Idol Chatter

The Gospel Music Association celebrates the many faces and voices of contemporary Christian music this week with the 38th annual Dove Awards. While the award ceremony is Wednesday evening , it won’t air in (limited) national syndication until next month. Such a lag time between award show and air date, in my opinion, points to the ongoing struggle of contemporary Christian music to remain relevant as an industry.

With more and more bands that have Christian roots finding mainstream success, one might think the demand to broadcast the best Christian music has to offer would be on the rise. And maybe it would be if the GMA was showcasing many of the more well-known CCM artists such as Jars of Clay or David Crowder Band. Although both of these bands have multiple nominations, they will not be performing or presenting. In fact, I am guessing they may not even be in attendance. But these and other major Christian acts are most likely not on the award show schedule as a conscious choice on the part of the musicians to distance themselves from an industry struggling to redefine itself while still desiring to create God-centered music.

The bottom line: The tension between art, commerce, and faith means the fans miss out some great music and some great performances on what could be an amazing awards show

So since most Idol Chatter readers will not get to watch the Dove Awards this week or see their favorite artist when it does air, I am happy to provide my thoughts and predictions on who will win tomorrow, regardless of who’s watching.

Song of the Year

The nominees are: “Bless The Broken Road”; “Cry Out To Jesus”; “Drifter”; “God’s Still God”; “Imagine Me”; “Made To Worship”; “Me And Jesus”; “My Savior My God”; “Nothing Left To Lose”; “Praise You In This Storm”

My thoughts: While “Nothing Left To Lose” has gotten huge mainstream airplay, I think this category is a close competition between two worship songs that received massive airplay on Christian radio in the past year–“Praise You In This Storm” and “Cry Out To Jesus.” Because of Third Day’s long, successful career, I am going with “Cry Out To Jesus” as the winner.

Artist of the Year

The nominees are: Casting Crowns; Chris Tomlin; Jars of Clay; Stellar Kart; The Crabb Family; Third Day; TobyMac

My thoughts: I have never understood why groups are allowed in the same category with solo artists, but regardless, I think Chris Tomlin and TobyMac have little chance to win this year. It’s going to be a race between Casting Crowns and Third Day, with Third Day coming out on top.

Male Vocalist of the Year

The nominees are: Aaron Shust; Chris Tomlin; Jeremy Camp; Mark Hall; Mat Kearney

My thoughts: Because I believe Aaron Shust is a slam dunk to win the New Artist of the Year award, I think this award will go to Mat Kearney over veterans like Jeremy Camp and Chris Tomlin.

Female Vocalist of the Year

The nominees are: Christy Nockels; Krystal Meyers; Natalie Grant; Nichole Nordeman; Rebecca St. James

My thoughts: This is probably the least interesting category to me, and makes me wish for the days of groundbreaking female artists like Jennifer Knapp and Ashley Cleveland. With such safe, traditional nominees, I will make a safe, traditional prediction and say that the winner will be Nichole Nordeman.

Group of the Year:

The nominees are: BarlowGirl; Casting Crowns; David Crowder Band; Jars of Clay; MercyMe
My thoughts: I don’t like to ever vote against my all time favorite group, Jars of Clay, but considering a MSN Poll named the David Crowder Band as the Artist of the Year, I think they will edge out MercyMe for this one.

To check out Beliefnet’s gallery of Christian music stars and to listen to music by many of this year’s Dove Award nominees, click here.

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