Let’s face it. There are a lot of bands in Christian music, which makes Group of the Year one of the most crowded categories. There’s never enough room to honor all of the worthy contenders. However, the seven nominees up for this year’s Dove all have reason to be in this category.

GROUP OF THE YEAR NOMINEES

  • Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
  • Gaither Vocal Band
  • Sidewalk Prophets
  • Tenth Avenue North
  • MercyMe
  • MIKESCHAIR
  • NEEDTOBREATHE

MercyMe

SHOULD WIN: MERCYME

MercyMe is arguably one of the biggest bands in Christian music history. While much of the band’s success stems from mega cross-over hit “I Can Only Imagine,” MercyMe is far from a one hit wonder. Bart Millard & Co. have proven time and time again that the band’s talent is no fluke but a God-given talent. With each successive release, the band seems to churn out powerful songs that are creative, cohesive, memorable and timeless. “All of Creation” (also nominated for Song of the Year) is simply a recent example. The band hasn’t won Group of the Year since 2004, and they’ve contributed a wealth of quality songs to the genre since then. This would be a well-deserved win for the band, especially considering The Generous Mr. Lovewell (INO)–MercyMe’s latest release–garnered the biggest street week of the band’s career.

Tenth Avenue NorthWILL WIN: TENTH AVENUE NORTH

When NEEDTOBREATHE was announced as last year’s Group of the Year, everyone was surprised. It wasn’t that NEEDTOBREATHE wasn’t worthy of the win. They consistently release music that is beloved by industry insiders and fans alike that is relevant, unique and creative. However, after winning Song of the Year, everyone figured Tenth Avenue North would likely snag Group as well. This will likely be the year that prediction comes true. While the popular pop/rock band won’t likely walk away with Song of the Year this year, they have a great chance at Group. With a string of No. 1 hits to their name in a relatively short time, a slew of high-profile touring slots, two best-selling albums and a live CD/DVD, the men of Tenth Avenue North are fast becoming the future of Christian music.

Third DayWHO’S MISSING: THIRD DAY

There are several deserving names noticeably absent from the Group nominee list this year: Casting Crowns, Sanctus Real and David Crowder Band, to name a few. However, most surprising is the absence of veteran rock band Third Day. In many ways, this band has helped define the pop/rock genre of Christian music; and with each successive release, the band seems to reinvent itself and find a broader audience. They continue to serve up substantial material that pushes creative boundaries and defies the limitations of one particular fanbase. With the release of new album Move (Essential) this past year, along with continued non-stop touring from the band, it was disappointing not to see their name on the final ballot.

You can check out a full list of nominees for the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards here.

Artist of the Year Predictions

Song of the Year Predictions

Male Vocalist of the Year Predictions

Female Vocalist of the Year Predictions

Who do you think will win the Dove for Group of the Year? What band or group do you think should have been nominated who wasn’t? Leave your comments below.