Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Jesus Makes the American Idol Cut 

I have often stood by the harsh comments Simon Cowell has made on the TV show American Idol to contestants because most of the time, I feel he's the only judge who (a) has got his finger on the pulse of what this particular competition is about and (b) because he knows what producers are looking for in this kind of pop singing talent. It's harsh, yes. But this is a tough competition and future stars will either survive such criticisms or they will be buried by them. Also, by this point, contestants known what it is they are in for. They know if they go in there and they really can't sing they are going to be told they're awful in no uncertain terms and be embarrassed on national television. Truth be told, some of the contestants are so horrible early on in the show that if they honestly believe they're good singers, they've got larger issues than some rough critiques.

All that said, I have thought Simon Cowell has made unusually harsh and unnecessarily mean comments so far this season. He has targeted contestants for things that have nothing to do with their singing ability, most notably weight and physical appearence. And he has been unrelenting, likely all in the name of ratings (i.e. stirring up controversy) and in what he thinks people like to see. Well, tonight, on the final Hollywood night, an unusual turn of events unfolded.

A contestant who was overweight walked into the judging room; Simon had previously remarked after this contestant originally auditioned that they would need a bigger stage this year if she got through. However, tonight, when she walked in, she spoke first. She said that there were a lot of people out there who want her to say a lot of things to Simon Cowell tonight, but she was only going to say one thing. She said that she was angered and hurt by him, and that she did cry, but that she forgave him for what he did. She went on to say that if Jesus Christ could die for the sins of the whole world, then she could extend to him, even if he had not apologized, some measure of that same grace, because grace comes even if you don't say you're sorry. Randy quietly said, "Amen."

Simon replied that he felt humbled and about as big as an ant. He apologized and embraced the contestant. I don't know what Cowell's religious proclivities are, but I hope tonight he felt the grace that was extended to him in the name of Jesus Christ and I hope it inspires him to judge in the future only what he is called to judge: singing talent.



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