Skip to comments.'American Idol's' Christian connection (Mega-churches across heartland serve as training ground)
Posted on 05/24/2010 10:18:53 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
She isn't employed by the show and viewers never see her sparring with Simon Cowell. But Leesa Bellesi exerts her own kind of pull on "American Idol," Fox's top-rated singing contest that has a unique if often-unstated link to Christian churches.
Bellesi, who runs a Christian nonprofit in Lake Forest with her ex-pastor husband, visits tapings frequently, has befriended numerous finalists and helps wrangle funds and scout temporary housing for families who trek cross-country to see relatives perform on "Idol." Bellesi said that churches form a base for the young singers as they try to win votes and establish fan bases. Half of the Top 10 last season were worship leaders in their churches, she said.
"Most of the kids that have been really successful on 'American Idol' have that huge support of their church that's pushed them they've had a lot of voting and things like that," said Bellesi, who has no official connection to the show (a spokesperson for the producers said he had never heard of her) but was spoken of as an unofficial patron by former finalists Danny Gokey, Jason Castro and others.
Ties to churches especially of the evangelical or Pentecostal variety are indeed a common denominator for many contestants on America's No. 1 show, including this season's Aaron Kelly, Lacey Brown and Jermaine Sellers. Castro, who placed fourth on Season 7 and just released his first album, played one of his first pre-"Idol" gigs at Lake Pointe, a suburban Dallas mega-church he attends that's known for its sophisticated musical performances.
"That was the only time I sang when there were cameras involved," Castro said in a recent interview. "Any of the larger churches you go into are really full-on performance venues."
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
With many contestants having honed their vocal skills at black churches and suburban megachurches, "Idol" has been embraced by Christian communities across the nation. Congregations have launched enthusiastic viewing parties and vote drives for favorites. Perhaps more important, the contestants' church training has deeply influenced the songs and musical styles viewers hear on "Idol" and helped launch the careers of faith-based singers, such as George Huff and Mandisa, as well as secular pop artists. The show has projected to an audience of tens of millions an image of heartland youth driven by faith and strong family values. That's an important source of appeal for a nation that according to a 2007 Pew Research Center survey identifies itself as 78% Christian.
I’m sorry, perhaps I am old-fashioned...but using the Church as a jumping-off point for fame and fortune under the guise of ‘spreading the Gospel’ is just wrong.
American Idol’s ratings have dropped because they have promote the homosexual lifestyle with Adam Lambert who looks like a woman and Ellen DeGenerate.
I canceled TV about a year ago and will not be going back. All the 5 networks support Obama 100% so if you watch TV you support Obama.
I know a conservative guy who is very involved in churches. He was talking about working with some group and mentioned Rick Warren. I laughed and told hiom Warren was a pro-Islam fraud.
Wise up, producers.
In a way, the old time churches were venues for Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Albonini and for other composers music to be heard. Mozart’s music became more secular though he was religious.
I support “entertainment” in churches with this type of music. This more modern Christian rock praise music is hokie. It is better than Catholic, Protestant and Evangeliclas filling the pews with illegals.
I’ve been to both very poor small churches and very rich mega-churches. It’s hard to find legitimacy and authenticity in mega-churches and the services are productions.
I’ll take a poor country church any-day...
Seems to me that many of these churches are trying to “be in the world and not of it”.
There is a natural connection. Most people don’t sing much in their daily life. Churches produce singers.
Some churches are a capella and people learn to sing harmony rather naturally. A lot of churches these days have increasingly high quality music worship teams. What I notice is that while a few years ago young musicians would have looked outside the church are now willing and even anxious to ply their craft within the church.
The mega-churches kick that to another level. Someone who is leading worship three times a Sunday every Sunday is going to develop strong musical chops, and they do. And they are going to be very much at home on stage. For some of these churches, and some of the musicians serving in these churches, American Idol is almost a step down. And as time goes on and the “praise music” scene comes into its own, secular music increasingly starts to look like a step down.
As Al Pacino as Scarface said about his WASP money laundering banker - “phonies.”
Mega churches become businesses. At that point, I do not need a middleman to talk to God. Small churches usually “get it.”
One of the last churches I went to was a more progressive Catholic church. It was not my choice but someone I was driving to church. I thought it was a business conference center. Where was the crucifix? The cross was invisible like the Holy ghost or something. Nutty.
IN season 7 ( David Cook and David Archuelta’s season ), the idols actually sang the popular church song -— SHOUT TO THE LORD — in one of their group performances.
Ping to the truth about contemporary worship.
Sad and tacky. One of the best churches I attanded was a small dying Lutheran church. The neighborhood was changing. People getting old or moving away. I really got the impression the pastor or reverend really got it. He was a great guy.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people go to church looking for the former.”
Are you sure about that? I think if you check carefully you might find an assumption, perhaps based in prejudice, in there somewhere.
I have been to churches large and small.
The church with the best music was a mega-church... hands down. The church with the worst music was the smaller and more “religious” one.
I for one do not long for the days growing up when I was forced to sing old hymns to an out of tune piano being played by an overweight woman wearing support hose.
Not starting a flame war. To each his own.
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