American Music Awards Adds 'Inspirational' Category

Gospel and contemporary Christian music are getting noticed.

Reflecting an increased popularity of the genre in recent years, the American Music Awards is adding a contemporary inspirational category to its list of awards for the 29th edition of the show. ABC will broadcast the show on Jan. 9 from the Shrine Auditorium.

"In the late '80s we recognized the growth and impact of rap/hip-hop by adding that category. Likewise for Latin music in the '90s. The time has now come to include contemporary inspirational artists and recognize just how strong a force they have become in the world of music," executive producer Dick Clark said Monday.

The academy has added categories and eliminated them before, including heavy metal, disco, dance music and best video.

Nominees in the contemporary inspirational category will be based on data supplied by the music industry trade publication Radio & Records and Soundscan Inc. information.

Winners are selected by a poll of the record-buying public. Nominees will be announced Nov. 13.

Besides contemporary inspirational, categories include pop/rock, country, soul/rhythm & blues, rap/hip-hop, Latin, adult contemporary and alternative. An award also will be presented for favorite soundtrack.