- (Photo: AP Images / NBCU / Paul Drinkwater)
MercyMe won their second American Music Award for Favorite Artist in Contemporary Inspirational Music.
This was their third nomination in the category; they previously won the title in 2004.
The Dallas-based Christian band, whose mission is "to make Christ the center of attention and lead those who will follow to the throne room through worship," was up against some of the most popular Christian artists – TobyMac and Casting Crowns. The winner was determined by online voting at the official Coca-Cola voting location and on the ABC website.
Following the win, the band released a statement to fans saying, “It makes sense that we’d win a ‘Fan Voted’ award because you guys are amazing. Seriously we couldn’t ask for a better community that surrounds us and our music. Thank you so much for being involved in our ministry. We can’t thank you enough.”
The band has received messages on their Twitter account from fans and contenders alike. TobyMac tweeted, “Congrats to Mercy Me on the AMA ... you are some good peeps and I am proud to call u friends! Thanks for representin' my brothas.”
Southern California Pastor Rick Warren participated on their Twitter page, commenting, “Proud of our guys for winning another American Music Award! Uncompromising witness for Jesus!"
Order Online: Mercy Me: The Generous Mr. Lovewell (CD)
In a playful video on the closing day of the vote, MercyMe frontman Bart Millard appealed to fans indirectly while pretending to write a diary. “Oh diary, if only our fans could understand what it means to vote for us at the American Music Awards and that today is the last day to possibly vote, … if only they knew how much it would mean to us, for one day if we dream big enough our name might scroll across the bottom of the show because we’re not a category that’s actually televised. Oh diary, our hopes are set so high.”
MercyMe won the AMA during a pre-show, which was not shown on TV.
Of course, it wasn’t just Millard’s brief appeal that got fans voting. Over the past few months, the band has been playing for packed houses on its Lovewell Live tour. MercyMe has also been rocking the charts with songs from its 2010 release, The Generous Mr. Lovewell, which debuted at No. 3 on Billboard's Top 200, selling over 80,000 units its first week. The band's single "Beautiful" has been climbing several charts, including Billboard’s Christian AC Chart, after landing in the Top 10 at Soft AC/Inspo as well as the Top 10 on iTunes Christian Singles Sales Chart.
The Grammy-nominated band also made history this year with their mega hit "I Can Only Imagine," which surpassed 1 million digital downloads, making it the first song in Christian music to go platinum in the digital domain.