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The 42nd Annual  GMA Dove Awards aired last night. It definitely made for great family viewing on Easter night. This year’s awards show was a much more  solid mix of urban and pop. In year’s past the awards show focused more on the Pop Rock side of Contemporary Christian.

Last night’s show was a perfect example of “East Meeting West” if ever there was. Grammy-Award-winners Mary Mary opened the show with a Rhythm Nation-esque performance of their new single “Never Wave My Flag,” which garnered a standing ovation from the crowd.  A never-seen-before performance titled “The Singing Pastors” was a memorable highlight. In an unforgettable move, Bishop Paul S. Morton and pastors  Marvin Sapp, Smokie Norful, Dietrick Haddon and Donald Lawrence took over the stage together.

The winners were as follows:

Artist of the Year: Francesca Battistelli

Contemporary Gospel Album: Marvin Sapp

Female Vocalist of the Year: Francesca Battistelli

Male Vocalist of the Year: Chris August

Group of the Year: NEEDTOBREATHE

New Artist of the Year: Chris August

Song of the Year: “Sometimes I Cry”; Jason Crabb (artist), Gerald Crabb, Christian Taylor Music (BMI)

Songwriter of the Year: Gerald Crabb

Producer of the Year: Ian Eskeli

he night was full of special collaborations.  Chris Tomlin and the Passion Artists ignited the evening with a Praise and Worship sing-a-long of “Our God”, Third Day’s single “Children of God,” represented hope as Third Day was joined by Mark Hall of Casting Crowns and Steven Curtis Chapman to honor Chapman and his wife Mary Beth’s ministry, SHOW HOPE with the GMC UPLIFT SOMEONE award.  Kenny Rogers and Point of Grace finished with a standing ovation. Other show highlights included all of the Female Vocalist of the Year nominees performing a tribute to the legendary Sandi Patty, the Dove Award’s most honored female singer to date.

Kirk Franklin raised the roof in his inimitable way his high energy closing that rounded out an evening of performances that ranged from country to hip-hop to contemporary gospel, rock and pop all representing the uplifting message of Gospel and Christian music. All-in-all, the evening played host to many outstanding performances by Jason Crabb and MIKESCHAIR, Natalie Grant and LeCrae, Committed and Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, Mary Mary, Kenny Rogers with Point of Grace and many more. The Dove Awards represent a wide-array of musical styles ranging from Adult Contemporary, Bluegrass, Country, Gospel, Inspirational, Pop, Rap/Hip-Hop, Rock, Spanish Language, Urban and Worship categories.  The most moving moment of the evening was Marvin Sapp dedicating his award to the memory of his wife.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. First time host Sherri Shepherd was a standout having the audience in the palm of her hand and clearly enjoyed the musical performances.  This is the first time a non-musical act has hosted the awards show.

Here is fan view of The  Pastors performance:

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