Idol Chatter

Curly-haired Chris Sligh is one of the contestants to watch this year on American Idol. In the short time we’ve known him, he’s already managed to annoy Simon Cowell more than once, and he’s had multiple opportunities to show off his sense of humor. But there could be more to him than meets the eye.

According to Chris’ official bio on the American Idol web site, he’s an alumnus of Bob Jones University, a conservative Christian college in South Carolina. However, that’s the only religion reference you’ll find in Chris’ bio, a rarity on a show where many contestants credit God for their singing ability. On Chris’ personal blog–which went offline shortly before he made the Top 24–he admitted that he attended BJU because it was the only school his religious parents would pay for. But as soon as Chris distanced himself from religion, he performed a song by Christian rock band dc Talk. What gives?

It looks like Chris’ strategy might actually be brilliant. He chose a dc Talk song that isn’t overtly religious. Any diehard fan would know the song, but an audience member who isn’t into the Christian rock genre probably wouldn’t have noticed.

If Chris has been paying attention to past seasons of the show, he probably knows that past winners like Carrie Underwood and Fantasia Barrino won lots of votes from Christian viewers, who are a valuable demographic to have on his side. He’s trying to court the Christian vote while simultaneously win the favor of kids who think it’s punk rock to sing “obscure” (read: not Stevie Wonder) songs on the show. If his strategy works, he could make it all the way to the top.

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