MercyMe, tobyMac and Chris Tomlin are among the top nominees for the 2011 Billboard Music Awards.
The three were nominated for all three of Billboard's Christian categories. Finalists were announced Thursday at a press conference in Las Vegas. The winners will be announced at the Billboard Music Awards show, airing on ABC, on May 22.This is the first year ABC will broadcast the event.
Out of the overall 46 award categories, the Christian categories include Top Christian Artist, Top Christian Album and Top Christian Song.
The seven artists vying for the awards also include Skillet for the album Awake, American Idol season 8 finalist Kris Allen for his song Live like Were Dying, Sanctus Real for their song Lead Me, and Casting Crowns for Top Christian Artist.
All seven artists are currently on tour, with Casting Crowns and Sanctus Real sharing the stage together.
Allen announced on Thursday that he will be partnering with Music Empowers to do a concert series with the Berklee City Music all stars in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., beginning in May. The shows will be open to elementary and high school students and are designed to raise awareness of the importance of music education in schools.
Up for Top Digital Song this year is Paramores Hayley Williams, who is known for her strong Christian faith, and B.o.B. for the popular song Airplanes. They're up against Eminem, Bruno Mars and Katy Perry.
Other artists up for a Billboard music award who are known to have a strong Christian faith but do not consider themselves Christian artists are Justin Bieber with 11 nominations, including Top New Artist and Top Male Artist; Kings of Leon with three nominations, including Top Rock Artist and Top Alternative Artist; and Owl City for Top Dance/Electronic Album.
The Billboard Music Awards takes a holistic look at artist performance based on key fan interactions with music. Finalists and winners are determined by chart performance and social and streaming activity as chronicled in Billboard magazine and on Billboard.com during the eligibility period of February 28, 2010, through March 1, 2011.