WHAT’S NEW 12 CCM DOVE PREDICTIONS Contributing writers Andrew Greer, Andy Argyrakis and Matt Conner go head to head over this year’s Dove predictions… MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR Nominees: Jeremy Camp, Jason Crabb, Michael English, Brandon Heath, Donnie McClurkin, Smokie Norful, Bebo Norman, Mark Schultz WILL WIN Andrew: Brandon Heath Not exactly Christian music’s best “vocalist...” Heath knows it, adding to the humble songster’s commercial charm. Content being a “Christian” musician, the reigning Male Vocalist is an industry darling and a shoe-in for this trophy. Matt: Brandon Heath Predictable, yet for good reason… Andy: Brandon Heath Brandon Heath’s obviously had a blockbuster year and deserves every second of success, not to mention he’s one of the most regarded singer/songwriters of the current generation. Plus, he amassed a plethora of hits in 2009, alongside an immensely connective tour with Leeland. SHOULD WIN Andrew: Jason Crabb With high-profi le mainstream Country recognition, a recent Grammy win and signifi cant sales of his self-titled debut, plus inimitable vocal chops, Crabb should crown this category. Matt: Donnie McClurkin McClurkin had a great album and a strong year and this would be a great nod to affi rm Black Gospel music. Andy: Michael English It may be taboo to say so in light of previous Dove scandals (he returned a previous award after admitting to an aff air), but Michael English is a hands-down vocal powerhouse on this year’s list. And considering he’s fully repentant and on the comeback trail, hopefully voters will give this powerhouse a second chance. FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR Nominees: Francesca Battistelli, Karen Peck Gooch, Natalie Grant, Heather Headley, Mandisa, Dawn Michele (Firefl ight), Laura Story WILL WIN Andrew: Francesca Battistelli She may not be the strongest singer out there, but Battistelli’s popularity is incontestable. This would be an appropriate bookend to the native Canadian’s noteworthy 2009. Matt: Francesca Battistelli After sweeping nominations last year, she cashes in with her fi rst win. Andy: Francesca Battistelli As an opening act on the Leeland/Brandon Heath tour, Francesca Battistelli also earned tremendous exposure. When coupled with her radio domination, it’s quite likely she’ll sway even the most skeptical critics. SHOULD WIN Andrew: Mandisa A dynamic live performer with an equally compelling testimony, Mandisa is one of Christian music’s most arresting talents and well deserving of the Female Vocalist title. Matt: Heather Headley She already won a Grammy this year and certainly deserves more attention. Andy: Heather Headley She may not be as familiar in gospel circles as she is in the R&B world, but Heather Headley has sterling pipes with an inspiring spiritual message to match. Provided voters are aware of her impact in the secular scene and this reverse crossover of sorts, she could pull an upset. Brandon Heath Heather Headley