What a day.
I am here, in Gnashville at GMA Week, and the Steelehouse team and I had a morning meeting at a downtown hotel with a big muckety-muck (I don’t know what this term means, but it has something to do with success). While waiting, we observed a dozen pageantish girls with crowns and sashes (I kid you not. Sashes.) wandering around the hotel lobby. I finally read one of the sashes: Miss Christian USA. Then, I heard a little squeak. I looked down at my feet. There, a little ball of all that was remaining of the the good and holy inside of me was attempting to roll away. I stepped on it and forced it into my pocket for later.
After running into a couple dozen random people we knew, we went for coffee. There, at the barista counter, was Rupert. Rupert. From Survivor. Tie-die-shirt. Robinson Crusoe beard. Rupert. He has started a music label. Again. Not kidding.
Then, we saw three American Idols and two contestants from The Biggest Loser. I’m beginning to think I’ve come to the wrong gathering. I’m half expecting Jeff Probst to show up at the Doves and vote someone out of the Christian Music industry, which would be sad because we all already know it would be Carman.
Once at the ceremony, we sat through the pre-awards, which is a two hour session of awards they do not think need to be televised. I am surprised when our award is not in those awards. And then, the broadcast begins. That is the moment I began live-blogging for Relevant.com. Here are the excerpts:
6:55 pm OMG – Iâ€™m seated in the third row of the Grand Old Opry theatre sitting behind Disciple, who just won a pre-show Dove. Just met Discipleâ€™s manager and found out we both dated the same psycho chick. The GMA really IS a small world.
Thought we missed our award in the pre-show. Weâ€™re up for Best Short Form video for David Crowder Bandâ€™s â€œforeverandeveretc.â€ Just found out from Crowder that we did NOT miss it, but instead have been bumped up to the live broadcast. I should’ve worn a more slimming pair of pants.
7:05 pm Mandisa just tore it up. There are all these American Idols in the audience and they all just said to themselves, â€œoh, THATS how you sing.â€
7:09 Best New Artist just went to Brandon Heath, which makes me think of chocolate and toffee. Mmm. Hungry.
7:10 First commercial break. It is so hot in here. Mostly because Mandisa hit a note that broke the air conditioner.
7:16 Can I just say that I LOVE Matthew West who is co-hosting backstage. Phenomenal legendary songwriter and very funny. Somebody needs to send him fruit baskets.
7:15 Natalie Grant. To put that big voice in that tiny lady, God had to compress it into a zip file.
7:19 Natalie Grant & Wynonna receive the award for the first Standing O of the evening. Well deserved. And male vocalist of the year goes toâ€¦Chris Tomlin. Phil Stacey of American Idol keeps standing. Glad Iâ€™m not behind him. The stagehands, by the way, just wheeled a huge wardrobe out on stage. Or maybe itâ€™s just a door. Looks like the one on Sesame Street. Nope. Its Trinity 5:7 doing zydeco. Sure. Be obvious.
Wouldnâ€™t you know it? Iâ€™m running out of battery. Iâ€™ll blog the rest after the show. Peace out!
And THAT’S when my phone ran out of juice. After the awards, I came back and wrote the formal wrap-up, which I present to you now without commercial interruption:
11:24 pm Well – darn all this new technology to heck. My iPhone battery gave out a mere half-hour into the live broadcast this evening, and I was unable to blog live from that point on. However, due to the fact that no more than two of you would have been following these posts as they were written, I think weâ€™re all good.
* Casting Crowns performing â€œEast to Westâ€ with a full string section. WOW. This is a powerful song. I need to occasionally listen to Christian radio.
* Phil Stacey of American Idol – still standing. Starts just about every Standing O. His bald head looks like an O. Coincidence? Not at all. But nifty, nonetheless.
* Switchfootâ€™s new song from Prince Caspian: Pfft. Lame. And out-of-tune. I wanted to like it – because, you know: Switchfoot – and Narnia – and youâ€™re not supposed to go Pfft at Christian songs. But I did. And I cannot take it back. and I cannot lie. And I do not like Foremanâ€™s hat this evening. Heâ€™s never going to read my books, is he? He will never frequent my podcasts. Jon, I love all your other music. I swear. Just didnâ€™t dig this one tonight. Perhaps later, when I hear the studio version – or am unconscious. Pfft. I almost fell asleep during the performance. Hey, maybe it will win Song of the Year in 2009.
* Female vocalist of the year: Natalie Grant. Yeah, Iâ€™ll buy that. Sheâ€™s pretty doggone amazing. She hit some epic notes tonight. High notes. So high, the homeless guy sitting near me kept ramming his head repeatedly into a dumpster. Wait. That wasnâ€™t a homeless guy. That was T-Bone. My bad.
* New worship song from MWS, Israel Houghton, SCC, Chris Tomlin, Paul Baloche, and Christy Nockels. Me like. They sound great together – and very genuine.
* By the way, if Casting Crowns is up for any specific award tonight, they win. Song. Group. Alliterative Band Name. Best Casting. They win it all. Well deserved.
* David Crowder Band LIVE! My homeboys rock and rule. â€œEverything Gloriousâ€ with a team of youth in hazmat suits (?!) dressing the set in springtime foliage as they perform. LOVE IT. Just absolutely LOVE IT. Yes, I produced his music video, but it was animated – so I didnâ€™t actually meet David. I hope to someday be more than just Facebook friends. Do you think Jon Foreman will let Steelehouse do Switchfootâ€™s next video? Do you? Answer: me neither.
* The Clark Sisters & Marvin Sapp – WOWZERS! These Gospel Greats do NOT get the accolades due them. When did the Relevant generation stop listening to these classic juggernauts called Gospel Songs?
* And the short form video of the year winner IS – not us. TobyMac wins (also winning Artist of the Year) and you just canâ€™t argue because heâ€™s so darn awesome and Godly and talented and likeable and boominâ€™ and – hey, thereâ€™s Jon Foremanâ€™s hat. So, we lost – but they played clips from our video about a half dozen times. And we made DCB happy. And we lost. I really wanted one of those sharp, threatening statues. Right before Toby beat us, he was standing directly by our seats. We made brief eye contact and I think he secretly stole the part of my soul that had a chance of winning. He put it in Jon Foremanâ€™s hat. I will never see it again. I hope Jesus is still all right with you, Toby. Because Iâ€™m done with you and your voodoo soul-stealing stares. Iâ€™m just done. Unless you want to do lunch or something.
* The American Idol tribute to 25 years of Michael W. Smith. Who comes up with this stuff? I have a soft spot for Michael. His music influenced me in profound ways. And, I thought the Idols (can a Christian show have Idols?) sounded very good, but I would have expected it to be more honoring of MWS to have some other legends performing his songs. No venom intended. Just a suggestion. Something to change for the next airing. I know itâ€™s already aired live – but, letâ€™s face it. Only three people saw it.
*Grand Ole Opry Country Music Gospel Finale with Charlie Daniels and Mac Powell of Third Day. As JJ Walker might say, DY-NO-MITE! Unbefreakingleavable. This ruled. You must watch it instantly. Oh. Itâ€™s not on right now. Then, Tivo it. Or YouTube it. Or, download it to the nanotechnology in your left retina. They can do that now, right?
All in all, a grand time. The live broadcast streamlined the event and was accomplished extraordinarily well. The evening made me proud to be a part of this grand Christian subculture, but not as proud as I would have been had we WON the sharp bird statue. I suppose I will have to rely on Tobyâ€™s portable sounds to lift me up and take me higher.
Thanks for hanging with me. It was grand fun. Iâ€™ll talk about it more on this weekâ€™s Steelehouse Podcast available at iTunes or on www.halflifediealready.com. But, for now, Iâ€™ve got Christian music to listen to. And an apology letter to write to Jon Foreman.