Dove Awards Nominees Include Chris Tomlin, Lecrae and Colton Dixon

Jeremy Cowart
Chris Tomlin

The nominations for the 44th Annual Dove Awards were announced this morning, with a diverse slate of top artists including Steven Curtis Chapman, Lecrae and TobyMac all in the mix for inspirational music's biggest night. Chris Tomlin, who topped the Billboard 200 chart in January with his "Burning Lights" album, will go head to head with Francesca Battistelli, Lecrae, Tamela Mann and TobyMac for Artist of the Year, the big Dove prize.

The awards will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at Allen Arena on the campus of Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN at 7:30 p.m. CT – where the nomination ceremony took place this morning. The awards will be broadcast on Monday, Oct. 21 at 8:00 ET on the UP! Television Network. Voting for the final winners will run from Sept. 3 through Sept. 24, including the fan-voted awards for Artist and New Artist of the Year, which includes Capital Kings, Colton Dixon, for King & Country, the Rhett Walker Band, and Tasha Cobbs. 

In the Song of the Year category field, some of the highlights of the 21 nominees included "Greatly Blessed, Highly Favored," from the pen of Bill Gaither and country legend Larry Gatlin, "Live Like That" from the Sidewalk Prophets, and Tomlin’s "Whom Shall I Fear (God Of Angel Armies)."

Among some of the more notable nominations went to Chapman in the Christmas Album of the Year category for JOY. He was also nominated in the Bluegrass Album of the Year for his "Deep Roots" set. Country vets the Oak Ridge Boys garnered nods for Bluegrass Song of the Year for "Standing In The Need Of Prayer" and Country Song of the Year for "I Get To." Both cuts were from their album "Back Home Again," which was included in the Country Album of the Year category. 

"Congratulations to all the nominees of the 44th Annual GMA Dove Awards," said Jackie Patillo, executive director of the Gospel Music Association. "The Doves recognize the best of the best -- in all genres of Gospel music, celebrating talent, ministry and outstanding performances. The excitement and energy of the Dove Awards show is something we all look forward to -- and this year will prove to be better than ever."

Out of 42 categories, nominees in 22 of the categories were announced today in Nashville, where Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Lipscomb University President L. Randolph Lowery and numerous GMA board members were in attendance. The press conference was hosted by a formidable list of Dove and Grammy nominees and past winners including Battistelli, Jason Crabb, Dailey and Vincent, James Fortune, Mandisa, and Rhett Walker.

Additionally, key partners for this year's show were announced including Food for the Hungry, Official Humanitarian Partner; Cantinas Ranch, Nominee Lunch Partner; Kia Motors, Dove Cares Red Carpet and, Technology Partner. will live stream the red carpet, pre-telecast and other non-broadcast show activities.