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Dove Awards returns to Atlanta for second year

- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 18, 2012

ATLANTA (AP) - The Dove Awards show for Christian and gospel music returns for the second straight year to Atlanta and organizers hope to hold another successful and inspiring event.

Music artists ranging from Yolanda Adams, Natalie Grant to rapper Lecrae are expected to perform at the awards show, which will be taped Thursday at the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta. The show will air on April 24 on GMC, formerly the Gospel Music Channel.

Singer Jason Crabb, who is up for artist of the year, leads all nominees with eight. Last year, Crabb and the group Point of Grace joined Francesca Battistelli in claiming three Doves apiece.

"Whether I win or not, I'll be happy with what I get," said Crabb, who will also look to win his first male vocalist of the year award.

Laura Story is up for six nominations and Lecrae received five nods for the show, which has run for 43 consecutive years. Story started off the year strong, winning her first Grammy for her single "Blessings" in February.

Other expected performers include R&B singer Ruben Studdard, Mandisa, The Issacs, Jamie Grace and Donnie McClurkin.

"This is going to be a great experience," said Lecrae, whose label Reach Records also has three other artists nominated for Dove Awards. "The recognition alone means a lot to us, because we're doing it independently and in a non-traditional way. So we're grateful to be recognized."

Kirk Franklin, who recently collected two Grammys and two NAACP Image Awards, hasn't won a Dove Award since 2007. He'll seek his first male vocalist of the year with Crabb, Christ August, Chris Tomlin and Steven Curtis Chapman.

Actor David Mann of Tyler Perry's sitcom "Meet the Browns" and Christian comedian Chonda Pierce will co-host the show.

Mann's wife, Tamela Mann who is known as Cora in Tyler Perry's plays, movies and TV show, is expected to be one of the presenters. Singer Montell Jordan and producer Aaron Lindsey are also expected to be presenters.

The Dove Award moved to Atlanta after being held in Tennessee for four decades.

More than 1.5 million watched the awards show last year on GMC.

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Online:

GMA Dove Awards: _http://www.doveawards.com/

Follow Jonathan Landrum Jr. on Twitter at _http://www.twitter.com/mrlandrum31

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