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'American Idol' Daily: What's on Jason Castro's mind


After nearly a week on hiatus from the "Idol" daily reports (spent preparing a big story, coming soon, about the future plans of one very special Season Seven contestant), I return to the beat to find my inbox flooded with more "Idol" news than any one humble tracker can hope to round up in one mere post.  Everything from Season Eight contestant spoilers, to Grammy nominations,  to Broadway shake-ups, to real estate news.

But to ease back in, here are some thoughts on  this video from Jason Castro just posted on the site iamsecond.com.  Shown speaking directly to the camera in a dark room, Jason shyly opens with the line, "This is a story.  Are you ready for a story?"  He continues, talking about one night on the "Idol" set, shot in a confessional style reminiscent of Vh1 Storytellers, or some indie-ish venue.  However, in what is a slightly jarring turn for those "Idol" viewers who don't know what is coming, he begins speaking very openly and honestly about that most taboo of prime-time TV subjects -- his faith and, in particular, his born-again Christian faith, talking about his devotion to Christ and how God animates his singing.

With many contestants on the show hailing from Christian backgrounds, and many who began their singing careers in the Christian community, the religious underpinnings of their craft is always a subtext on the "Idol" show.  But generally it remains a very deep sub-sub text, only rarely winked at, with contestants alluding to their faith in the most oblique ways. 

Religion  being the most personal and contentious of issues, "Idol" is no exception to the rule of prime-time programming, that any direct reference to particular beliefs can only  serve to alienate swaths of the broad public.  However, watching Jason speak so honestly, humbly and touchingly about how he is guided by faith, it is hard to imagine how any but the most committedly irreligious could be put off by such a testimony.   One would not wish the Idoldome to turn into a religious pulpit, but in spiritually neutering the contestants, one wonders how much of who they really are we lose.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section.  Does religion belong on the "Idol" stage? And to the non-Christians who watch this video, do Jason's sentiments offend you or make you appreciate him more?  Let's discuss!

-- Richard Rushfield

Photo: Fox

Comments () | Archives (53)

I'm not religious, and I'm not offended in the least. I admire him for his passion-for his music and his faith.

I am Jewish, and was not offended or bothered by Jason's video at all
To the contrary, it is refreshing and inspiring to see someone so young so grounded and mature, and so willing to talk openly about their religion.

Here is a young man who is not only talented but knows exactly who he is and wants to be. How many 21 year olds are so grounded and defined?. Here is a role model for today's world! The first time I saw and heard Jason on AI I could see his light shining!

I am not overly religious either, yet I find Jason's openness about his faith and what motivates him to be refreshing and honest. I am not put off in the least, but rather, I admire him for having the courage to state his convictions in an industry where, as you have pointed out, this is not the norm.

I am Jewish (not a religious one), and I admire his faith, his personality, his passion,
and mostly- his talent. this inreview only make me more curious to hear his
original music

I admire Jason for speaking about what he believes in and I for one am not ashamed I share his feeling of our Lord above.

About AI, there have been many who are Christians, they however, choose not to be openly candid about their faith as Jason. I say kudos to Jason for being honest, sincere, and humble about who he is and that he believes and trust God with his heart and soul.

I am deeply spiritual but do not ascribe to any one particular religious fath.... Even though I don't identify myself as "Christian", I think what he says in the video really speaks across all religions. It is universal.

So no, I am not in the slighest "offended". Only deeply moved that Jason, in all his 21 years of life experience, can express this in a way where he is not preaching dogma... he is simply speaking from the heart.

I am deeply touched by this young man's honesty and integrity to state what he believes. His sincerity has touched my heart. I have only the deepest respect for him.

I've been following and supporting Jason since the very early weeks of this past season's Idol. I loved his vibe and have been extremely drawn to him like a moth to flame. Now, after reviewing his I Am Second video I know the reason. He knows exactly who he is, what he wants to do and what path he wants to walk. He does this with such humility and honesty. I also am a Christian and amdeeply moved and inspired by his message. He is so talented and I am his fan for life.

You asked if we believe religion belongs on the "Idol" stage? Whether we believe it should or not doesn't matter because it is. Everything we think, feel, do, or say can be boiled down to....what our core belief about God is. What is seen and heard is only the outward of what is deeper within us. Unfortunately, those with deeper beliefs tend to have to keep them squelched but every once in a while it peeks through.

American Idol actually surprised me this year with how many more songs with a "christian" theme were sung....by the "idols" themselves and by the mentors...

Jason's interview is refreshing, encouraging, and confirming. There was something about him on the show that set him apart and many attributed it to "drugs" but in actuality it's a knowing of who he is and who's he is. His trust lies in the Lord and not in man. This is one huge reason why I am supporting his music.

I only wish more young men [and women] to be as grounded as Jason....heck, I wish at 21 I would have been.

As a Diest, I don't believe that religion belongs on the Idol stage. However, as a fan of Jason since the day I heard him sing Daydream, I admire him for his convictions and passion about his beliefs. In his I Am Second statement, he doesn't push religion. He speaks about how his relationship with God affects all that he does, and how he is inspired by a higher power. This video is done in such a subtle way that there is no judgment of those who may not feel the same way. It's hard to believe anyone could be offended by his honesty and humble spirit. I have nothing but admiration, respect and love for this talented remarkable young man.

I'm not an overly religious Christian but, I am a Jason fan. I think any young person who can speak so openly and honestly about what they believe deserves some sort of recognition. As a young person myself I think seeing someone as humbled by religion as Castro is a strong positive message. I would really recommend other teens who are christian or, maybe don't know where they belong yet watch that video.
However I don't think religion should play a role on the actual show because, Jason speaking so confidently about his religion is not something you hear everyday which is what makes it so special.

Does religion belong on the stage? I don't know. What I do know is this, honesty, integrity, faith and passion are integral to the human existence. Most of us believe and hope for something bigger and better than we are, whatever your faith or non-faith.
The public spot-light is a hard place to be.

Does religion belong on the stage? Well, Does violenc and filth and degradation belong on the stage?

We are inundated daily by all things media with negativity. Is it any wonder that it spills over into our personal daily lives? Our schools, our communities, our public offices and even our churches?

I have followed Jason since he was on AI. I will continue to do so. I know God too and easily recognized 'The Shine" the first time I laid eyes on him. We need more like him. Grounded, knowing himself and where he belongs and who he belongs to. That's awesome. One more thing, you don't have to agree with his faith or even share it, but you'd have to blind to not recognize it as a good thing, no matter how you slice it.

Wish I could have been so grounded at such a young age.

Aaaahhh Jason is the most misunderstood contestant of American Idol and this is so not only because of his appearance but his laid back demeanor coupled with the way things are edited in the show. However, this video shows his inner self...his true being....his belief and his faith. This is the true Jason Castro...opening himself up to the world to see...I can't judge him for that is not my role but I could only admire him for knowing who he is, believing in the Truth and being honest. I am not in the least bit offended in his video and I hope that the new contestants of American Idol is shown in the true light that they really are. Thanks for this discussion.

Im not so sure that religion should be on the idol stage but I absolutely LOVE this video.. Jason is such a huge inspiration to so many out there.. to be able to speak about his faith so openly and honestly is amazing.. I was speechless when I watched this video and yes I even shed some tears.. I'm not very religious myself but I admire Jason for putting himself out there like this.. he is truly beautiful inside and out

From the first moment I heard and saw Jason Castro on American Idol, I knew he was "real". I knew he loved God. I can't explain. When I saw the I Am Second video, I was in tears. Jason Castro is unafraid to follow his faith and to share that with us. Jason has inspired so many to "turn on" their faith, to come alive, "to shine" and that can only be a good thing.

Our world is steeped in violence and hatred and we seems to have no qualms in applauding the artistry of those who perform this darkness. I am ready for some light and flowers. Life is short, let's eat dessert. Let's all hear Jason Castro's music and "shine". You and I need each other, and Jason helps us to see that.

Jason Castro is unafraid to speak of his beliefs. He is "real". I have known this from the first time I heard him sing on American Idol. Watching the video, I Am Second, only confirmed for me what I already know. Jason Castro is a light. I am wearied by the darkness that is frequently portrayed and admired in our culture. We are consumed by anger and hatred. I am ready for the light to shine. Life is short, and it is time for us to leave the darkness behind.

What a shining example Jason Castro is for everyone, especially the youth of today. His, I Am Second video is from the heart, just as his music is. I think if American Idol wants authenticity, they need to allow the participants to show who they are. At one point this year, Simon said that this season's contestents didn't have personality, or didn't show it. Well, if they have to hold parts of themselves back or are criticized for choosing a heartfelt song as Jason was for singing (Traveling Thru), the authenticity of the show suffers. When Simon objected to Jason's choice, I thought, wow, Simon really doesn't have a clue about who Jason Castro is...even I knew enough about Jason to know Travelin' Thru was the perfect choice for him. (And so did many others.) The I Am Second video validates what Jason Castro fans have known about Jason all along. We knew this because of the way he carried himself on the show, his song choices, his quotes, his pre-idol music from church, and his relationship with his family. As someone else said he was a shining light from Daydream...and as many tried to dampen that light with rumors, edits and some unjustified criticisms...Jason's light continued to shine! You can't hide faith, love, passion and light. So does religion belong on the Idol stage? No, yet authenticity does. That means allowing contestents to show and express who they really are...and that includes their musical roots, their passion, their love of music, their faith and their truth! To that I say Yay!

Jason Castro continues to surprise me as a performer and as a most intriguing young man. I love when performers describe what makes their music "theirs"... be it their love for God, nature or whatever! That's a big part of what makes me a fan of Jason Castro. Honestly, it's Castro's fans themselves who are the most offensive.... I tend to "lurk" his fanboards, but his fans are so creepy and judgemental about their faith I choose not to contribute to the discussions.

I am a Christian and I'm also a fan of Jason Castro. I am so touched by his I Am Second video.The emotion he conveys when he sings is so inspiring it touches my heart and soul. You can see and feel the goodness and humbleness in him. When I met him before the Charlotte, NC concert, I was so impressed by the way he took such time with the fans and he was so sweet to everyone. He took a picture with almost every fan there and in every picture his smile is so genuine and his eyes are so bright with happiness and love. And that's how I feel when I hear him sing. I have to hear his music everyday. In the house, in the car and at work. It just makes me happy.I do believe that God is shining his light through Jason. As far as to whether I think religion should be on the AI stage, I really don't know. I do know that this world needs more young people like Jason who aren't afraid to stand up for what they believe in and who are able to put theirself out there and show what they stand for.

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