SN Fan Awards Post-mortem

So, one unexpected downside for me of the SN Fan Awards moving this year from NQC to Dollywood is that I sort of lost interest in them, since the show, which I didn’t attend this year, has always been more the attraction for me than the awards themselves (a complete list of winners of here).

But let it be stated for the record that by all accounts, the event was a success, at least according to everyone with something to gain from saying so (for some discussion board chatter, see here). It sold out, was streamed live and free on the the web (I was working and so couldn’t catch it but this was a stroke of great insight for southern gospel), and SGMA’s Charlie Waller got a solid zinger in against yours truly and other bloggerly skeptics of the move (h/t, NG). On the SGMA’s website, Waller wrote:

The curtain has fallen and the show is over, but not forgotten!  The day was beautiful, Dolly Parton was a charm, as well as all the artists and fans in attendance. I apologize to the negative bloggers for the show selling out and being so successful.

Yes, but were the Fake Florida Boys resuscitated for a special appearance?!

Seriously though, it remains to be seen if moving an awards show that formerly attracted upwards of 15000 people and was broadcast on premium cable television, to a boutique venue with a web simulcast constitutes an improvement or not (I’d call it a draw, if only on the basis of the free webcast). And Daniel Mount notes a strange Claude Hopper remark that suggests it isn’t impossible that the show will back at NQC next year despite Waller’s victory lap.

But just to be safe, I’ll be happy to order a side of crow at dinner tonight.

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  1. NG wrote:

    Interesting comment by Hopper. Does it meanthe SN awards are returning to NQC? If so, would the SGMA Hall of Fame presentations also come to NQC? Or would NQC start its own awards voted on by folks holding NQC tickets?

  2. Nate Stainbrook wrote:

    1.I personally have heard rumblings of just that… When you compare having 15,000 SG fans attending to having 1600 with around a 1000 watching online… Well there just is no comparison. Though I will say that this years awards was a success (though predictable) I am happy for them.

  3. 2miles wrote:

    I’ve pointed this out on another site and others have posted the same question else where…

    Charlie Waller said there were 32,000 watching. My Ustream said 800-1150 at any given moment. Even if he meant “hundred” instead of “thousand” that’s triple what I saw….

    Where is the number coming from?

    Also, I haven’t gone back and watched Claude Hopper’s remarks, but on my initial listen I thought he said “While I have this chance, I want to invite everyone to the NQC next year…” I didn’t take it that he was saying the Awards were going to be at Freedom Hall next year…just getting his “plug in” for the NQC….

    I was unable to reveiw the broadcast so I can’t confirm. Did anyone else hear it like I heard it?

  4. ABC wrote:

    The SN Awards will be back at NQC next year.


  5. Nate Stainbrook wrote:

    4. It may not be next year since I believe (I could be wrong) that they (SN) have a two year contract with Dollywood; and I don’t think the Singing News wants to get in the habit of burning bridges with anyone…

  6. ABC wrote:

    Interesting. Well if they can’t find a way to bring them back next year, then they do so at the risk of burning far larger bridges with the people who really matter - the fans.

    This move is, was, and continues to be, colossally awful.

  7. Kermit The Hermit wrote:

    “It Pays to Pray” was mentioned while I watched online with a non-Christian friend. His immediate words were “Then, where is my check.” I couldn’t breathe for an hour.

  8. Under Dawg wrote:

    I heard that Singing News didn’t actually decide to leave NQC out of the blue. I heard that they were offered to take the awards to an afternoon showcase on the mainstage vs the evening of the NQC lineup. So supposedly they declined and went to Dollywood. I’m sure finances were involved in the change. Maybe NQC got a larger portion of the ticket prices and they felt that going to a showcase was a downgrade. I have no knowledge of their reasoning for leaving. I’m sure they got a portion of the ticket price for the award show/luncheon.

    The plus side to being at Dollywood for the Awards and SGMA was the fact that Dolly Parton was actually there and they were able to get some actual media attention for the Hall Of Fame and Singing News aside from just The Singing News Magazine.

    In the am Dolly held a media press conference and sang one of her gospel songs The Seeker with the Kingdom Heirs. Charlie Waller also made a media presentation for the James D. Vaughn award the SGMA gave her and talked about Southern Gospel music and it’s history.

    Later they held a red carpet parade with all the nominees and Hall Of Fame inductees with Dolly Parton following behind in an antique car. A lot of people who were just enjoying a day at the park were exposed to our Southern Gospel artists this way. I actually over heard one man ask if Bill and Gloria Gaither were Paul and Jan Crouch from TBN and if so they had really aged. I guess this man missed the whole era of Jan’s pink wigs.

    Dolly Parton made two appearances on the actual award show. The only downside to this for the SGMA and Singing News is that many of the people who bought tickets to the show only did so because Dolly Parton was there. I met many people like this. So they may be shocked if they don’t sell as quickly next year unless she were to show up again. Also many of the seats weren’t filled with paying customers as Bill Gaither and all the artists sat in the crowd as well. I doubt ole Bill had to pay for his seat. So they didn’t physically sell out 1600 or 1700 seats.

    The SGMA Hall Of Fame event last year was in a smaller theater at Dollywood and wasn’t full. It was about half the size of the Celebrity Theater where they held the combined Singing News event this year. It does appear the SGMA is starting a trend with the James D. Vaughn award going to Country Music Artists (last year Barbara Mandrell and this year with Dolly). I assume this is to get media coverage and people to actually purchase tickets for the event as some of the Inductees aren’t household names even in the SG community. Next year I predict a James D. Vaughn award will go to the Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs, or Larry Gatlin. This very well could not be a negative thing mind you but could be thought of as desperation.

    All in all it was a fun time and gives the Southern Gospel industry another event. To bad they didn’t work out a deal to get the show aired on Gospel Music Channel or another cable network. They missed a big chance this year with having Parton on the show.

  9. Rick wrote:

    I for one hope that the awards do not come back to the NQC. They are too long and do not allow for enough singing.

  10. Nate Stainbrook wrote:

    9. That problem would be solved if they moved it to a afternoon showcase; I would love to see them make that move, but I don’t think SN will bite…

  11. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    This was posted during NQC week regarding the return of the Fan Awards:

  12. ABC wrote:

    I told you so!

  13. cynical one wrote:

    #8 — Was there an “era of Jan’s pink wigs”? I’m not aware of anytime she’s been on air WITHOUT the pink wigs. Our out in public at all, without those wigs.

    Anyone who would mistake the pretty Mrs Gaither with Jan Crouch needs to have their head (and eyes) examined!

  14. george gentry wrote:

    Having the nominated songs of the year performed “in honor” of the hall of fame inductees was disjointed. They had nothing to do with each other. Having the artist of the year perform a popular song from the inductee might have made sense, but since there were only afew live musicians available, that was not possible.

    There was no special backdrop, only a funeral home looking curtain. The live sound was borderline unbearable. The acceptance speeches were pretty much folks re-stating what Michael Booth said.

    The hosts obviously had never seen a teleprompter before.

    The crowd did not respond well to Dolly Parton. There were very few standing ovations, and for an award/induction program, that seemed odd.

    At $70 per seat - one just would expect much more.

  15. Rev. Al wrote:

    Am I the only one who thinks that it’s time for Claude Hopper to ride into the sunset. The Hoppers need a remake and sending mom and dad home and replacing them with some new blood might help them recover the majic they had in the mid-90’s. I’m just sayin!

  16. DMP wrote:

    Agreed #13. The only time I remember the pink wigs not being present was when they went through the blue phase.

  17. cynical one wrote:

    Seems there may have been some purple at one time, too.

  18. Rick wrote:

    Once again I hope the awards don’t come back. If they do it should be as a showcase.

  19. DARREL PEATON wrote:

    Yes you are the only one to think that,the parents are the HOPPERS. Are you Rev. Al Sharpton,sounds like one of his remarks.

  20. Byron Kinard wrote:

    Yes I did miss the awards this year, but have them say Sat. afternoon at NQC. It was really good to get the extera two hours of singing on Sat. night. Claude does not have to retire, but it would be great if he would change the act more than once in four years. All of the great songs they have, done and will do there is no reason to sing the same songs every night for almost four years. The Hoppers really have some of the best songs of any group.

  21. Tad Kirkland wrote:

    Rev Al, you’re crazy. Connie Hopper rocks! If anything, Dean and Kim have lost their edge. Connie just gets better with time. Her voice melts like butter (or shall I say buttah) over everything she sings!

  22. quartet-man wrote:

    I think Connie is a very good alto and helps the group. Claude doesn’t contribute much vocally, but does other ways and that is the way it has been for a long time. However, it might be interesting to hear Taranda join them if she doesn’t reform the Greenes and Claude and Connie were going to step back. In that case, Kim and Taranda could trade off on lead.

  23. James Rich wrote:

    They should have the Singing News Awards on Saturday afternoon as that seems to be the Showcase they seem to struggle with the most. Remember the upset this year’s Saturday showcase made on this blog? Maybe even Saturday Evening since more exhibitors leave before Saturday night and when the awards take place the exhibits are empty. Problem solved. Coin toss Saturday am or pm.

  24. ABC wrote:

    Quartet-man, that idea is staggering (in a good way). Taranda and Kim in the same group!!

  25. Andrew S. wrote:

    Idk.. I’d like to see the Fan Awards come back to Louisville, but not on a Saturday afternoon showcase. Normally, the specialty showcases (reunion showcases) are on Saturday.

    My vote to move the Gaither night to Saturday and put the Fan Awards on Friday. Friday nights always run over. So that would be a perfect excuse.

    I’m also of the opinion that NQC give no group more than 2 appearances on the main stage. More artists, more time. :)

  26. cdguy wrote:

    #23 — The problem with putting the awards show on Saturday night is exactly the opposite of your premise. There are a few exhibitors who have traditionally done quite well during and immediately after the awards show. If the exhibitors are trying to close and leave at a decent hour, that would potentially knock them out of a chunck of change.

  27. Skeet wrote:

    I am not in favor at all of TaRanda Greene joining the Hoppers. Kim and Connie have their rightful place in that group just as TaRanda had her rightful place where she was. However, regardless of the venue she chooses from here, TaRanda deserves to shine like the beautiful star she is, in her own place - not beside Kim Hopper. I feel that would be unfair to both of them. Kim has rightfully been the star of the Hoppers for years and it wouldn’t exactly be fair to her to have to compete for the position she’s earned.

    Concerning awards, where they are located or given makes no difference to me. I was at NQC this year and watched the awards at Dollywood online. The only thing I care about is that next years awards include TaRanda Greene as the winner in the favorite soprano category and someone besides Ivan Parker wins soloist. I think Kim Hopper is an awesome singer, but it’s time for TaRanda to get some recognition for the powerhouse she is! She ROCKS!! I would also like to see The Collingsworth Family slide into some additional categories.

    If you want to know who deserves favorite soloist, go watch Tony Greene’s funeral online. Listen to Ivan vs Jason Crabb and see who completely knocks it out of the park!!

    I think some recognition for TaRanda is way overdue! And Ivan is WAY over-rated!!

  28. Rev. Al wrote:

    Concerning the Hoppers. Claude is no doubt a good person and from what I hear a great business man and leader. As far as singing - he might be able to hold down a position on The Brush Creek Baptist Church Quartet located in the middle of nowhere. He is in no way a professional singer. His microphone has not been on in 20 years. Connie is a good alto. She is a beautiful women with a lot of stage presence and is first class professional. However, with that said, her greatest role is to show the contast of an average singer (Connie) to a great singer (Kim).

  29. Hector Luna wrote:

    #27 it’s a shame that many people have to view artists who are “ministers” and think they deserve anything. i would hope TaRanda or Kim would not think like one has “earned their rightful place”. now it may be that TaRanda does not want to intrude…but i don’t think there would some sort of “i’m the star, i’ve been here forever. you back off” attitude from either. Bill Gaither even makes 2 tenors work. of course, you are simply stating what so many are wondering after the woman’s husband dies.

  30. Hector Luna wrote:

    also the singing news fan awards have been a joke for awhile. it’s the fan awards. it doesn’t matter how good you are. if the fans like you and you’ve been around awhile, they’ll continue to vote for you. it would be awesome if it were more like the oscars. only critics and people in the industry could vote. but that would mean guys like David Phelps would win every year. and your stereotypical fans don’t want that.

  31. s.smith wrote:

    So let me get this straight: you want the FAN awards to be decided on by industry people with no FAN input?

  32. cdguy wrote:

    Hector — We have an awards program, voted on by industry people and critics (and some fans). It’s called the Dove Awards. They’ve been handing out little statues every year for over 40 years, now.

  33. 2miles wrote:

    My two cents worth…

    If Taranda doesn’t win Favorite Soprano next year, I’m throwing a fit. ( I almost said I’ll cancel my subscription but that might be going to far)

    If Ivan does win Male artist, I might very well cancel my subscription…btw does anybody else look at him and think “black Trans Am, Knight Rider”…not saying that’s a bad thing…I liked Knight Rider….in the 80s…

    I’m with Michael Booth, QUIT VOTING FOR HIM!!! He’s a wonderful guy, sincere christian, and all the other stuff…but he doesn’t deserve Tenor of the Year award for a 4th year…now Brady for favorite baritone 4 years running, I might be persuaded…although Daniel Riley or Scott Inman would be just as well

    Move over Hoppers, it’s the Collingsworth’s turn…

    I like Eric Bennet…but if Riley is still on the road I think he’ll win next year.

    Come on Singing News subscribers, let’s don’t vote on name recognition alone, think about who deserves it NOW…

  34. Rodney Slater wrote:

    If I were Mrs. Greene, I wouldn’t want to be concerned with winning awards at this point and time, thats for sure!

  35. Whitney wrote:

    Taranda and Kim in the same group would be interesting, but I’m not sure what Taranda will decide to do. In light of the situation and now being a single mom with two small children, she may decide to take some time off the road, which would be completely understandable.

    As far as Claude and Connie are concerned, you will never find two more genuine people. And, I am pretty sure that the popularity of the Hoppers would decrease tremendously if Connie were to leave the road. As much as I love Kim and Dean and as wonderful as they are vocally, most people come to see Connie. I do, however, see them incorporating Karlye into the group a little more as time goes on. She has a tremendous voice for someone her age.

  36. ABC wrote:

    Rodney, exactly. And that’s why the award would be so fitting. It would be an outpouring of love on this crushed family.

  37. Bones wrote:

    Did you notice Charlie Waller’s comment in the Singing News? They were not invited to sing at NQC. So he should not be quacking.

  38. ABC wrote:

    Once Claude and Connie retire, they’ll pick up Karlye on the alto and Mike on the bass. That’s a no-brainer.

  39. Bones wrote:

    Maybe Karlye doesn’t want to sing.

  40. cynical one wrote:

    ABC #38 — Would Mike singing bass be any improvement? Can’t say I was impressed when he and his ex-wife sang with Dean & Kim.

  41. Wade wrote:

    Yeah but with Mike’s Wife, named Denise, I think it was with an unusual spelling, WHO CARED!!!

    Jeeesh she was a Babe and could actually play… wonder what happened there???

    I see her on some old Gaither Videos usually setting next to Candy Christmas.

    It was the best gimmick going 3 married couples!!

  42. Terri wrote:

    Get Real.. Kim IS The Hoppers!!

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