American Idol's Gospel Connection

by: 

Tricia Whitehead
Mar 29, 2007

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As the competition heats up on FOX's "American Idol," watched weekly by 30 million Americans, GMAil has asked Tricia Whitehead, GMA's indie publicist and self-described Idol fanatic, to provide weekly updates following the AIers with gospel music connections.

Winning a bet with fellow contestant Phil Stacey (and one of the four Idols GMA has been following) seemed to be Chris Sligh's consolation as he was voted off "American Idol" Wednesday night.

As Chris was singing his exit song, he hugged his fellow contestants, stopping by Phil to say "You owe me $50." On Thursday, we learned that the two Idol roommates, who also are church worship musicians in real life, had made a playful bet earlier that day about who would be leaving the competition. Chris said he knew after the judges' criticism of his performance of the Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," that he would be voted off this week.

In interviews following the ousting, Chris acknowledged the incredible platform Idol gave him from which to continue pursuing his musical career, with some speculating if that future career will include a Christian music label. All that will have to wait until his AI commitments are over. After several national media appearances which included Thursday night on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," Chris will return for the finale, and then head out on the summer "American Idol" tour.

So, while we say good-bye for now to Chris, we also celebrate that Phil, along with Melinda Doolittle and Jordin Sparks, continue on in the competition. Phil was praised for one of his best performances this week, singing the Police's "Every Breath You Take," and Melinda and Jordin elicited their usual gushing from the judges and the fans. Nashville area viewers might have noticed that Melinda's alma mater, Belmont University, produced a local TV advertising spot to congratulate Melinda on her success. And, check out the Arizona Republic's Web site, Jordin's hometown newspaper, which has a whole section dedicated to her "American Idol" journey.

Alas, my wish for a gospel-themed week on Idol will never be realized, so it's on to Tony Bennett week this Tuesday, with results announced on Wednesday.

Before I sign off for this week, in other Idol-related news, Mandisa, from last year's "American Idol," has been slated to host the Songwriter Showcase during GMA Music Week 2007 on Sunday, April 22 with Mark Schultz. All the info and more about the week's showcases can be found here.

Don't forget to watch on Tuesday and vote, vote, vote!

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