You most likely won’t see any of the Grammy awards in Christian music handed out during the telecast this Sunday – they’ll be awarded in a pre-show ceremony – but that won’t stop us from taking a look at the nominees. There are now 5 awards in the “Gospel” category, and some of them collapse just about every Christian music sub-genre into a single award. Consider, for example, the nominees for Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance: Tasha Cobbs – Break Every Chain; Natalie Grant – Hurricane; Matt Maher – Lord I Need You; Mandisa – Overcomer; and Tye Tribbett – If He Did It Before. Odds are, you are familiar with two, maybe three, of these songs. Even if you know them all well, I’ll bet you’d be hard pressed to pick a single “Best” performance. For all its criticisms of sameness, this genre of ours can certainly be eclectic when viewed from a distance.

Two categories stick with CCM, and they’re power-packed, with few surprises. The nominees for Best Song, which is a songwriters award, are:

  • Hurricane  (Natalie Grant)
  • Love Take Me Over (Steven Curtis Chapman)
  • Overcomer (Mandisa)
  • Speak Life (TobyMac)
  • Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies) – (Chris Tomlin)

SCC is an award-show juggernaut, and Tomlin was ubiquitous in the early part of the year, but I’m predicting a trophy for Mandisa (her first), given the attention in the popular media afforded to “Overcomer” and the excellent music video.

In the Album category, the nominees are:

  • We Won’t Be Shaken (Building 429)
  • All the People Said Amen (Matt Maher)
  • Overcomer (Mandisa)
  • Your Grace Finds Me (Matt Redman)
  • Burning Lights (Chris Tomlin)

Here, I’m predicting a win for Tomlin. He won the same award in 2011, and this album had just as much impact.

One last note: look for The Civil Wars to take away a Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group performance for “From This Valley” from their remarkable swan song.