NASHVILLE, Tenn. — For the first time in its four-year run, the KLOVE Fan Awards produced three double winners Sunday at its annual celebration of Christian music at the Grand Ol’ Opry House.
On a star-studded evening that included magic, comedy and non-stop contemporary Christian artists, the trio of Lauren Daigle, Danny Gokey and For Kind and Country stole the show — each winning two awards to combine for six of the evening’s 12 trophies.
For King and Country, the most-awarded artist, single or group, in KLOVE Fan Awards history, took home both the Duo/Group of the Year honors along with the Best Live Show award.
“We are both humbled by this,” said Joel Smallbone on behalf of his brother Luke, the duo making up For King and Country. “And, if there is a message here, it’s to persevere; never give up the good fight.”
Gokey, who was discovered on “American Idol” eight years ago, was recognized with the KLOVE Breakout Single of the Year award for “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” as well as earning the Male Artist of the Year award.
“‘Idol’ gave me the chance to have eyes on what I had to offer,” he said. “At one point, my move into Christian music was like my last chance in the industry, and God used it.”
Daigle, who brings an Adele quality to her songs, was presented with the Female Artist of the Year award and the overall Artist of the Year award. She performed twice on the Grand Ol’ Opry stage Sunday, singing her newest hit “First” just before winning the Artist of the Year award, along with “Trust in You.”
Other winners included:
— Worship Song of the Year went to Francesca Battistelli for her hit “Holy Spirit.”
— Song of the Year went to Chris Tomlin for “Good, Good Father.”
— Best Lyrics went to Matthew West for “Grace Wins.”
— Sports Impact of the Year went to former Chicago White Sox player Adam LaRoche.
— Film/Television Impact of the Year went to the movie “War Room.”
— Book Impact of the Year went to “Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas.
Throughout the evening, several artists and most of the award winners spoke about the projects they were involved in and/or the awards they’d been presented.
Michael Tate, lead singer for the Newsboys, spoke about the sequel to “God’s Not Dead.”
“I think the sequel is very well done and gives a really good portrayal of where we are as a country and where we may be headed,” Tate said. “I think it’s even better than the first movie and we’re really proud to be a part of it.”
Jordan Feliz, who was up for Breakout Single of the Year with “The River,” said the song’s success has been a surprise.
“I never thought ‘The River’ would be the hit it is,” he said.”I thought people would hate it (and) I’m still blown away by it success — and I’m amazed to see what the Lord has done for people through that song.”
LaRoche, after winning the award for Sports Impact, talked about retiring from baseball after being told by the White Sox to cut back the time his son Drake spent at the spring training facility — and how it affected his son.
“I spoke to Drake about my decision to retire the night before I told the White Sox,” LaRoche said, “and he was pretty happy because we’d be doing a lot of more fishing and hunting together.”
Along with the award winners of the night, the Grand Ol’ Opry stage saw performances from artists like the Newsboys, Big Daddy Weave, Natalie Grant, Sidewalk Prophets, Blanca, Building 429, Hillsong United and more.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.