Francesca Battistelli - Francesca Battistelli Wins Big At Gospel Awards
Gospel star Francesca Battistelli was "on cloud nine" after winning three trophies at the 2011 Dove Awards, including the coveted Artist of the Year prize.
The 25-year-old singer saw off competition from artists including Chris Tomlin, TobyMac, Jason Crabb and Natalie Grant to scoop the accolade. Battistelli also took home Best Female Vocalist and Pop-Contemporary Recorded Song for Beautiful, Beautiful.
Battistelli was bowled over by her prizes, insisting, "I'm on cloud nine right now. I'm standing here... speechless. This is totally humbling."
Chris August was another big winner - he was crowned New Artist Of The Year and Best Male Vocalist and earned another award for pop-contemporary album, while Jason Crabb and the group Point of Grace also picked up three Doves each.
Gospel legend Sandi Patty was honoured for her lifetime achievements, with singers including Battistelli, Grant, Audrey Assad and Kerri Robert all taking the stage to cover her hits.
The ceremony, which is due to air in the U.S. on Easter Sunday (24Apr11), was held in Atlanta, Georgia - the first time the prizegiving has been held outside of Nashville, Tennessee.