anotherlongshot (anotherlongshot) wrote,

Religion on/and Idol.

I totally cannot stop reading this week's Idol performance thread on TWoP. I don't have Internet access right now but I opened a bunch of pages before my parents turned off the cable modem (like they always do) just to entertain myself with the snarky description of Gokey's nightmare of a performance, and I tell you, I have been sitting at my laptop for the past hour, laughing my ass off (and skipping over posts that are dumb, i.e. diss Kris while praising someone I thought sucked or while misspelling dead-easy words, like "screech". Please, it's not "screach"), and I came across so many wonderful gems that I just HAVE to share.

1. "Gokey's last note definitely broke the stage during dress rehersal - will leave it at that."

2. "So now Danny's trashed the Idol Mansion, the Idol Stage, and the eardrums of everybody in America. Douchezilla had better pray that he wins this thing, if only for the cash to combat the pending lawsuits."

3. "I feel for the guy because rock isn't his thing, and I applaud him for taking a HUGE chance with "Dream On", but Sweet Baby Jesus in a Car Seat that was awful. That last screech was possibly the worst thing I've ever heard on live television. The kid just needs to realize he has some limitations, no matter how much Jesus loves him." (This one is rather mean, but gosh, it's fishing hilarious. Yes, I suppose I'm back to the no-swearing-until-Kris-gets-sent-home thing.)

4. "I'm a Danny fan, and while, actually, the screach sounded exactly like Steven Tyler, it was just not good." (This one? As unintentionally hilarious as Gokey's performance. In the first place, anyone that can seriously claim to be a Gokey fan can never be taken seriously by me. In the second place, the mere thought that Gokey is capable of sounding 1% like Tyler, let alone "exactly" like Tyler, is enough to make me laugh as hard as Gokey made me laugh. This person is such an idiot. And in his/her next paragraph, not only did he/she call Kris "boring", he/she called Kris "phony". PHONY? ARE YOU FISHING KIDDING ME? Kris Allen is as genuine as David Cook. If Kris is "phony", no one on the show is genuine.)

5. "I had to plug my ears during the intro clip. It just got worse. Fingers went to ears again during the song, especially at the end. They did him no favors by showing the clip of that note with the numbers to close out the show. I definitely laughed, after I finished mopping up the blood from my ears."

6. "Danny Jessy Raphael...what can I say. That was all kinds of bad. And during the recap I was hoping they'd play that awful last note and the good lord heard me! I laughed so fucking hard. He also seemed out of it and low energy. Must be all that cheesecake." (The cheesecake part, oh my gosh I can't stop laughing.)

7. "Danny: there are tears in my ears. He was off-key, wobbly, mechanical, and then that last screech? OMG, at least when Adam screams he hits a note. Danny's last scream -- which Slash knew he'd never hit -- sounded like Danny had just had his first bowel movement after two weeks of constipation. Danny went from hero (last week) to zero. Even after he'd literally taken a dump on stage, the judges softened their criticism. "It was jus' aw'ight." "I like someone who takes risks, even when they take a dump on stage. It's all about growth." (Growth in what? The size of the turd?) I hated the talking back, and the frustrated shake of the head and final "whatever." Leave it to Danny to de-pimp himself. D+" (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. LOVE THE BOWEL COMPARISON. HAHAHAHA.)

8. "Honestly, dude, I'd rather hear a long, wet fart from a fat man's ass once every ten seconds for the rest of my life than to ever hear that last note again." (HA HA HA HA HA I DON'T THINK I'M HUMANLY CAPABLE OF CEASING LAUGHTER ANYTIME SOON.)

This one isn't about Danny but it cracked me up anyway:

9. "When the idols walked out, my husband said that Adam looked like Zoolander. LOL." (I'm sure Adam would appreciate this though. He liked the Rocky Horror Picture Show comment by Douchebag Simon!)

10. "Danny sounded like a cat being raped."

11. "I want the phone to pick up and play that scream whenever anybody dials in to vote for Gokey." (HAHAHAHAHAH I THINK THIS ONE IS MY FAVOURITE. HAHA SHIT I HONESTLY CANNOT STOP LAUGHING. I'M GONNA BE LAUGHING MYSELF TO SLEEP TONIGHT.)

12. "I, too, am rooting for the *ShockBoot* for Northern Tool & Equipment. He's not just a tool...he's the warehouse for tools. Ugh."

13. "Between the sound and lighting, Gokey reminded me of the dinosaur that sprayed tar and killed Dennis Nedry" (Not getting the reference but - LOFISHINGL.)

I'm STILL totally laughing at Danny's butchered and wretched and hilarious Steven Tyler impersonation (or was he trying to up Adam Lambert? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA) and remembering the look on my mom's face as we watched it together is only making me laugh harder. Shit, I wish I'd recorded that part; I'd totally watch it over and over again just for the sheer comedic gold that brings to an otherwise-boring existence.

Sure, Danny was memorable - but for all the wrong reasons. I honestly think that performance was easily the worst finalist performance on Idol since Season 3. Easily worse than anything Jasmin(e?) Trias sang, worse than Blake Lewis' This Is My Now, worse than Kevin Corvais' Part-Time Lover, worse than everything Sanjaya Malakar did, worse than Chris Sligh's Everything She Does Is Magic...I could go on, but I'm sure you get my point. It was just so damn bad. And if he STILL manages to stay over Kris after that atrocity? Well, I think the following post I saw, and could not believe, should explain it all:

I didn't get the Gokey hate for a while. He has a good voice, and I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt on the smug douchery. As a churchgoer, I'm predisposed to feel warmly about a worship leader who actually has vocal chops and can sing secular songs well. And I felt like a lot of the hate expressed toward him here was because he's a worship leader, and a certain sliminess was assumed to go with that for a lot of the people here. But after all these weeks, I really think he's a douche, and it's a shame. I read somewhere that two of the contestants were worship leaders - is Kris one as well? Haven't read anything about him.

Unbelievable, right? I just KNEW it. I just KNEW that the reason Danny has been getting the Christian vote is because most people didn't even know Kris is a worship leader and a missionary who has been to Southeast Asia and given his brand-new guitar which his parents gave him for his birthday (I believe) to a girl he encountered in a village in Thailand who was trying to sing at a church service but couldn't because her guitar was spoiled. He gave her his guitar - his brand-new guitar. Stories like this one, and that story about how he fell sick while on his missionary trip, I'm just flabbergasted that people don't know about it. Some other poster (some other asshole, actually) said that Danny doesn't talk about his religion on the show either, but he didn't have to because it was ALL OVER his initial performances. Mariah Carey's Hero, Carrie Underwood's Jesus Take the Wheel...pandering much? If there's a definition for "pandering", Gokey would be it.

The hate for Gokey has nothing to do with him being a worship leader. It has nothing to do with him being Christian. It has nothing to do with him being a devout Christian. It has everything to do with how he shoves it down my throat, how he's actually not very secular in his performances (when he's not trying to be secular and being all karaoke and awful), how he's a Christian who happens to have a good voice. That is in sharp opposition to Kris, who is a musician who happens to be a Christian. I love Kris, and he's also as religious as Gokey - unlike Gokey, he doesn't shove it down anyone's throat. He doesn't make himself be all about his religion, he doesn't wear it as a badge of identity, and he knows who he is as an artist, and he doesn't need his religion to pander for votes. He got here ALL BY HIMSELF, based SOLELY on his artistic merits. I won't even say his looks helped him significantly because there have been many good-looking contestants on Idol in the past who found themselves unable to coast on their looks alone, and no one in my memory got as far as Top 4 (Trias being the exception, but 1) she's a girl and 2) she had the entire Hawaii voting for her). Obviously his religious background helped 0%, judging from the post I just quoted.

And this just makes me even more mad. People are predisposed to liking Gokey just because he's a worship leader? Are you serious? What kind of idiots are watching this show, AND voting for the worst contestant to ever make the top 12? To make matters worse, this poster is obviously more intelligent than your average Middle America inhabitant, and the fact that she even said that shows A LOT about the voting pattern of this season. I'm more convinced than ever that the people voting for Gokey are silly Christians who can't separate a musical performance from their religion. And that just freaking incenses me, because if Gokey is going to get that advantage, Kris should also get that advantage. Somehow it feels like Kris is somehow less of a Christian because Christians aren't voting for him - which is bullshit, considering the fact that he went on a missionary trip all the way to here, Southeast Asia, and it's something not everyone can do (I think I know maybe one Christian who's done so, as in in real life). I'm not saying it makes you a better Christian or anything, and it's not something I'd ever care to judge on, and in fact I generally dislike missionary work because of the evangelism involved (though, of course, this might be a false impression); all I'm saying is, if religion is really a factor here, the fact that people STILL don't know about Kris' religious background puts him at a serious disadvantage viz. Gokey, who is really the only obstacle standing in his way to the top 2.

Then again, it's really a catch-22. If Kris was getting votes based on his religion alone, I probably wouldn't be as impressed as I am with him. I'd still like him, but I'd think his religion had a significant role to play in his top 4 placement which would significantly reduce my enjoyment of the Kris Allen Kool-Aid.

But still, I feel so indignant for him, that people don't even know how devout a Christian he is, and these "church-goers" are voting for the devout Christian who's so much less of a contestant and an artist than the other devout Christian who's as devout as the other one, but does so much more interesting things, and thoughtful things, and injects so much more emotional connection to his songs. If Christianity is a constant, surely the variable has to be the quality of the performances - and Kris is clearly, and even objectively, the better of the two. By a million country miles.

I still can't believe that Kris' religious background has escaped the attention of so many people this late in the game. But I'm so proud of him for getting so far on his own. I really am. I'm really proud that he hasn't felt the need to resort to shameless pandering via his religion because I'm sure he knows it'd help him - a lot. You know, the fact that I can love Kris so much and hate Danny so much really says a lot about the way these two contestants portray themselves on the show, the things they emphasise, the things they play up, the things they don't mention. One of my earliest complaints about Danny, besides his pimping of his deceased wife, was the nu-religious nature of his performances. Credit to him that they have kind of stopped for a while, but I never had that feeling from Kris. Never. Not once, not ever. Archuleta is a Mormon and even some of his performances felt a bit quasi-religious to me, but Kris hooked an atheist in and has her addicted to the Kris Allen Kool-Aid. The word "secular" really belongs to Kris, not Danny.

I feel like I have a larger comment to make actually. I used to describe myself as anti-religion because of what it does to people (make them go to war over it), and because of the brainlessness it sometimes encourages and perpetuates. But now, not so much. I'm still not fond of it, but it doesn't have to be a negative thing. It isn't a negative thing. And it is something I can happily live with as long as it gets the Kris Allen treatment, and not the Danny Gokey one. I'm giving Idol way too much credit, but I honestly do feel like these two are complete opposites in the way they handle their religious sides on a secular show, and in so doing, the contrast brings out all the problems I have with religion. It's not the content per se, not totally anyway; it's people like Danny Gokey who feel the need to remind everyone of how great his religion is, and how I'm totally going to hell because I'm a non-believer, and how he's totally superior to the uncivilised savages that don't subscribe to his faith. He doesn't have to come out and declare, "Believe in God or be condemned for eternity!" It's in the small things, the religious slant of his earlier performances, even the way he performs, as if he's still singing in a church. Kris, on the other hand, probably shares the desire for everyone to be Christian, but doesn't get in your face about it. He doesn't talk about it. He doesn't make himself all about it, he doesn't shove it down your throat, and I get the feeling that he'd be okay if his best friend was an atheist (or in his case, his best Idol buddy was a flamin' and proud homosexual). This is just an impression, but Kris comes across as accepting the way Danny comes across as judgmental - and my problem with religion is that there are more judgmental people than accepting ones. And the bad sometimes, sadly, outweighs the good.

But then, sometimes, there will be people like Kris Allen who comes along a secular singing contest and actually makes it about the music, not his religion. He serves as a timely reminder that not all church-goers from Middle America are stupid intolerant rednecks. This may be my Gokey Hate talking, but even though the contestants act all chummy with each other on camera, sometimes I really get the feeling that Danny doesn't like Adam as much as he appears to like him because Adam is gay. But Kris' friendship with Adam is genuine, and Adam's affections for Kris are also genuine; at least, that is the sense that I have. The only two contestants who seem to enjoy each other's company a little bit more are Michael Johns and David Cook - and they were REALLY good friends (still are, hopefully).

Kris Allen is one of the two Christian contestants I've had as favourites (the other being Bo Bice if I'm correct about him being Christian). I don't care what religion my favourite is, as long as he doesn't make it all about his religion and overshadowing the music. Will I buy a contemporary Christian music album from Kris? No, I won't (and thankfully, he's not that kind of artist either). But I will embrace a religion-inspired song in his mainstream album, not so much because I like this kind of music, but because it's created by Kris Allen - and he's successfully struck the balance between being a devout Christian and being a relevant mainstream artist that can appeal to a wide audience.

THAT is why I believe Kris has a much brighter career ahead of him than Gokey. THAT is also why (out of my million reasons) I love Kris so much, and almost hate Gokey as much.

Basically? I don't care if you're Christian. Just don't be obnoxious about it.


Going to bed. Results in five hours' time. Sigh. Not looking forward to checking when I wake up. 4am
Tags: american idol, kris allen

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