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The 2010 Soul Train Music Award nominations have just been announced this week and we’ve been taking a look at who’s in the running for this year’s top gospel artists.

First off, we must say congratulations are definitely in order for the leading men and women who are dominating the only inspirational category of the night – Best Gospel Performance: Male, Female or Group.

This year’s nominees include:

Youthful Praise featuring J.J. Hairston

It has been a pretty solid year for the YP crew. James “JJ” Hairston and his east coast chorale have built quite a fan base over the last few years and have multiple albums in their repertoire to support their movement urban worship and Sunday morning gospel for choirs across the nation. Currently riding on the success of their most recent project “Resting on His Promise” (Light Records), Youthful Praise peaked at #3 on Billboard’s Top 20 Gospel Songs. Strong single when it first hit radio, but will it allow them to take home the Soul Train Award for the best in gospel? We’ll see.

Marvin Sapp

He’s undoubtedly the most popular and well-known member of this year’s gospel nominees having made headlines for his music, his ministry and his personal life consistently since his mega-hit “Never Would’ve Made It” eclipsed the charts and sold millions as a result. If emotional empathy plays any factor, Marvin Sapp is taking the trophy home. As we all know, his wife and manager MaLinda Sapp passed away from her long battle with cancer recently and it makes it difficult to see any other reason beyond the music to give this award to him. He’s still on top of the charts with current single “The Best in Me” which was just as big – if not bigger – than the previous multi-million-selling single. He’s a hot commodity for plenty of reasons, but above all, you have to give the credit where it’s due.

Tye Tribbett

If there’s anyone under the 30 age bracket making choices behind the scenes, then gospel’s progressive soul and radical saint Tye Tribbett has this one in the bag. His contemporary style of praise and worship has proven to not be so far out there that people can’t relate. In fact, they can now relate to him even more since he’s openly confessed to having endured and overcome infidelity in the last year. Hard pill to swallow? When you’re on top of the world already and those beyond the four walls of the church seem to support you still, it looks like you’ve gained ground just by keeping it all the way real with yourself and the naysayers. Either way, Tye Tribbett is in good standing with the new album “Fresh” and its predecessor “Stand Up,” which we’re still bumping today.

Fred Hammond

Out of all the nominees for this year, honestly, it seems like Fred Hammond’s been a little quiet, but has he really? He’s been the most business savvy out of his fellow contestants having re-launched his record label and releasing a new project this past summer, but we’re worried that Fred’s visibility this time around hasn’t been what it is normally. Concerts, tours and special appearances have slipped beneath the radar, but does all of that hype matter? Yes! Normally, Fred’s at the top of his game so hopefully music enthusiasts and faithful fans have given him the push and support he needs to take the Soul Train Music Award for Best Gospel Performance home with him this year.

Lisa Page Brooks

Wow, the only female artist on the ballot? I’m sorry, but that’s not what we were expecting for this year’s group of top gospel artists. I can honestly name a few others who should be in the running, but I won’t let that overshadow Lisa Page Brooks’ success and nomination. So ladies, stand up right quick and get your shine on. It might be the only time you all get it because although she’s had a great year with lots of touring and featured performances plus new solo music, Lisa Page Brooks is the kind of artist that the world might easily forget about. Yes, we’ve known her for years as the lead vocalist of Witness, but has the gospel community forgotten how great she is on her own? Will she even be able to hold her own up against the brothers in the category? We’re unsure, but we’re still going to support her in the meantime.

Hezekiah Walker & LFC (Love Fellowship Choir)

Hezekiah Walker, to me, is the most consistent of this year’s nominees. He’s basically had a hit record every year and multiple hit singles from each of his LFC projects since they first came on the scene. Now pastoring two churches, hosting a syndicated radio show and still making great gospel music, Hezekiah Walker has easily become a legend in his own right. I’m ready to see him do his thing at this year’s Soul Train Music Awards. Although he’s big in the gospel world, I’m not sure if the Soul Train officials have embraced his legacy like most of us have. Popularity contests aside and if we’re only talking about the music, Hezekiah Walker just might walk away with more than a nod and a smile. Of course, we’ll just have to wait and see for the outcome.

So what do you think of the category being the only faith-based grouping of artists scheduled to be honored during the show? Should gospel have more of a presence? Absolutely, but in what ways?

To continue the discussion, we’ve been thinking of who was either over looked for this year’s nominee list or who should be on the stage this year, too. Do you all have any ideas of who should be there? Let us know your thoughts, feelings and responses to these questions and more on the message board below. We want to hear from you and whether or not you’ll be tuning into the big show.

This year’s awards will be hosted once again by the dynamic duo of Terence Howard and Taraji P. Henson and will simulcast on November 28, 2010 at 9:00PM EST on the BET and Centric Networks.

Are you interested in finding out who’s competing in the other categories? Visit MojoCincy.com to check out the current features in R&B and Soul music or CentricTV.com to get the full list of artists in every category.

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