American Idol's Top Christian Contestants
Since its 2002 debut, American Idol has been - by any measure - one of the biggest shows on television. Each week more than 20 million people tune in to watch aspiring singers compete for a recording deal plus all the fame and fortune that come with it.
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While it would be easy to get jaded by the bright Idol lights and focus only on the glitz associated with being budding pop stars, the show's platform can serve a much bigger purpose.
Here is a list of five Christian Idol contestants who weren't afraid to mix a little Spirit with their success.
Ruben Studdard (2003) - Studdard was the second winner in Idol history, beating out Clay Aiken for the title. And while his debut album, Soulful, was a mainstream project, he followed it with 2004's I Need an Angel. The gospel album sold 96,000 units its first week and entered the Gospel Charts at #1. It also scored the top spot on the 2005 Billboard Year-End Gospel Chart.
Mandisa (2006) - Mandisa's season on American Idol didn't start very smoothly, as notoriously critical judge Simon Cowell made repeated negative references to her weight. But Mandisa took the high road. "What I want to say to you is that, yes, you hurt me and I cried and it was painful, it really was," she told Cowell. "But I want you to know that I've forgiven you and that you don't need someone to apologize in order to forgive somebody. I figure that if Jesus could die so that all of my wrongs could be forgiven, I can certainly extend that same grace to you." Since the show, Mandisa has become a chart-topping, Grammy and Dove Award-nominated CCM artist.
Jason Castro (2008) - Though Castro only finished in fourth place on Idol's seventh season, his semi-final performance of Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" proved that he was a musical force with a powerful message to share. Like Studdard, Castro's first post-Idol release was secular, but in January he dropped Only a Mountain, his first full-length Christian album.
Colton Dixon (2012) - Way before Idol fame, Dixon and his sister, Schyler, were part of a Christian rock band called Messenger The experience proved to be the perfect training for Dixon's new gig as a certified (Christian) rock star. His debut album A Messenger just dropped, and Dixon can be found jamming around the country on The Miracle Tour with Third Day and Josh Wilson.
Angela Miller (2013) - Though it is entirely too early to predict how this season of American Idol will fare for the contestants, it is abundantly clear that Miller is an early favorite. "Through music I aim to show that loving God and being a good influences to other is my goal!" reads the 18-year-old's Twitter bio. And she's off to a great start: Her performance of her original song, "Set Me Free," garnered a standing ovation from the judges, plus over a million views on You-Tube.
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