CCM artist Jeremy Camp and Christian rock band Skillet held their ground as the most popular male artist and group of the year, respectively, after a record turnout of voters weighed in for Christianity Today's Readers' Choice Christian Music Awards.
For the fifth consecutive year, Camp was dubbed the "Best Male Artist," topping tobyMac, Chris Tomlin, Brandon Heath, and Jon Foreman. And for the third consecutive year, Skillet was named "Best Group or Band," besting Third Day, Casting Crowns, Children 18:3, and Family Force 5.
"[Skillet has] been the favorite for as long as we've run this survey, and they're bound to be the winner for years to come," Christianity Today expressed Monday. "Third Day and Casting Crowns may be the runners-up, but … it wasn't even close as far as the votes go."
Skillet was also tapped for "Best Album" with Comatose Comes Alive, their second live album and eighth overall project. Released on Oct. 21, the album just barely qualified the band for Christianity Today's sixth annual voter-driven music awards.
"That said, Panheads better hope that Skillet releases their next album by October 2009. Otherwise, they won't have an eligible Skillet album to vote for," Christianity Today staff exclaimed.
Not returning to a top spot this year was songstress Rebecca St. James, who had been voted Best Female Artist each year since Christianity Today's survey began in 2003. Stepping into the top spot this year is CCM singer and songwriter Natalie Grant, who for years was No. 4 in the annual survey.
"[V]oters have crowned a new favorite Female Artist, reflecting the decrease in Rebecca St. James' musical output, visibility, and radio airplay," the popular evangelical magazine commented.
Notably, St. James had taken a sabbatical this past year and also engaged herself more in the book industry and film industry. Though St. James has been reportedly working on a romantic comedy screenplay based on the popular novel What a Girl Wants , the 31-year-old songstress says she still plans to continue releasing new albums and expects her latest work to have more musical diversity than ever before.
"To the many of you who have been asking about new RSJ music in '09, the answer is 'yes,'" St. James' publicist announced last month. "Rebecca is re-energized and re-ignited on the writing front and we can expect new original RSJ music in the '09 season!"
According to Christianity Today, close to 6,000 participated in this year's online survey – nearly twice as many as last year.
The following is a list of the final results, tallied after the Nov. 10 voting deadline:
Best Male Artist
3. Chris Tomlin
4. Brandon Heath
5. Jon Foreman
Best Female Artist
2. Krystal Meyers
3. Rebecca St. James
4. Amy Grant
5. Bethany Dillon
Best Group or Band
2. Third Day
3. Casting Crowns
4. Children 18:3
5. Family Force 5
Best New Artist
Tenth Avenue North
2. Addison Road
3. Children 18:3
4. Worth Dying For
5. Chris Sligh
Skillet, Comatose Comes Alive
2. Family Force 5, Dance or Die
3. Third Day, Revelation
4. Children 18:3, Children 18:3
5. Fireflight, Unbreakable