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Contributing writers Andrew Greer, Andy Argyrakis
and Matt Conner go head to head over this year’s
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Nominees: Jeremy Camp, Jason Crabb, Michael English, Brandon
Heath, Donnie McClurkin, Smokie Norful, Bebo Norman, Mark Schultz
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.
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
FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Nominees: Francesca Battistelli, Karen Peck Gooch, Natalie Grant,
Heather Headley, Mandisa, Dawn Michele (Firefl ight), Laura Story
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.
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
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.