The influence of the "American Idol®" television series on the popularity of gospel music and the influence of gospel music on "American Idol" has given gospel performers an unprecedented platform in the limelight.
Singers from gospel music backgrounds have done well on "American Idol" since the beginning, as have those contestants who have professed their faith. Winners Ruben Studdard, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia and Jordin Sparks and finalists Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry, George Huff, Chris Sligh, Phil Stacey, Melinda Doolittle and Mandisa have all brought their faith to "American Idol."
Many of these artists have signed record deals with gospel divisions of major record labels following their stint on "American Idol," and several have been nominated for and won Dove Awards. Mandisa even used her American Idol experience to share a little gospel with judge Simon Cowell.
"I said, 'Simon a lot of people want me to say a lot of things to you right now. But what I want you to know is that I forgive you. The reason I can forgive you is that Jesus Christ died so that all of my wrongs could be forgiven. I can certainly extend that same grace to you.' And then something extraordinary happened. His jaw dropped, he kept looking around to see what was going on, because that's not what he was expecting and he got up, he gave me a big hug, he apologized and my relationship with him has been amazing ever since."
"God has full control over everything and things happen for a reason so I lived that very much during American Idol...just knowing, 'okay, if I'm here another week, there's got to be a reason because I am scared out of my mind!' I hope Jesus was dancing when I was singing on American Idol," says "American Idol" finalist Melinda Doolittle.
Some of these "American Idol" gospel stars appeared on the television special ”From Idol to Inspiration” including Chris Sligh, Phil Stacey, Melinda Doolittle and Mandisa as well as one of the most popular Christian artists today, worship leader Danny Gokey, whose wife, Sophia, died shortly before his "American Idol" audition.
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