Dove Awards 2020 Adapt to Coronavirus Year With Audience-free Show

Like most awards shows in the age of the coronavirus, the Dove Awards look a little different this year.

The annual showcase of top artists in contemporary Christian music won’t return to Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, for a bustling night of trophy presentation and praise-worthy performances.

Due to COVID-19 precautions, show producers instead pre-taped artist performances and stories for a program to be aired Friday at 8 EDT/7 PDT on faith-based network TBN. A total 20 artists take the Doves stage this year, including for KING & COUNTRY and Lecrae, Mandisa, Jeremy Camp, We The Kingdom and Pastor Mike Jr.

Producers were “hanging on to hope” until around June that they’d be able to host an in-person show, said Jackie Patillo, president of Gospel Music Association, a Nashville-based nonprofit group that produces the show annually. Once a pivot seemed inevitable, organizers began brainstorming how to safely deliver “a night of inspiration.”

“We took this opportunity to focus on the power of the music and the stories behind the some of the songs … revealing the hearts of these artists,” Patillo said.

Performers share stories and “special guests” — such as Steven Curtis Chapman, Natalie Grant, Christine D’Clario and Danny Gokey — reflect on 2020 during on-camera appearances.

And the show offers stories behind some of the year’s top Christian songs. This includes “The Blessing,” a number released earlier this year by Elevation Worship that “took the world by storm” during a lockdown-stricken listenership last spring, Patillo said, and “Way Maker” by Nigerian worship artist Sinach.

Sinach trekked to Middle Tennessee to perform “Way Maker” with Leeland and Mandisa at the show, Patillo said; each performance was taped last month at a TBN studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

“We know people are hurting,” she said. “People are dying. People need to be encouraged and they need to hear songs of hope and they need to hear the message of Jesus.”

Nominations for the 51st annual show are topped by format standouts Zach Williams and for KING & COUNTRY, each with five nods — including artist of the year. Those artists are trailed closely by Hillsong Worship, Kirk Franklin and Jonathan McReynolds, each with four nods .

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Source: USA Today