American Idol - Shout to the Lord  

Friday, April 11, 2008


American Idol is one of the reality shows that I watch regularly. Most of the contestants have professed a belief in a god at some point or another in their thanks, but the show itself has never been overtly religious.

Last year during one of the episodes each of the contestants sang an inspirational (religious) song except for Blake Lewis, who decided upon John Lennon's Imagine. I heard there was some controversy over his song choice, but from what I read most people felt he lacked conviction to match the song more than they disliked the song choice.

This year David Archuleta sang Imagine early in the season, but he left out the first verse. Maybe after the controversy over Blake (real or not), he decided to play it safe. Or maybe he was telling the truth when he said he wanted to sing the last verse because it was his favorite and due to the limited time given to each song he didn't have time to sing both.

In any case, I don't have a problem with religious songs, especially classic hymns, being sung on the show. I don't hate religious music. I might not appreciate them in the same way Christians do, but I can still enjoy the music when its done well.

But then tonight I watched the episode from last Thursday on DVR and the remaining contestants sang Shout to the Lord. My brand of church growing up was not just evangelical, but also charismatic. This is the type of music we sang on Sunday mornings during praise and worship. Just read the lyrics.

Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing
Power and Majesty, praise to the King;
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name.
I sing for joy at the work of your hands,
Forever I'll love You, forever I'll stand
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.

My Jesus, my Savior, Lord, there is none like You;
All of my days I want to praise the wonders of Your mighty love.
My comfort, my shelter, tower of refuge and strength;
Let every breath, all that I am, never cease to worship You.

Chorus
Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing
Power and Majesty, praise to the King;
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name.
I sing for joy at the work of your hands,
Forever I'll love You, forever I'll stand
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.


Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing
Power and Majesty, praise to the King;
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name.
I sing for joy at the work of your hands,
Forever I'll love You, forever I'll stand
Nothing compares to the promise I have...
Nothing compares to the promise I have...
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.

It was hideous. I can think of no reason why they would choose to sing this song. It's almost as if American Idol has chosen to pander to the religious crowd. But I doubt most religious people in America are even familiar with the song. It seems an odd song to be on a secular television program.

Another interesting fact of note. The song was originally written by Darlene Zschech of Hillsong Music. That's right, the same Hillsong that's in charge of Mercy Ministries.

Hmmm....

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9 comments: to “ American Idol - Shout to the Lord

  • the chaplain
    Friday, April 11, 2008 at 11:04:00 PM CDT  

    This song has become quite popular in The Salvation Army across the USA and Canada. Time will tell whether it becomes one of the longer-lasting, durable praise & worship songs. Many of them fade in and out of fashion quickly, but this one looks like it may have staying power. It's funny that it's so popular. It's somewhat difficult to sing as it requires a fairly wide vocal range. Consequently, I'm not surprised that the Idol performance was pretty bad.

  • Ordinary Girl
    Friday, April 11, 2008 at 11:16:00 PM CDT  

    I had no idea the song was that popular. I was familiar with it, but I'm sure I'm familiar with a lot of songs that aren't very popular in most churches. But perhaps that has changed in the last 20 years.

    The comments on iTunes are very numerous and complimentary.

    The song wasn't sung badly. I think they lip synch (at least this season) on group songs, except for special solo/duo parts. Sometimes the microphones don't get turned on in time or turn off early.

    It was horrendous to me because of the lyrics and the memories it evoked, mostly.

  • Venjanz
    Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 12:51:00 AM CDT  

    I stopped watching this season after the Asian chick was booted off.

    That was a strange choice of songs, though. Maybe next week they can sing the Adhan?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlLaUCAQlQQ

  • aprilbapryll
    Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 10:15:00 AM CDT  

    I didn't watch the Idol Gives Back episode. To tell you the truth, I give to different organizations and I give food to random homeless people on occasion but I really have a problem with it being shoved down my throat, sort of how I feel about religion. I have plenty of spiritual beliefs but I think they're nobody's business but mine. I am a Christian, but I really don't think that most of what a church has to offer jives with how I choose to believe.

    So now I'm even happier with my decision not to watch. It's still on my DVR, but mostly because I didn't know if wanted to watch for the celebrity sightings, sort of like the Oscars :)

  • Mamacita Chilena
    Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 1:19:00 PM CDT  

    UGH. Yet another media channel shoving religion down our throats.

    I personally think the contestants claim belief in god because they're like presidential candidates -- they're pandering for votes.

    Because of my religious past I am familiar with that song too. I can't say it brings back fond memories.

  • Fate
    Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 3:41:00 PM CDT  

    I've heard the "imagine controversy" before - and I find any atheist bringing it up to be an incredibly bad argument.

    There are 3 verses to the song.

    One verse by itself, done right, filled the entire entire time.

    Using the last verse makes since from a musicality perspective if doing a shortened version.

    As such, it's one of the standard ways for doing it.

    Nothing to see there, move along.

    I didn't bother watching the last episode, and from the pictures, the whole gospel choir thing looks a bit much.

    Frankly, I don't see anything wrong with singing songs about God or faith. Some of the best music ever written is very religious - Handel's Hallelujah Chorus for instance. You don't have to be a Christian to find such songs uplifting or inspiring. In the end, it's more what you take out of it, than what inspired it originally. Take it for art, and move on. That said, most of American Idol is most assuredly, NOT art.

  • John Evo
    Friday, April 18, 2008 at 4:30:00 PM CDT  

    I always record Idol and watch later. I saw that and just turned it off. Simon must have hated it. He always rolls his eyes whenever people start thanking god for their success.

    For some reason, I'm not really enjoying this season all that much. I think it's pretty high talent for the most part but something just doesn't feel right to me.

  • Patience
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 at 9:26:00 PM CDT  

    Hillsong (or a church of the same name) are also prominent and active in Australia: one of the judges and a number of past contenstants on Australian Idol have been members. Creeeeeeepy, if you ask me.

  • Dikkii
    Sunday, April 27, 2008 at 10:39:00 PM CDT  

    Bleurgh! Any reference to Hillsong or Mercy Ministires grates with me at the moment, and not just because of Sean's series of excellent posts.

    It's interesting that someone would try this on during prime time, because it would be ratings suicide over here. Being openly pious is one thing, but audiences can react with some hostility if they feel that they're being preached to. As in, changing the channel.

    Incidentally, I'm prepared to cut David Archuleta some slack over dropping the first verse of Imagine. On Australian Idol, they're forced to sing songs that have been edited down to, and I'm not kidding, one verse and one chorus to meet scheduling requirements. I'm just waiting for someone to do this kind of butchery to a genuinely long tune like American Pie (nine verses, I think) just to see the kinds of complaints that they'll get.

 

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