“I Can Pray” Disqualified from 2008 Fan Awards

When the top 10 Singing News Fan Awards Song of the Year nominees were posted, Crossroads executive Mickey Gamble was as surprised as anyone else to see that last year’s Dove Brothers hit song “I Can Pray” didn’t make the list.

Of course, there was a wide variety of opinions as to why this was the case. The more recent Dove Brothers’ hit “I’m Gonna Make It” could have split the votes. Or, everyone could have just assumed it would make the top 10 and nominated other songs, intending to return to “I Can Pray” in a later round. Or, the song’s support could have been an inch wide and a mile deep–i.e, not as many people as expected liked the song, but those who did liked it so much and talked about it so much that they made up for all the rest in buzz.

But it seems everyone overlooked the real reason. Even if more people nominated the song than any other, it appears to have been disqualified on a technicality. Whenever a song actually becomes a hit, it has to be released between April 1 of the preceding year and March 31 of the year in which the nominations take place. “I Can Pray” was sent to radio in January 2007, though it didn’t peak on the charts until spring/summer 2007.

In the future, it might make more sense if the rules were revised to allow songs which released and / or peaked on the charts during the eligibility period to be nominated. But in the end, this story does have a moral: Always read the fine print.

For more about —and other Southern Gospel news and commentary—follow our RSS feed or sign up for our email updates!

17 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. May I quote the blog spot as follows…..
    “but those who did liked it so much and talked about it so much that they made up for all the rest in buzz.”

    Subject raises another topic of discussion.
    It almost sounds like talk we hear in college sports like BCS football bowl games or the NCAA basketball selection process.
    It all about timing of the year.
    Maybe “I’m Gonna Make It” song should have waited its turn so the company could put all the eggs in one basket for the client..
    Normally the conventional wisdom says do not put all your eggs in one basket. Its didn’t work this time.
    In colleges, it all about the colleges that have the best sports information department to promote their team out there.
    The only consolation that the quartet have is that they might have the silent majority on their side.

    Yes. I admit it easier to be a Monday morning quarterback because Monday morning quarterback never have a solution or substitute to the situation.

  2. Whatever SN, it’s just good ol gospel music politics being used in its truest form. Sorry, but if someone who was a little higher on the “social ladder” of southern gospel were in the same situation, I seriously doubt disqualification would even be an issue.

  3. I’m sorry, a song should be eliglble 3 years in a row if enough people want it to be their “Song of the Year”, we vote on the same artists every year don’t we? That is a stupid rule, IMHO

  4. Why didn’t the fans nominate “I Can Pray” for Song of the Year last year? It seems to me that back then it qualified and was already receiving enough attention to garner enough nominations to make it to the Top Ten. I haven’t really been a big fan of the song, but I was amazed that it didn’t make for nomination this year even if it was not qualified. The McKameys song “I Will Trust You,Lord” was nominated in 2007 when it clearly was not released in the April 2006-March 2007 period. That song was released in December 2005. Therefore,if the McKameys song could break the rules, “I Can Pray” should have been able to do it as well.

  5. Ever notice that the song has to be released between April 1 of the previous year and March 31 of the current year? Nominations are due long before March 31. That doesn’t make any sense.

  6. The title of this article made me wonder if McCray and Company were using performance enhancing drugs when they released the song!

  7. Daniel,
    If your arguement is correct why wasn’t Mark Trammell Trio’s ‘Once Upon A Cross’ disqualified from Album of the Year? It was already nominated last year and the album category follows the same eligibility rules….

    Singing News really needs to take a look at this. I understand things are missed but this just adds to the arguements there is no validity to the awards show.

  8. I had a similar question to Seaton’s. As you mentioned when you posting the links to the Top Ten songs, the Booth Brother’s have had a hit with “Look for Me” for years! And didn’t Legacy Five release “I Have Been Changed” on Live In Music City, in 2006? I wondered, even as I filled out my nominations, how particular they are about those rules. There were songs and albums that my family considered nominating, but didn’t, because it seems they wouldn’t qualify.

  9. I agree with much of what has been said.

    I would point out, though, that album release dates and song release dates are two completely different things. A song might release before an album or it might release after an album.

    If Gold City’s radio promoter decided to release a single to radio off of _Revival_ after April 1 which is just a few days from now, for example, that song would be elibigle for a 2009 Song category nomination. It doesn’t matter that the album has been out available for sale since the fall of 2006 when it comes to the song category.

  10. Heidi-The Booth Bros. cut of “Look for Me at Jesus’ Feet” has been a hit for several years.However,they didn’t release it to radio until last May-June-or July of ’07~not sure…
    But as far as radio singles are concerned,that song is eligible for release as is L5’s “I’ve Been Changed”.That song wasn’t released to radio until May/June of ’07.

  11. “that song is eligible for release”

    Sorry about that…
    I meant that the Booth Bros. and L5’s songs were eligible for nomination…not release…lol

    My bad…

  12. Ok, I get it now…thanks! 🙂 I guess I don’t really notice when songs get released to radio, since I don’t have an SG radio station where I live. Thank you Andrew, for clearing that up!

  13. “I guess I don’t really notice when songs get released to radio,”

    Heidi, I think that’s the very point that should be raised. The average fan has no idea what songs are eligible when it comes time to vote. They aren’t provided with release dates, yet they’re expected to vote for songs based on those dates. They just know whether or not they like a particular song.

    It would be simpler if the rule said any song appearing on the Singing News chart in the year running from April to March is eligible for votes. That way, some songs would overlap and be eligible in more than one year…but it would be MUCH easier for the subscribers to understand.

  14. “It would be simpler if the rule said any song appearing on the Singing News chart in the year running from April to March is eligible for votes.”

    That makes sense, only change the months from February to January, because the first-round votes are already due in the month of January. How can people vote for songs that haven’t been announced as the next single yet? That rule questions some credibility on the part of Singing News.

  15. Bryan,
    Actually, the first round votes are due in mid-March. The first ballot is in the March issue.

  16. Another possibility would be for Singing News to simply publish a list of eligible songs and albums.

    That’s how the Dove Awards voting is handled. There’s a period of time before initial voting when albums and songs are submitted to the GMA and they determine if those submissions are eligible. The GMA then sends a list of eligible titles to use in the first round of voting.

  17. “Another possibility would be for Singing News to simply publish a list of eligible songs and albums.”

    That is the best suggestion I have heard.