"What an unbelieveable honor to win an award in a category with such great friends,” commented lead singer Mac Powell in an announcement following a sold-out show in Clinton, Miss. “This is our first AMA win and it means so much to us because it's voted on by fans and we're certain we have the best fans anyone could ever ask for.”
The Atlanta-based band won last Sunday in the "Favorite Artist in the Contemporary Inspirational" category but was unable to attend the awards show at the NOKIA Theater in Los Angeles. The four-member group was scheduled to conclude their monthlong Fall Live Tour with Christian rock bands Needtobreathe and Revive that night.
Over the past decade, Third Day has garnered 23 career Dove Awards, three GRAMMY Awards (with eight career nominations), three American Music Awards nominations and multiple ASCAP honors.
To win the AMA award last week, Third Day had to beat out fellow Christian groups MercyMe and Casting Crowns, who received the award last year.
While AMA nominations are based on sales data compiled by music-industry trade magazine Radio & Records and Nielsen SoundScan, winners were determined through an online vote open to the general public for the second consecutive year. In previous years, winners were selected via a national sampling of about 20,000 people.
In addition to Third Day, other artists with ties to Christian music who took home awards last week include former American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, who won in the Adult Contemporary category, and the clean-cut trio Jonas Brothers, who were named the T-Mobile Breakthrough Artist
Votes for the American Music Awards were collected through Nov. 7.