Some of the most fun leading up to GRAMMY season is guessing which artists will be nominated for music's most coveted prize. It's this sense of anticipation that gives GRAMMY season a sense of wonder and opportunity. It's the time when everyone seemingly has a chance to win, until the nominations are announced.
This year's nominees in the Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Field featured an equal amount of familiar names and welcome surprises. Handicapping the genre's winners has never proven to be easy; however, this year it may prove to be impossible, starting with the Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance category, which features Casting Crowns ("Jesus, Friend Of Sinners"), Tamela Mann ("Take Me To The King"), Mary Mary ("Go Get It"), Matt Redman ("10,000 Reasons [Bless The Lord]"), and Marvin Sapp ("My Testimony").
All five songs are worthy heirs to the GRAMMY gold, yet only one can be crowned. Who will be the lucky winner?
The candidates for Best Gospel Song are an even tougher bunch to separate. Nominees include the anthemic "Go Get It" by Mary Mary, which finds the Campbell sisters never sounding better; the equally inspirational "Hold On" by James Fortune and FIYA featuring Monica and Fred Hammond — anyone thinking about not holding on would reconsider after listening; "I Feel Good," Hammond's catchy head-nodder that spills a simplistic sermon that you can both sing and live to; Sapp's otherworldly "My Testimony," a song that features the singer pouring out his heart to anyone who will listen; and the encouraging, affirming "Released" by Bill Winston and Living Word featuring Donald Lawrence.
The genre continues to be blessed with superlative albums in the Best Gospel Album category. This year's contenders are Fortune and FIYA (Identity), Israel & New Breed (Jesus At The Center Live), Lecrae (Gravity), Sapp (I Win), and Anita Wilson (Worship Soul).
With so much quality music and so many worthy candidates, now is when the real guessing begins, and will continue all the way to Feb. 10, 2013, when the winners are revealed.
Let's get ready for Music's Biggest Night.