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Placing votes for the GMA awards

You may not be aware that anyone could place votes for the GMA awards each year - anyone who is a member of the Gospel Music Association, that is. As I voted this year, I took down notes on the reason behind my decision in certain categories. I also pondered how many of the artists whom I cast a vote would make it to the second round as the nominee list shrunk. Read on to see how I voted. Then watch the awards ceremony on the Gospel Music Channel on April 23rd live from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, TN. But don't forget to come back here to see photos from Luke, our guest reporter for the week. The winners will be listed after the awards here.

Category 1. Song of the Year: "Awakening" Switchfoot.

There may be better songs on the long list, but I need to make sure I vote for Switchfoot at least once. (Round 2: I voted for Leeland's "Tears of the Saints" since "Awakening" did not receive enough votes in the first round to make it to round 2.)

Category 3. Male Vocalist of the Year: Jon Foreman
Need I say more? (Round 2: Jon made it to the second round and received one vote from me.)

Category 4. Female Vocalist of the Year: Mandisa

Actually, I'd prefer a band led by a female vocalist over a female solo singer. But since Jennifer Knapp, still one of my top favorite female solo singers, is still MIA, I was forced to choose someone else. (Round 2: Mandisa made it to the second round and received one vote from me.)

Category 5. Group of the Year: Flyleaf

I was sure they wouldn't win. But as for one of the best live sets I saw in 2007, Flyleaf is up there. (Round 2: I guess I should not be surprised that Flyleaf did not make the first cut. Sad. So I cast a vote for David Crowder*Band in the second round.)

Category 6. Artist of the Year: Mandisa

I did not see anyone else on the list whom to cast a vote for. (Round 2: Mandisa did not make the second round, so Skillet became my choice in this category. I am not sure how I missed them the first time.)

Category 7. New Artist of the Year: The Almost

Any band that plays in the mainstream scene deserves a vote from me. (Round 2: Seeing that The Almost was not on the list, I checked one off for Group 1 Crew.)

Category 8. Producer of the Year: Ethan Luck

I don't really follow producers too much, though I probably should. Ethan is a nice guy. (Round 2: Ian Eskelin got my second round vote. Maybe next year, Ethan.)

Category 9. Rap/Hip Hop Song of the Year: "Open Bar" Grits

I am actually not familiar with most of the songs on the list. It was somewhat sad to see such a short list to choose from in this category. (Round 2: Finally! Another vote from my first round choices made it to the second round.)

Category 10. Rock Recorded Song of the Year: "Evil (A Chorus of Resistance)" Project 86

This was the first category that was a hard decision. Several Family Force Five songs to choose from, among other quality music. (Round 2: "Comatose" by Skillet received my second round vote. Just as worthy to receive my vote as my first round choice.)

Category 11. Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year: "Awakening" Switchfoot

Oh! Good. Another chance to vote for Switchfoot. Actually, most of the songs listed did not make an impression on me, so ... (Round 2: I saw "Awakening" on the list of nominees and smiled.)

Category 12. Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year: "Tears of the Saints" Leeland

I don't think I am familiar with even 1% of the songs listed which narrowed down the decision. (Round 2: Voting for "Tears of the Saints" was easier this time since the list was shorter.)

Category 21. Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year: Group 1 Crew, Group 1 Crew

Once again a small list. This was the only album I am familiar with. Not a bad album, and they put on a good live show. (Round 2: I probably would have voted for L.A. Symphony's Unleashed in the first round, but I am actually less familiar with their current music.)

Category 22. Rock Album of the Year: Jungle of the Midwest Sea Flatfoot 56

Love this music. It's crazy live. I almost got killed trying to take photos of this band. (Round 2: Great. Flatfoot 56 made it to the next level. Here's hoping that they make it to the end.)

Category 23. Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year: Oh! Gravity, Switchfoot

Ok, so maybe you think I voted because it is Switchfoot. Well, there were not many other choices that thrilled me on this list. (Round 2: Switchfoot made the cut. Will they receive the award? I hope so.)

Category 24. Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year: Secondhand Dreaming, Ruth

I am simply not familiar with the latest in Pop music. Ruth had a good sound live when I saw them open for Switchfoot five times. (Round 2: Plumb's album Blink was my first choice on the much smaller list of choices.)

Category 36. Christmas Album of the Year: Christmas Songs, Jars of Clay

The only disc on the list I am familiar with since Relient K was not an option. (Round 2: Jars made it to the list and got my vote.)

Category 37. Praise & Worship Album of the Year: Remedy, David Crowder*Band

It may not be their best album, but these guys make some great music both recorded and live. (Round 2: It is so much easier when my first round vote makes it to the reduced nominee list.)

Category 43. Long Form Music Video of the Year: "777", Underoath

I was surprised that I was not more familiar with other nominees on the list. (Round 2: I was pleased to see Underoath on the list again, and cast my vote accordingly.)