Christian music fans have been buzzing since nominees for the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards were announced last month. Doves will be handed out to nominees in 43 categories on April 20 at the historic Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Ga. The television broadcast will then air Easter Sunday on gmc. The nominees on this year’s ballot are perhaps among some of the most diverse. TobyMac and Chris Tomlin lead the nominations this year with six each, with Jason Crabb and Francesca Battistelli not far behind them with an abundance of nominations.
Each week, from now up until the awards, we will take a look at the nominees in one of six major categories. We’ll tell you who we think should win, who will win, who is strangely absent and who really should have been nominated. We hope you’ll join us on this road to the Dove Awards and that you will add your own two cents…
So without further ado, we’ll start with the BIGGEST category of the evening: Artist of the Year.
ARTIST OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
- Francesca Battistelli
- Jason Crabb
- Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
- Natalie Grant
- Marvin Sapp
- Chris Tomlin
There are several ways to look at this category, and it all comes down to how you define “Artist of the Year.” tobyMac won this honor back in 2009, and he epitomizes “Artist of the Year” for 2011. He kickstarted 2010 with the release of Tonight (ForeFront), his biggest solo project to date. It released too late to be considered for nominations in last year’s awards, though “City On Our Knees” did receive some nods. Per his usual agenda, toby toured relentlessly creating some of the year’s most memorable collaborative experiences as he headlined tours alongside A-level acts such as Chris Tomlin, Skillet, Brandon Heath, Third Day and Michael W. Smith, among others. In addition, he’s spent a good part of the year mentoring other up-and-coming artists on his own Gotee Records. Chris Tomlin comes a close second for this category, though his record released too late in the voting game to give him as much traction as toby.
Although it’s my personal opinion that the Artist of the Year honor should be reserved for artists who are further into their careers and have some musical history from which to draw from, Francesca Battistelli has the full force of Word Entertainment behind her. And A LOT of enthusiastic fans! She’s had a great year at radio even though her debut released over two years ago. Her brand-new album, Hundred More Years (Fervent), debuted at No. 1 on the Christian Soundscan charts earlier this month just as her first single from the album, “This Is The Stuff,” hit No. 1 at radio. The buzz surrounding Ms. Battistelli’s new album could be just enough to slide her over the hump and land her into the winner’s circle for this one. With a total of four nominations, this could be Ms. Battistelli’s year at the Doves.
WHO’S MISSING: CASTING CROWNS
Last year’s first time Artist of the Year winner is oddly missing from this category. For that matter, the categories are strangely void of Crowns this year altogether. Although they only released a live CD/DVD combo this year, it’s odd considering they are one of the best-selling acts in Christian music (and have been for years).
You can check out a full list of nominees for the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards here. Artist of the Year is one of two categories this year where fans can vote! Cast your vote at www.watchgmctv.com/fanvote.
Who do you think will win Artist of the Year? Who do you think should have been nominated that wasn’t? Leave your comments below.