The nominations are announced and the polls are officially open, which means the 2011 Dove Awards are about to fly into Atlanta. For those who can’t make it to the Fox Theatre on Wednesday, April 20, there’s always the chance to watch on gmc, but for those still on the fence, consider these 11 reasons your ultimate invitation to catch the best from all genres on Christian music’s biggest night.
1. A change of scenery
Sometimes change is just what the doctor ordered, and although it’s hard to imagine the Dove Awards happening anywhere but Nashville, there’s a strong community of Christian artists and fans who live in Atlanta, too. Casting Crowns, Third Day, Chris Tomlin and many of the other Passion movement artists, as well as a number of traditional gospel artists will have a short drive on their side, while those who reside in Music City have a great excuse for a road trip. And for anyone watching on TV, the fresh sets and scenery are sure to dazzle and possibly even inspire a pilgrimage next year.
2. Theatre to the stars
Since 1929, the Fox Theatre has played host to a series of world class shows, including Broadway plays and concerts as diverse as Liberace and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The acoustically pristine hall is also included on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is a bona-fide historic landmark, not to mention a classy site for an evening out.
3. Lots of laughs
Gear up for loads of giggles courtesy of superstar host Sherri Shepherd, current ringleader on “The Newlywed Game,” actress on “30 Rock” and co-host of “The View.” She’s headstrong, opinionated, snappy, spiritually-centered and able to stand up to none other than Babs Walters during their day time talk juggernaut, meaning she’s bound to be fun to watch!
4. History in the making
Considering the results get tabulated in the Gospel Music Association’s permanent record, you’ll literally be seeing history in the making. Previous years have also included a slew of monumental moments, from a tear-jerking tribute to the departed Dottie Rambo, to an emotional acceptance speech from a post tragedy-stricken Steven Curtis Chapman, or a dream duet between Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith on the iconic “Friends.”
5. More than 40 categories of Christian music
Think Christian music is just adult contemporary and praise & worship? Guess again, because with 40-plus categories of nominations, viewers are guaranteed to catch the best of urban gospel, southern gospel, pop, rock, alternative, special event collectives and even children’s acts.
6. Keep score with your friends
The watchgmctv.com writers love to make predictions and it’s even more fun when we’re right (though we usually bat 50/50 just because it’s always so close!) Make a list of guesses beforehand and keep a running tally as the victors are announced, and for extra fun, treat the winner in your group to dinner.
7. Shorter acceptance speeches
Sometimes award shows can drag on when people start rambling, but with the cameras rolling and a jam-packed production schedule, artists are being encouraged to keep their “thank-yous” succinct. And chances are they’ll oblige in the spirit of keeping the fast-paced show on track, plus hitting the powder room before their performance.
8. Plenty of performances
As previously hinted, less time chatting means more time singing. Continuing with the tradition established since gmc started broadcasting the show in 2008, performances will take precedence and allow more nominees than ever to be highlighted before the major envelopes are opened.
9. Favorite females
Gospel music loves its girls, as demonstrated by the increasing female presence amidst the festivities. Piano pop/acoustic rock rising star Francesca Battistelli pops up, as does diva extraordinaire Natalie Grant. Add in gospel greats Mary Mary, plus comedienne Chonda Pierce, and it’s sure to be a well-balanced batch of harmonies and laughs.
10. Gospel-centered guys
Though many more will be announced as the broadcast date nears, the show is confirmed to include performances from several famous fellas. The ultra-versatile Jason Crabb is sure to interject some southern-flanked blue-eyed soul into the show, Marvin Sapp will croon his smooth R&B stylings, while Chris Tomlin rounds out the evening with praise and worship.
11. A producer’s promise
Perhaps Rex Humbard, vice president of production & operations for gmc, sums up the upcoming evening best: “We are really excited to have the event in our backyard,” he assures. “Atlanta is a diverse music town and the fabulous Fox is a great venue for this show. We’re looking forward to another big night of awards and unique performances that you can see only on gmc.”
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About the Writer
Andy Argyrakis is a Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer who appears in the Chicago Tribune, IllinoisEntertainer, Daily Journal, Concert Livewire, Hear/Say Magazine and Image Chicago (to name few). His record label writing credits include Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI and Universal, with additional photo credits for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Pollstar, Celebrity Access, Paste Magazine, MTV.com and Vibe.com. He’s also the author/narrator of "Access Matthews" (an audio CD tracing the career of Dave Matthews Band) and spends considerable time on tour, including outings with Arlo Guthrie, The Guess Who, Madina Lake (on Linkin Park’s Projekt Revolution) and Gospel Music Channel’s very own "Gospel Dream" (where he served as season one judge).