If there’s one thing to be learned from our annual Readers’ Choice Awards poll, it’s this: Street teams and fan clubs are alive and well!

How else to explain that a group that hasn’t released an album in over two years is named Best Band? (That would be Skillet.) Or that a greatest hits CD that most Christian music fans aren’t even aware of is named Best Album? (That would be New & Used Hits by the Christian parody band Apologetix, which also finished second in the voting for Best Band.)

Meanwhile, Jeremy Camp and Rebecca St. James both repeated their wins as Best Male and Female Artists, while The Afters took the prize for Best New Artist.

The response was fantastic: 3,032 votes, over 1,000 more votes than last year. Almost 54 percent were male, 46 percent female. Almost 45 percent were aged 13-19, and another 19 percent aged 20-24.

It’s worth noting that Skillet’s last album, 2003’s Collide, actually garnered the most votes for Best Album, but it was ineligible because it was released a full year prior to our “eligibility window” (albums had to be released between Oct. 1, 2004 and October 31, 2005). But Skillet fans, also known as Panheads, voted for Collide anyway, despite clear instructions on the survey about album eligibility. Oh, well, you know what they say about blind allegiance, and we’ve gotta give the Panheads props for their enthusiasm!

Finally, congrats to Hugh Chou of St. Louis who won 15 free CDs of his choice, courtesy of ChristianBook.com. Hugh’s name was drawn at random from all who filled out the survey.

Thank You To Everyone Who Voted In The Survey!

Best Male ArtistJeremy Camp

2. tobyMac 3. Michael W. Smith 4. Steven Curtis Chapman 5. Chris Tomlin

Best Female ArtistRebecca St. James

2. Bethany Dillon 3. Nichole Nordeman 4. Natalie Grant 5. Joy Williams

Best Group or BandSkillet

2. Apologetix
3. Relient K 4. Switchfoot 5. Casting Crowns

Best New ArtistThe Afters

2. Krystal Meyers 3. Day of Fire 4. Stellar Kart 5. Casting Pearls

Nominees for Best New Artist had to release their debut CD between 10/1/2004 and 10/30/2005

Best Album
Apologetix, New & Used Hits

2. Relient K, mmHmm
3. Switchfoot, Nothing Is Sound
4. Casting Crowns, Lifesong
5. David Crowder Band, A Collision

Nominees for Best New Album had to release their debut CD between 10/1/2004 and 10/30/2005

How did the results compare with the editors’ picks? Read our list of The Best Christian Albums of 2005 to find out.

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