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MercyMe, Third Day, Smitty at 2002 Dove Awards forefront

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Breakthrough artist MercyMe and its lead songwriter, Southern Baptist evangelist Bart Millard, won the prestigious Song of the Year honor for “I Can Only Imagine,” capping off a night of celebration for contemporary Christian music at the 33rd Annual Dove Awards April 25 at the Grand Ole Opry House and broadcast nationally by PAX TV.

Perennial honoree Michael W. Smith earned five Doves, including the evening’s major award, Artist of the Year, bringing his career total to 33 awards.

Last year’s big winner, Third Day, added to its momentum with five Doves, taking home Group of the Year for the second straight year.

The evening featured 42 awards presented during the pre-show and PAX telecast. In addition to Artist of the Year, Smith’s six awards included Praise and Worship Album for “Worship” (performer, producer); Inspirational Song, “Above All”; and Instrumental Album of the Year for “Freedom” (performer, producer).

Third Day front man Mac Powell was named Male Vocalist of the Year. The band received additional awards for Rock Song (performer, songwriter) and Album of the Year for “Come Together.” The band’s live video, “Third Day Live in Concert: The Offerings Experience,” also received a Dove. Toby McKeehan received five Doves: Producer of the Year; Rap/Hip-Hop/Dance Album, “Momentum” (performer, producer); and Rap/Hip-Hop/Dance Song (performer, producer) for “Somebody’s Watching Me.”

In addition to Song of the Year, “I Can Only Imagine” also won for Inspirational Song of the Year. Nicole C. Mullen won the Dove Award for Female Vocalist of the Year and a Dove for Short Form video for “Call on Jesus.” ZOEgirl was honored as New Artist of the Year.

NFL Super Bowl quarterback Kurt Warner and Elektra recording artist Yolanda Adams hosted the Doves, which featured 19 total performances, the most in the show’s history. In total, more than 200 individual artists performed on the broadcast, representing nearly every style of Christian and gospel music.

Steven Curtis Chapman, Dove winner for Pop Contemporary Album for “Declaration,” opened the show with that album’s first track, the bright and energetic “Live Out Loud.” Mullen added her unique style of pop with “Call on Jesus.” Performing “J-Train,” McKeehan returned this past year to his hip-hop roots, as solo artist TobyMac. Alternative pop band Jars of Clay debuted “I Need You,” a new single from the recently released “The Eleventh Hour.” Kirk Franklin, Dove winner for Urban Recorded Song for “Thank You,” from the “Kingdom Come” soundtrack, gave his usual rousing translation of gospel music with a medley of gospel favorites including “He Reigns.” A worship theme ran throughout the show as several artists, including Delirious, Rebecca St. James and Smith, showed why praise and worship is one of the most popular styles of Christian music today.

Several performances produced unforgettable moments from the evening, including: Shawna Prosser, the widow of one of the American military casualties from Operation Enduring Freedom, introduced an all-star artist choir, Voices of Hope, that gathered for the national television debut of “In God We Trust,” the Christian music industry’s anthem dedicated to post-Sept. 11 healing. “In God We Trust” is currently the fastest-rising single on Christian radio and is exclusively featured on Dove Hits 2002. MercyMe’s performance of “I Can Only Imagine” was accompanied by an inspiring video that underscored the emotional and inspirational power of song. Watching the show in person was 16-year-old cancer patient Paige Overhultz at the Dove Awards to meet MercyMe.

“I can’t remember a more magical night for Christian and gospel music,” said Frank Breeden, president of the Gospel Music Association and executive producer of the Dove Awards. “I’m so glad a national television audience joined those of us at the Opry House to experience our industry showcasing its diversity, incredible musicianship and inspiring music.”

FamilyNet Television, a Southern Baptist-affiliated cable network that broadcasts to a potential 40 million TV households, televised the live two-hour pre-show where more than 35 Dove Awards were handed out. Female Vocalist nominee Natalie Grant and comedian Jeff Allen hosted the live pre-show telecast, sponsored by Sparrow Records’ Dove Hits 2002.

The complete list of winners includes:

— Song of the Year: “I Can Only Imagine”; Bart Millard; Simpleville Music

— Songwriter of the Year, Bart Millard

— Male Vocalist of the Year, Mac Powell

— Female Vocalist of the Year, Nicole C. Mullen

— Group of the Year, Third Day

— Artist of the Year, Michael W. Smith

— New Artist of the Year, ZOEgirl

— Producer of the Year, Toby McKeehan

— Rap/Hip Hop/Dance Recorded Song of the Year, “Somebody’s Watching Me”; Momentum; TobyMac; Toby McKeehan, Michael-Anthony Taylor, Rockwell; ForeFront

— Modern Rock/Alternative Recorded Song of the Year, “Invade My Soul”; Invade My Soul; By The Tree; Chuck Dennie; Fervent

— Hard Music Recorded Song of the Year, “Live For Him”; Above; Pillar; Rob Beckley, Travis Jenkins, Brad Noone, Michael Wittig; Flicker

— Rock Recorded Song of the Year, “Come Together”; Come Together; Third Day; Tai Anderson, Brad Avery, David Carr, Mark Lee, Mac Powell; Essential

— Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year, “I Can Only Imagine”; Almost There; MercyMe; Bart Millard; INO

— Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year, “Above All”; Worship; Michael W. Smith; Lenny LeBlanc, Paul Baloche; Reunion

— Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year, “He’s Watching Me”; I Do Believe; Gaither Vocal Band; Tina Sadler; Spring Hill

— Bluegrass Recorded Song of the Year, “Thank You, Lord, For Your Blessings On Me”; By Request, Their Greatest Hits; Easter Brothers; Russell Easter, James Easter, Edd Easter; Thoroughbred

— Country Recorded Song of the Year, “Goin’ Away Party”; Ordinary Day; Jeff & Sheri Easter; Bruce Haynes; Spring Hill

— Urban Recorded Song of the Year, “Thank You”; Kingdom Come, The Soundtrack; Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary; Kirk Franklin; GospoCentric

— Traditional Gospel Recorded Song of the Year, “Hold On”; Press On; Selah; Jesse Dixon; Curb

–Contemporary Gospel Recorded Song of the Year, “Anybody Wanna Pray?”; CeCe Winans; CeCe Winans; Cedric Caldwell, Victor Caldwell, Margaret Bell, Tommy Sims; Wellspring Gospel

— Rap/Hip Hop/Dance Album of the Year, “Momentum”; TobyMac; TobyMac, Michael-Anthony Taylor, Pete Stewart, Jeff Savage, Randy Crawford, Todd Collins; ForeFront

— Modern Rock/Alternative Album of the Year, “Invade My Soul”; By The Tree; Steve Hindalong, Bob Wohler; Fervent

— Hard Music Album of the Year, “The Light In Guinevere’s Garden”; East West; Bob Burch; Floodgate

— Rock Album of the Year, “Come Together”; Third Day; Monroe Jones; Essential

— Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year, “Declaration”; Steven Curtis Chapman; Brown Bannister, Steven Curtis Chapman; Sparrow

— Inspirational Album of the Year, “Press On”; Selah; Jason Kyle, Todd Smith, Allan Hall, Nicol Smith; Curb

— Southern Gospel Album of the Year, “Encore”; Old Friends Quartet; Bill Gaither, Wesley Pritchard, Ben Speer; Spring House

— Country Album of the Year, “From The Heart”; The Oak Ridge Boys; Michael Sykes, Duane Allen; Spring Hill

— Urban Album of the Year, “Just Remember Christmas”; Fred Hammond; Fred Hammond; Verity

Traditional Gospel Album of the Year, “Hymns”; Shirley Caesar; Bubba Smith, Shirley Caesar, Michael Mathis; Word

— Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year, “CeCe Winans”; CeCe Winans; Brown Bannister, Robbie Buchanon, Tommy Sims; Wellspring Gospel

— Instrumental Album of the Year, “Freedom”; Michael W. Smith; Michael W. Smith, Bryan Lenox; Reunion

— Praise & Worship Album of the Year, “Worship”; Michael W. Smith; Michael W. Smith, Tom Laune; Reunion

— Children’s Music Album of the Year, “Bedtime Prayers Lullabies and Peaceful Worship”; Twila Paris; John Hartley, Derald Daugherty; Sparrow

— Spanish Language Album of the Year, “Mi Corazon”; Jaci Velasquez; Emilio Estefan, Jr., Rudy Perez, Mark Heimermann, Alberto Gaitin, Ricardo Gaitin, Alejandro Jean, Freddy Pinero, Jr., Lewis Martinee, Jose Miguel Velasquez; Word

— Special Event Album of the Year, “Prayer of Jabez”; Sarah Sadler, Margaret Becker, Geoff Moore, Steve Reischl, Erin O’Donnell, Adrienne Liesching, Jamie Rowe, Phil Keaggy, Rebecca St. James, Michael Tait, Jill Phillips, Kevin Max; John Hartley, David Zaffiro; ForeFront

— Musical of the Year, “He Chose The Nails”; Bryan Lenox, Glenn Wagner; Here To Him

— Youth/Children’s Musical of the Year, “The Noise We Make”; Karla Worley, Robert Sterling; Word

— Choral Collection of the Year, “God of Wonders”; Steven V. Taylor, Johnathan Crumpton; Brentwood

— Recorded Music Packaging of the Year, “Freedom”; Michael W. Smith; Tim Parker; Tim Parker; Andrew Southam, Jimmy Abegg; Reunion

— Short Form Music Video of the Year, “Call On Jesus”; Nicole C. Mullen; Randy Brewer; Jeffrey Phillips; Word

— Long Form Music Video, “Third Day Live In Concert — The Offerings Experience”; Third Day; Michael Sacci, Ken Conrad; Carl Diebold; CT Ventures

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