(For a complete list of 53rd GRAMMY Award nominees, click here.)
This year's Gospel Field has a bit of something for everyone, and is arguably the most diverse group of nominees in years. Truth be told, The Recording Academy's voting members will have a tough time choosing between the talent, as artists from both the past and present have stepped up to deliver some of their best material. Can I get an amen?
Up first is the Best Gospel Performance category, with veterans Israel Houghton, BeBe & CeCe Winans, and Kirk Whalum & Lalah Hathaway going up against upstarts Forever Jones and VaShawn Mitchell.
The Best Traditional Gospel Album category may turn out to be the Field's most contested battle, with heavyweights Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Shirley Caesar, Karen Clark-Sheard, Patty Griffin, and Marvin Sapp all sporting strong submissions.
The competition for Best Gospel Song is just as strong. Amy Grant's soaring "Better Than A Hallelujah," Gungor's appropriately titled "Beautiful Things," Ricky Skaggs' guitar-driven "Return To Sender," Chris Tomlin's solemn "Our God," and Whalum & Hathaway's anthemic "It's What I Do" will all go head-to-head.
Not surprisingly, the Best Rock Or Rap Gospel Album category is a talented hodgepodge of eclectic music, featuring David Crowder Band, Fireflight, Gungor, Lecrae, and Switchfoot. If last year's results are any indication, with against-the-odds Third Day taking home the gold, this year's race is anybody's to win.
The Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album nominees include last year's winner Houghton alongside Steven Curtis Chapman, Sanctus Real, Skaggs, and TobyMac; while the Best Southern, Country Or Bluegrass category will definitely have a first-time GRAMMY winner in a race between Austins Bridge, Diamond Rio, Jeff & Sheri Easter, Ty Herndon, or Karen Peck & New River.
Rounding out the Field is the contest for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album. BeBe & CeCe Winans square off against with Forever Jones, Fred Hammond, Mitchell, and Aaron Sledge.
Will the Winans' national exposure give them a decided edge? Will Houghton be able to defend his crown? Will Grant recapture her GRAMMY supremacy? Will Whalum and Hathaway's collaboration be sweet music to the GRAMMY voters' ears? All of this and more will be dissected over the next few months, leading up to Music's Biggest Night.
Tune in to the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. For updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook.