American Idol Does Worship

I saw something last week on American Idol that really freaked me out. They opened the show by having the contestants perform Shout to the Lord by Darlene Zschech!

If you don’t know the song, Shout to the Lord is one of the most popular contemporary worship songs of all time. It’s popularity alone is perhaps the reason American Idol chose to have the top eight contestants perform it, but I was really creeped out by the whole thing. Watch it, and then I’ll tell you why I have a problem with it.

My problem with it…

I have always had a problem with the commercialising of Christianity. I don’t have a problem with the practice of paying teachers for teaching or for paying pastors for pastoring or artists for performing or writers for writing, etc. But I have a problem when someone uses their own Christianity to make money (“Buy from me because I’m a Christian.”) or when a person plays off Christian values to make money (some of the biggest “Christian” bookstores are owned by secular firms because they saw a business opportunity).

What was American Idol doing? Were they affirming their own Christian values? Were they playing off the values of their audience? Were they performing a great piece of music for its own sake?

My guess is that it was option number two. I don’t have anything against that song or the people who love it, but frankly speaking, there are many other songs they could have picked with better lyrics, better instrumentation or better melodies. No, they picked the most popular worship song for one reason… to make Christians think American Idol was a good show to watch. Just look at the comments on YouTube to see what Christians now think of the show.

Such irony for a show called American Idol to play off its Christian audience!