Dubbed the greatest night in gospel music, the 30th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas turned “Sin City” into “Salvation City.” Celebrating 30 years, the Stellar Awards was co-hosted by David Mann (“Mann & Wife), Tamela Mann (“Sparkle”) and Ricky Smiley (“Dish Nation”) during the 2-hour taped telecast premiering Easter Sunday, April 5 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on TV One. The Stellar Awards recognizes the year’s best performances in the genre, honors Gospel music icons and acknowledges the accomplishments of individuals instrumental in advocating for the industry.
The big surprise of the evening came at the top of the show, when opening act Michelle Williams was joined by Destiny’s Child’s Beyonce and Kelly Rowland in a show-stopping reunion that brought the audience to its feet singing her song, “Say Yes,” a winner for “Best Music Video of the Year.”
Ten-time nominee Erica Campbell took top honors, winning six awards including Artist of the Year, The Albertina Walker Female Vocalist of the Year, Contemporary CD of the Year and Urban/Inspirational Single or Performance of the Year. She acknowledged her sister, the other half of award-winning duo Mary Mary in her heartfelt remarks.
Ricky Dillard and New G followed Campbell with three wins, and Deitrick Haddon tied with The Walls Group for two trophies apiece. Haddon later brought the house down with a star-studded rendition of “My City” collaborating with Dorinda Clark-Cole, Clareta Haddon, Kierra Sheard, J. Moss, 21:03 and Shelby Five.
The New Artist of the Year award was presented to Tasha Page-Lockhart, making her first Stellar Awards appearance, performing “Great Is Your Love” and “Faith Come Alive,” with fellow first-timers The Walls Group.
Other masterful performances included Smokie Norful, Jonathan McReynolds, Erica Campbell and Pastor Beverly Crawford.
Bishop Paul Morton received the Allstate James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award for his accomplishments and was honored in song by Kurt Carr & the Kurt Carr Singers with Zarcadi & Crystal singing a medley of “I’m Still Standing”. Al “The Bishop” Hobbs, received the Chevrolet Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones Legend Award for his career accomplishments on Capitol Hill.
Yolanda Adams and Israel Houghton performed “How Awesome Is Our God” celebrating the life of Andrae Crouch which set the tone for one of the most moving speeches of the night from his twin sister, Sandra Crouch.
This year, award show founder and Executive Producer Don Jackson, implemented a new tradition celebrating the extraordinary achievements in Gospel by presenting the inaugural Stellar Honors Club. In the tradition of the Kennedy Center Honors, The Stellars Honors inductees received a medallion to commemorate excellence in their respective fields. The inaugural awards were conferred upon Pastor Shirley Ceasar, Byron Cage, Clifton Davis, Ricky Dillard, Kirk Franklin, Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones, Vicki Mack Lataillade, Dottie Peoples and Vickie Winans.
Additional celebrity guests included: Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., Gary Dourdan, Pastor Donnie McClurkin, Pastor Marvin Sapp, Adrienne Baillon, Amber Riley, Denise Boutte, Rev. Clifton Davis, DeVon Franklin, Donald Lawrence, Smokie Norful, Hezekiah Walker, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Dottie Peoples, Loretta Devine, Ben and Jewel Tankard, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Byron Cage, Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones, William McDowell, The Williams Brothers, Miss Robbie Montgomery and Tim Norman, Chante Moore, Earnest Pugh, and Kirk Franklin.
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