Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"From Idol to Inspiration" Review: Looking at the "most Christian-friendly show in primetime"

There’s no doubt that “Idol” has made an impact on pop music and country music. But there’s one other genre where “Idol” is truly starting to have an impact—Christian music.

Tomorrow night, Gospel Music Channel will air “From Idol to Inspiration,” an hourlong special that examines the impact “Idol” has had on Christian music and the impact Christians have had on “Idol.”

It’s an interesting special that explores an interesting topic as Idols and “Idol” journalists talk about the show that Brian Mansfield of “USA Today” calls the “most Christian-friendly show in primetime.”

The hour focuses mostly on four Idols making their mark in Christian music—Phil Stacey, who I believe is about to burst onto the Christian music scene big time now that he’s working with Michael W. Smith’s people; Dove nominee Mandisa; Dove nominee Chris Sligh; and Melinda Doolittle, who has toured with Michael W. Smith.

Although I have nothing but love for Phil and Mandisa—who are well represented here—the real star of the hour is Chris Sligh, who has some very interesting thoughts on how “Idol” allowed him to share his faith. You may recall that Chris took some flack for not performing Christian songs on the show, but his explanation of why he didn’t is a good one that may make you think a little bit.

The final segment of the program focuses on Sophia Gokey, Danny Gokey’s wife. We hear from Danny’s brother-in-law and sister-in-law about Sophia and the foundation Danny started in her honor. Although hearing the story is interesting, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this segment bothered me a little. I understand that Danny’s story fits in well with what the special is trying to say but it seems a little unfair to so prominently spotlight someone still in the competition—especially when Kris Allen is a worship leader as well and he gets zero camera time in the special.

But as a whole, the hour is an interesting one that makes real connections between two things that seem completely opposite—religion and the most popular show on television. I encourage you to take an hour to explore that connection for yourself…

“From Idol to Inspiration” premieres Thursday, April 23rd at 7 p.m. on Gospel Music Channel. The special is followed by The Dove Awards live at 8 p.m. Nominee Chris Sligh will perform and nominee Mandisa and Phil Stacey will present…