'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