AMA Awards: 3rd Time a Charm for Casting Crowns? You Decide

Online voters decide winners for 2007 American Music Awards

This year marks the third time award-winning Christian band Casting Crowns will head to the American Music Awards and also the first time that the public gets to decide the winners.

Casting Crowns has received a Grammy Award and for the last three years has won Gospel Music's Dove award for "Group of the Year."

But the seven-member band has yet to win as favorite artist in the AMA's Contemporary Inspirational Artist category. Last year, the title went to Kirk Franklin and in 2005 to Jars of Clay.

However, the group's record label is hoping that this year's voting system for the 2007 AMA Awards – to air live on ABC on Sunday, Nov. 18, 8-11 p.m. ET – will work in their favor.

"We are thrilled the American Music Awards are allowing fans to vote online this year," said Ben Howard, Sr. VP of Marketing & Sales for Provident Label Group.

"We anticipate this will mobilize the millions of Casting Crowns fans to champion their favorite band, and ultimately offer another opportunity for the Christian music fan to be heard on a national level."

Online voters will determine the winners in all AMA categories this year.

Other nominees in the Contemporary Inspirational category are individual Christian music artists Jeremy Camp and tobyMac.

Camp holds an advantage for the award since he was named last year as the Best Male Artist by the CCM Reader's Choice Awards while tobyMac was placed third.

Both Camp and tobyMac have recent song titles that are featured in movies playing in theater. "Feelin' So Fly," by tobyMac, is played in the new Disney movie The Game Plan and Camp's "I Am Willing" song can be heard in the animated film The Ten Commandments, to release on Oct. 19.

Casting Crowns is currently on tour playing to sold-out crowds on its headlining a tour to promote their latest album, The Altar and The Door, with more than 250,000 copies sold after debuting at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 chart.

When the band isn't traveling, the members dedicate time to First Baptist Church in Atlanta. Mark Hall, the group's lead singer and songwriter, is a youth pastor at the church.

Voting for the AMA opened on Tuesday, Oct. 9, and closes Nov. 2 at 3 a.m. ET. Only one vote is allowed per registered account from the U.S.

On the Web: Vote for your favorite contemporary inspirational artist at