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Praise & Worship Idol

February 28, 2009

Clay Aiken is NOT the second coming of Christ

With the addition of Kris Allen into the American Idol Top 12, there will be yet another megachurch taking center stage during the hometown visits guaranteed to be shown during the first Top 12 episode.

As of right now, half of the finalists are praise & worship leaders at their megachurches.

The last time I checked, the show was called American Idol. Not Evangelical Idol

Joanne Brokaw, an entertainment columnist at Beliefnet, is even thinking this season is the Year of the Worship Leader.

Personally, I think it’s brilliant to see devout and open Christians on the show. I think we need more talented and faithful Christians influencing mainstream music, rather than insulating themselves in the Christian music bubble. But it’s not easy. So if you’re a fan of one of this year’s contestants, in addition to dialing, pray for them.

I remember the days of yore when batshit crazy fans couldn’t stalk these people in their respective houses of worship until the show was over. Now it has become almost mandatory to put a contestant’s church front-and-center when discussing their “back story”.

Kris Allen is an active member of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries and the New Life Church located in Conway, Arkansas. (Don’t you love it when a church has a .tv web domain? Of course, I guess this is to distinguish from the other New Life Church in Colorado Springs. You know, the one founded by Ted Haggard. However, if you do a Google search, you’ll quickly see at least one “New Life Church” in every state. It’s like the Springfield of Christian worship centers.) 

This is your stereotypical megachurch with lots of cash, however, they do get some props for posting their annual financial statement to their website. 

New Life has a congregation of somewhere between 2500-5000 and is much more tech savvy than say, Faith Builders International Ministries, i.e., they have a much slicker website and seem to employ an actual strategic marketing plan in terms of web and social networking initatives. Most of their ministers (including Pastor Rick Bezet) have blogs and frequently use Twitter, so they’re working with more than a rudimentary understanding of the internet. 

One of Bezet’s recent Tweets:

It is cool to have a top contender on American Idol. That young man loves God a ton!

Pastor Bezet began New Life in 2001 with a congregation of 400 people. Today, they have three churches (“campuses”) in Arkansas with a congregation totaling 5000 members. New Life is HUGE. Plus, they even have model-esque couples leading ministries for college kids and twenty-somethings. They’re hip! They’re cool! They’re good looking! And they TWEET!

at Starbucks working on message for elevation. Talking about sexual purity. Should be a really great night for everyone.

Pastor Bezet probably even has a better plan for conquering than Pastor Rolex does up there in Milwaukee. Bezet is a member of A.R.C.  (Association of Related Churches), an organization of “church planters”. They plant churches in various communities around the United States. Thus far, they have reportedly planted over 50 churches across the country.

This somewhat loose affiliation of churches is involved with another loose affiliation of churches boasting not one but TWO Top 36 Idol contestants this season. In the past, contestants have included Season 7 semifinalist Alaina Whitaker and successful Season 6 finalist, Chris Singh. Apparently, this affiliation goes back to something called Life Church, which has been sprouting up churches throughout the southern and southwestern U.S. and also sometimes promoting “Friends of Life Church” type groups.

It’s always great to see talented individuals who are part of the Church be successful in their careers, and one of our attendees has made it to the top 36 in the American Idol competition.

This week we’re following the story of some people from local churches we know, including, Matt Breitzke, who attends our South Tulsa campus, Kris Allen, who worship leader for our friends over at New Life Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, and last week Danny Gokey, a worship leader from Milwaukee, Wisconsin moved ahead in the competition.  We’re looking forward to seeing their performances.

Ok. All this stuff just confuses me. I am now going to assume all these Evangelical leaders convene every year in some sort of Jesus Bilderberg Conference. OMG! This could be part of their grand plan to not only make everyone a Christian, but to also reclaim the White House and all those lost Congressional seats. And Fox / Fox News is involved! OF COURSE!

(But remember, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa is still a top-ranking Republican. And he loves has no problem playing hardball with suspect megachurches. And a great deal of praise music sucks, especially if you’re not into that sort of thing.)

And now we know Welder Bear attends the South Tulsa Life Church, although I am now curious as to why they haven’t poached him for big church band. Maybe he has no interest. Maybe he only goes to church because of his wife and kids. Maybe he is now kicking himself for not making his religion a larger part of his Idol story.

After all, you can’t tell me the Christian Idol Voting Bloc doesn’t exert some obvious control over who makes it through on this show, as both Michael Sarver and Kris Allen had what most people agree were lackluster performances. 

Throw in the Frauen, especially the Christian Frauen, and it makes perfect sense why 3 out or the 4 male contestants voted through to the Top 12 are praise and worship leaders. Take a shot every time you read one saying “I can see Jesus in them.”

If the hard-core Christian Right wants to sit around on Tuesday nights and vote for American Idol, whatevia. Obama is my president and children in public schools will once again learn about condoms. If this is all part of some Jesus Bilderberg plan, then I’m laughing my ass off. A silly karaoke contest on TV as a conversion / political strategy is about as lame an idea as Sarah Palin.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. jcru permalink
    May 18, 2009 8:10 pm

    A right-wing religious conspiracy? Seriously? Yes, I’m sure that’s just what Simon and crew signed up for–definately seems like something they would want to be involved in. You’re drinking the crazy juice. Enjoy the show and quit hating on people who have a different belief system than you. Tolerance or intolerance. I’m not sure which you are trying to promote.

    • IMM permalink
      May 22, 2009 3:38 pm

      Finally an intelligent reply! I happen to attend an A.R.C. “Mega-Church” in the S.East and can assure you there were no midnight Kris or Danny “prayer vigils” or American Idol “voting baptisms”. The idea that Christians or the “Fundamentalist Right” (or whatever other title people want to use) has orchestrated American Idol voting outcomes….let alone how the show’s producers choose to position and brand individual contestants is preposterous. And how in the world does a churches use of social media or web content have anything to do with anything?????? If someone has a message they want communicated (whether others choose to listen to or agree with what is being communicated is irrelevant) is it not common sense to use the “culturally standard” methods of delivery? You might find this surprising coming from a man from the land of “Jesus Bilderberg” but I was actually surprised Kris Allen won (Adam is simply the superior performer) and discovered his Christianity and church work on your Blog. Funny and Ironic! I guess I wasn’t invited to the A.R.C., Rick Warren, Fox News, American Idol, Take Away Your Freedom Summit last week. In my humble opinion your message is so left you have LEFT the arena of intelligent dialogue and debate.

  2. AIFan permalink
    March 1, 2009 1:50 am

    The idea that Kris Allen got through on his looks boggles the mind. Let’s face it, in real life nobody would give him a second look. He is sort of cute, but totally nondescript and bland. But I guess this season of Idol is so short on eye candy that he looks good by comparison. Just like Dorkey can sing – but only by comparison to other trainwrecks. What a miserable season this promises to be.

    • brie permalink
      March 1, 2009 3:42 am

      I think that’s it though. What eye candy is there this season? Gokey? Sarver? Picking is bleak.

      • TopIdol permalink
        March 1, 2009 5:00 am

        But we still have not had the Idol makeovers take effect.

        During this time last year, David Cook had rooster hair. A few weeks later, he had cougars.

        I’m trying to remember if there were ever any actual “hot” ones. Ace?

        • AIFan permalink
          March 1, 2009 1:21 pm

          Hmmm….. Good question. Idol always had more “cute” guys than “hot” ones. I suppose Ace was the hottest, but that’s not saying much.

  3. brie permalink
    February 28, 2009 11:58 pm

    I don’t doubt that there are some who will vote because of religious affiliation. Of course there are. There are also people that vote because someone is cute or because of some other stupid non singing reason. I just don’t buy that they all get through simply because of their religious affiliation.

    I think the church stuff is creepy in terms of I don’t want to see it on Idol or I don’t want to see the churchs getting overinvolved. At least last season we didn’t have one church visit, even if some of the contestants were religious themselves. Also the Gokey situation skeeves me out.

    As for the Archie/Kris comparison, I didn’t mean in regards to their singing. I meant more of Kris gives off the modest nice guy “aw shucks” demeanor, so maybe it’s more accurate to say he reminds me of a cross between Archie and Castro–and you know how popular both of them were last season.

    • TopIdol permalink
      March 1, 2009 1:31 am

      Oh, I don’t think people are necessarily “voted through”, perhaps, because of their religious affiliation. But I feel like this season, all these church affiliations will be shoved down our throats. I just feel its a bit over-the-top this year. And if this means we’re going to hear a bunch of songs such as “Hero” and “Man in the Mirror”, ugh.

      The Praise & Worship Leader stuff, it’s interesting, really, because that sort of position is almost one of junior minister. So it’s not just like these are some people who are involved with their church or go every weekend. It’s people who obviously have some bent towards being a minister of sorts.

      An yes, Archie AND Castro. I hear Castro will be performing on the show next week.

      • brie permalink
        March 1, 2009 3:39 am

        That is definitely true. I haven’t seen a lot of Praise & Worship leaders in the past. True, Idol has certainly been a breeding ground for the religious in the past, but maybe not to this degree. Or if it was it wasn’t shoved down our throats. But then again, I only feel it’s been shoved down our throats with Gokey so far. I’m still in wait and see mode on the others.

        Yep, from what I hear Castro will be on the show Wed. night continuing the theme of S7 guests. Kelly Clarkson Top 12 week.

  4. brie permalink
    February 28, 2009 10:34 pm

    I know nothing about megachurches. I’m not Christian nor religious, but I still don’t think Kris Allen made it through because of his religious affiliation. Get on the fraus all you want, but if that’s the case he made it through because he’s cute and he’s eye candy, something that is sorely lacking this season.

    This guy had been give practically zero airtime that I don’t think most even know his religious affiliation. I know you think fraus are online all day combing the internets, but in this case people are now looking him up because he made it through, not the other way around.

    Put it this way. Kris has a bit of the “aw shucks” good boy Archuletta vibe. Throw the fact that he’s cute on top of that and he didn’t even need the religion stuff to get through.

    • TopIdol permalink
      February 28, 2009 10:53 pm

      I think the mention of him being eye candy certainly helped. It’s funny he’s being compared to Archuleta. Because he’s short and “cute”, with brown hair and brown eyes? I think it’s kind of funny, actually, because he’s several years older than Archuleta. Perhaps their song choices will be the same, but he really doesn’t remind me of him whatsoever. But I would agree that he could be the designated safe, puppy dog eye candy of the season.

      While I obviously can’t prove it, I think there are a lot of people who will vote for someone based on their religious affiliation. Then there are others who seem to “find religion” just to go to the contestants’ churches. To me, that’s a lot weirder. It seems unbelievable, but it does happen. That’s another reason why all this church stuff freaks me out this season. You already have fans attending Gokey’s church and I’m sure others have or will check out the others. I just find this a bit unsettling and creepy, even if the church sits 1000s.

  5. AIFan permalink
    February 28, 2009 9:02 pm

    I hope all those fundies split the vote and propel Adam to victory ! I would laugh and laugh.

  6. Sane Jason Fan permalink
    February 28, 2009 8:51 pm

    I’m laughing at the idea of Adam in there with all these worship leaders. What are TPTB trying to set up? Are they going to have all these mega-church attendees try to “save” Adam’s soul? Or are they going to show everyone getting along swimmingly in an attempt to get the nation to join hands and sing Kumbaya? After all, Danny was in a real rush to hug Adam after he made it into the Top 12. On second thought, maybe Danny just knew that’s where the camera was.

  7. Ashley permalink
    February 28, 2009 8:36 pm

    Megachurches skeeve me out, its like…assembly line Jesus. Although, I was raised without organized religion. Oh, and Sen Grassley is awesome, I’m so glad to have one of the last old sane Republicans as my senator.


  1. Faith Matters! (Or How Kris Allen Made The Top 12) « Top Idol

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