What is life like backstage at the Doves? It might sound glamorous and exciting but life in the press room simply comes down to one word - hectic. The flow of people coming through the room basically takes you to a separate world just taking notes. You see very little of the Doves telecast and many of us sitting back here will be happy to see the show via the syndicated broadcast since we don't see it at the ceremonies.

The press room was located in Studio A of the Grand Ole Opry. It is a large open studio subdivided by curtains into small sections including the press room. You can hear conversations in other areas so my main focus is just trying to hear what I need to hear over the din in the room.

It looks like a parade coming through the press room curtains. They bring back every winner and, with 37 awards being handed out in less than two hours on the pre-telecast ceremonies, they line up and follow each other in the room. Unfortunately, for the lesser-known categories (musical, enhanced CD, music packaging, etc), they walk through but seem to be ignored by the media because these are specialty areas that don't hold much attraction for the media.

In other Dove Awards night happenings:

{{Crystal Lewis}} was a late-minute substitute in presenting the Urban Recorded Song of the Year with gospel diva {{Yolanda Adams}}. It did create a problem, though. Yolanda is 6'2 while Crystal is struggling to reach 5'4. The answer - a stage hand came out with a box for Crystal to stand on so they could look eye-to-eye in presenting the award to {{Anointed}}.

{{Vestal Goodman}} and {{Bill Gaither}} share a distinction as being the only artists to win Doves 31 years apart. They each won their first Doves in 1969's inaugural of the Doves and the 31st on Thursday.

Vestal told the audience that she was the first woman to ever win a Dove but she wouldn't tell them how many years ago. She did admit in the media room that it was at the first ceremony when she won "Female Vocalist of the Year." Her 2000 award came for Country Song of the Year with George Jones for "Angel Band" from the ==Vestal & Friends== project from Pamplin.

Gaither was the first Songwriter of the Year ' 69 and won a Dove tonight as part of the {{Gaither Vocal Band}} as their ==God Is Good== album claimed the Southern Gospel Album of the Year award.

St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner was scheduled to present the "Song of the Year" but, to make it a rematch of the Super Bowl, Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher was added to the presentation team. They might be adversaries on the field but they are brothers in Christ. Their firey banter back and forth on stage made for one of the best moments of the night!

When you see the telecast, it seems like a smooth-running machine but the rehearsals are nerve-wracking for many. They were still on stage rehearsing for the telecast five minutes before the pre-telecast ceremony began.

When it was time for {{Audio Adrenaline}} to perform ("Get Down"), they arrived on stage driving motorized scooters up the aisles.

The most unique acceptance speech of the evening came when {{SonicFlood}} won for the Praise & Worship Album of the Year. Bass player Rick Heil opened the acceptance with the first words spoken being an emotional reading from Psalm 103.

{{Chevelle}}'s double win for Hard Music Album and Hard Music Song of the Year gave Squint Entertainment president {{Steve Taylor}} the opportunity to accept for his artists. With Steve being his normal self, he said, "I'm sure they would thank me first so I'll go ahead and do that."

When {{Steven Curtis Chapman}} accepted his first Dove of the evening, he walked up on the stage with seven-month-old Shaohannah in his arms. The Chapmans adopted Shaohannah earlier this year and she became an official part of the "Doves Family" during the pre-telecast ceremony as well as being recognized in the opening of the telecast as the entire Chapman clan wore Chinese clothing in honor of the newest member.

Larry Boy - I mean Mike Nawrocki was excited with his received the Children's Album of the Year for Larry Boy: The Soundtrack. The voice of Larry Boy is now busily involved in preparing the newest VeggieTales video which arrives this fall as the story of Esther combines ancient Persia and a 1920's gangster motive. "I guess you could call it Deco-Perg," said Nawrocki with a Larry-Boy laugh.

GMA recognized a number of new artists as they were used as presenters for the pre-telecast ceremonies. Those taking part included {{Riley Armstrong}}, {{V*Enna}}, Plus One, {{LaRue}}, {{Natalie Grant}}, {{Nicole C. Mullen}}, {{Out Of Eden}} and veteran {{Al Denson}}.

by Barry Smades for the Music Channel at crosswalk.com


Performers for the 31st Annual Dove Awards*:
Anointed - "Revive Us"
Audio Adrenaline - "Get Down" - motorized scooters and major pyrotechnics!
Avalon - "Can't Live A Day"
Burlap to Cashmere - opened the show with "Basic Instructions" - included dancers, yes...dancers.
Charlotte Church - "Guide Me, Oh Thou Great Jehovah"
Darlene Zschech with Ron Kenoly and Alvin Slaughter - closed the telecast with "Shout To the Lord" - leading the entire audience in worship even after the cameras turned off
Dolly Parton - sang with Kathie Lee Gifford - "If My Pillow Could Talk" - also included Kathie Lee's sister - from Gifford's new album "Born for You." [Editor's note: this was the oddest part of the night - with this song about betrayal - and KL's intro trying to make a comparison of Jesus with her pillow]
Fernando Ortega with Allison Krauss - "Jesus, King of Angels" - amazingly gorgeous & deeply profound moment
Greater Vision - "My Name Is Lazarus"
Michael W. Smith - "This Is Your Time" - with video footage behind, and Scottish bagpipe team entering through the auditorium - made for the most stirring and emotional moment of the night
Sixpence None the Richer - "Melody Of You" - preview of track from their upcoming album
Third Day - "What Good" - featured Natalie Grant on wailing background vocals - full horn section
new artist segment featured:
FFH - "One of These Days"
Ginny Owens - "If You Want Me To"
Raze - "Always And Forever (BFF)"
Sonicflood - "I Want To Know You"
Watermark - "Take Me There"

Presenters for the 31st Annual Dove Awards*:
Kurt Warner with Jeff Fisher
Point of Grace
dc Talk
Jaci Velasquez with Jennifer Knapp
Yolanda Adams with Crystal Lewis
CeCe Winans with Fred Hammond
Jars of Clay

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