American Idol star to take a break, work as Mormon missionary

David Archuleta's church highly recommends that young men 19-21 serve two years far from home

"American Idol" runner-up David Archuleta startled a Christmas concert crowd in Salt Lake City with the announcement that he’s putting his musical career on hold to become a Mormon missionary.

David Archuleta

The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints strongly encourages its youth to go on two-year mission stints before starting their families or careers.

The Season 7 runner-up comes from a devoutly Mormon family, but saw his singing career skyrocket early as a 16-year-old teenage heart-throb who received millions of phoned-in votes each week from fans.

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Unlike Idol finalists Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, Archuleta has not become a star.

His latest album

In fact, he was recently dropped by his record label, Jive, following the disappointing performance of his latest album, 2010′s ‘The Other Side of Down.’

“I’ve chosen to serve a full-time mission,” the teary-eyed 20-year-old

announced at the Christmas concert at Salt Lake City’s Abravanel Hall. “It’s not because someone told me I was supposed to do it and not because I no longer want to do music anymore. It’s because it’s what I feel I need to do next in my life. It’s the same feeling that I’ve always tried to follow in my life — the feeling that’s allowed me to have the opportunities I’ve had, the challenges and the blessings, too. And I’ve learned to trust that feeling and answer when it calls.”

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Rob Kerby
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