman for the Latin Academy says, "The recording in question is 75 per cent English...10 of the 12 tracks were recorded in English."

Succar has contested the decision in an email to Latin Academy president Gabriel Abaroa, protesting the disqualification and criticising the members for counting the number of Spanish and English words in his album's songs to determine whether or not it was eligible.

He writes, "Uh-huh huh huh huh - this was counted as four English words. Since when are the words uh and huh considered as English words? To my defense, who says that the singer or background singers are singing 'uh'? If you sound it out, you'll actually hear 'ah'. If this is the case, then isn't 'ah' supposed to be considered a Spanish word? When I recorded the song, I made the singers sing 'ah'... and then 'ooo'... but trust me, I definitely was not thinking, 'Hey, is this Spanish or English?'

"I would like to ask you to please take a step back for a minute and analyze the situation from a more musical perspective, rather than such an obscure arbitrary procedure. For us to have to sit down and literally count word by word to prove a point...which is supposed to be a musical point, this is something I would have never thought in my wildest dream we would ever have to do in order to qualify for a Latin Grammy pre-nomination, especially when dealing with a project where everything about it is Tropical/Latin. Please use the instrument we all use in order to feel the music, our ears."