Third Day nominated again as best artist in Dove Awards

— Third Day, which won the top award at last year's Dove Awards, received six nominations on Wednesday, including another chance to win in the best artist category.

"It hopefully validates us in people's eyes," said Mac Powell, the lead singer of the Atlanta-based band. "It shows that we're not a flash-in-the-pan group."

Powell also got an additional nomination for best male vocalist.

Competing with Third Day for best artist are Steven Curtis Chapman, Nicole C. Mullen, Michael W. Smith and the platinum-selling rock group P.O.D.

Four artists tied for the most nominations, eight: Chapman, Mullen, Rebecca St. James and Toby McKeehan of the group dc Talk. McKeehan got three nominations under his real name and five under his solo pseudonym Toby Mac.

Nominations from the Gospel Music Assn. were announced in 41 categories at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts by Mullen, Nichole Nordeman and the five members of Third Day. Nominees for one remaining category, best songwriter, will be announced during the April 25 awards show at the Grand Ole Opry House.

Best male vocalist nominees are Powell, Chapman, Smith, David Phelps and Mark Schultz. Best group nominees are Avalon, P.O.D., Point of Grace, Selah and Third Day.

Mullen, St. James, Natalie Grant, CeCe Winans and Nordeman are up for best female vocalist.

Artists who established themselves in other genres were tapped for nominations.

Lou Rawls was nominated for best traditional gospel album for "I'm Blessed." Johnny Cash was nominated for his part in "Soul Lift," a multiple-artist project that is up for best special event album. The Oak Ridge Boys were nominated for best country song for "Write Your Name Across My Heart."

Mannheim Steamroller was nominated for best instrumental album for "Christmas Extraordinaire." And actress Ann Margret was nominated for best country album for "God Is Love: The Gospel Sessions."

Nominated for best new artist are Downhere, Sara Groves, Shaun Groves, Joy Williams and Zoegirl.

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