Gospel Soundcheck

Gospel Soundcheck


Is There Too Much Jesus On American Idol?

posted by Joanne Brokaw

Last night, Danny Gokey sang Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take The Wheel.” As expected, he sang it well, although I don’t think it was his best performance.But in light of the media focus this week on the Christian aspect of this season of American Idol (from MTV and MSNBC via the Associated Press), I wonder if his choice of song came off as a bit too deliberately religious?

Don’t get me wrong; every week he picks lovely, inspirational songs that accomplish what he has always said he wanted to do: tell his story of hope and joy and love for his wife. And my money is on him to go all the way to the finals.

Any other year, no one would even notice that a contestant sang a song with the word Jesus in it, and the song is a huge hit on mainstream radio. But I wondered as he sang last night if, for the non-Christian viewers, it might be over the top.

What do you think? Has the media attention on the number of Christian contestants become too much focus on faith? Can that emphasis end up backfiring?

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And if you want more American Idol show recap, visit my Idol blog at NewChristianVoices.com.
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Comments read comments(11)
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J Cruz

posted March 18, 2009 at 2:58 pm


I think it was a breath of fresh air. I’m blessed that someone, using his vocal gifts from God, actually sang a song with His name, in good taste…
Cool.



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Mia

posted March 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm


“Jesus Takes the Wheel” is a popular song. I actually like the fact that he picked a deliberately religious song. He’s gotten a lot of criticism because of his back story and religious background. Why hide it? I think it shows he’s going to do his thing and not let his critics influence him. During the last half he was great, and I’ve listened to the tracks a few more times and agree with Simon and Paula: I like how he builds his story throughout the song and crescendos at the end. He doesn’t have Lambert’s flawless vocals, but his specialty is his soul.
Unfortunately, with Lambert vs Gokey–we’ve heard the red state/blue state/religious wingnuts/homophobic issue come up…I think its a bunch of hogwash. I am the most liberal, unreligious person you would probably meet. I find Gokey refreshing. He is not about glam–he can be himself and be really good.



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Your Name

posted March 18, 2009 at 6:37 pm


I highly expected Kris Allen to bolt to the top after this week…apparently a lot of country fans(and non-country fans) loved Gokey’s take. (See Dial Idol). I paid particular attention to Randy Travis’ statement–that when he sings the parts he really knows, his singing has the soulfullness that singers like him who do it for a living only hope they could have.
I think Gokey would do well if he chose to go the country route. Or at least work with some of the Nashville stars and do some cross-genre songwriting or duets. Like Faith Hill or Shania Twain. We have Country Jam here every summer, so I would be tickled to see him in concert. And I’m not even a huge country fan.



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Joanne Brokaw

posted March 18, 2009 at 8:50 pm


Mia, thanks for your comments! I love Danny and think he’s extremely talented, but there’s been much made lately of the overtly Christian elements this season so I wondered if his song choice might send some viewers over the edge, even tho it’s a popular mainstream song.
Thanks for the input!
Joanne
host of the GS blog



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Joanne Brokaw

posted March 18, 2009 at 8:52 pm


Hi, Your Name, I guess I’d have to disagree that Danny should sing country. He’s really much better when he sings pop/R&B/gospel. But we’ll see what happens as the show progresses!
Thanks for your input!
Joanne
host of the GS blog



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Charlotte

posted March 19, 2009 at 10:45 am


Jesus blessed him with that beautiful talent he has shared with the world. Let him sing about whatever he wants. All other idols have. Ultimately, its american voters that keep each person on the road to stardom. Now that being said, Jesus is the reason he can share his gift. Let him sing whatever he wants to sing about! Right?



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Jen

posted March 19, 2009 at 3:01 pm


I actually wish more people would make a stand for being Christian. I am tired of the secularist getting their way. Our country was founded on faith, now we’re starting to have to hide it. If we don’t make a stand how do we expect God to make a stand for us? People only care about Christ around Christmas and Easter? It’s bogus to have to change who you are to please others. He could make it big like Casting crowns & others. I for one am tired of celebs who claim they’re Christian but act different then say oh well it’s just how we act on stage! Why? So they can get more money, I for one am tired of phony people. Aren’t people tired of those who miss represent themselves no matter what aspect of life it is? I am, I am tired of it in politics & Hollywood (hollowood) & I am tired of our kids being afraid to make a stand maybe they need to see more people like Danny!



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Donna

posted March 19, 2009 at 4:08 pm


I didn’t get to hear the song since I work Tuesday nights, but, speaking as an agnostic pantheist, the answer to “Is there too much Jesus on American Idol?” is no. “Jesus Take the Wheel” was a big country hit; it’s not surprising that someone covered it. I’d rather it wasn’t Danny, since he has a wonderful R&B voice, but it was his choice. So what if he sang about Jesus? His faith is a big part of who he is. I think everyone should be able to openly be who they are, no matter what their faith. That includes born-again Christians.



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Bill Thomson

posted March 20, 2009 at 4:06 am


I guess if someone doesn’t like it they can always complain to President Obama…he’s big into that
Seriously though…who cares? It seems that everytime someone does something that involves God or Jesus..look out….and my point is..this country was founded on religious freedom…for how much longer I don’t know but never the less Christianity founded the Constitution..and now it seems that the ACLU just is getting sue happy about anything that has to do with religion…can you feel the love in the air?…I think everyone that believes in God should step up to the plate like our Danny boy..atleast he didn’t run and hide everytime someone said the G word or the J word…what is happening to America anyway?



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Joanne Brokaw

posted March 20, 2009 at 8:18 am


Bill, the reason that I even asked about this is because I’ve been following the Christian contestants since the first show of the season, and so I’ve seen more than a few overtly Christian contestants. A week or so ago, major media started picking up on it and I was interviewed by MTV and the Associated Press, and did a few radio shows, all talking about the number of Christian contestants in the top 13. But I heard from a lot of people who thought it was too much. So when Danny sang “Jesus Take The Wheel” I thought it would be interesting to hear if that sent some people over the edge. I’m glad to know that it didn’!
Thanks!
Joanne
host of the GS blog



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Dave Weiss

posted March 20, 2009 at 10:10 am


No problem for me that he sang Jesus take the Wheel except for this. He didn’t sing it well. The chorus was strong as always but the verses were weak enough that were he not a favorite, he might have been in trouble. I love this guy, love his heart and am always happy to hear people sing about Jesus, but country starts are allowed to sing Christian songs so there are plenty of songs and he didn’t have to pick one that was bordering on out of his range, a signature song by one of the quintessential female vocalists in music today. Gokey’s a great singer, hope he wins, glad it didn’t burn him. As you know, I HATE genre nights. Most of these people will never do a country record. Why not let them do the kinds of records they will actually make.



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