Idol Chatter

Kirk Franklin just won the American Music Award in the Contemporary Inspirational category, adding to his crowded shelf of Gospel Music Association Dove Awards and Gospel Grammys. Yay, Kirk! In fact, his fellow nominees in the categories are very deserving in themselves: Casting Crowns and Aly & AJ.

What none of these artists deserve is to be lumped into the same award category. Casting Crowns is middle-of-the road white-boy pop rock, while the exceedingly pure Aly and AJ’s cover of “Walking on Sunshine” anchors the soundtrack of Disney’s remake of its own “Herbie the Love Bug.”

Once upon a time, gospel, Christian rock, and inspirational performers were grouped together because their tiny independent labels were only fit to compete against each other. Not anymore. Kirk’s first thank you went out to his label Zomba, a mainstream subsidiary of recording giant BMG. The distribution available to Christian Nashville groups rivals any other artist. Instead of a sampler pack of Christian acts—one from each genre within the Christian universe—the AMAs and everyone else ought to free Kirk and the rest of the Christian crowd to compete in their natural categories.

With every winner from Rascal Flatts to Mary J. Blige fulsomely praising God for their brand new statuettes, future Christian winners in the R&B, country, rock, and rap fields will fit right in.

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