On the last episode of American Idol, “America” booted the straight twink with the ridiculous hair Colton Dixon. To some this was a shock (but not to others who remembered that only one person wins and that it was only a matter of time before the superior singers would trounce him).
To what do we owe this blessing? Well, some would say that his poor performance of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” might have something to do with it. But today on Access Hollywood Live, Colton betrayed his true belief in the reason for his ouster. Apparently, he doesn’t fault his performance, but claims that “song choice got the better of me this week,” referring to his choice of a Lady Gaga song.
This is certainly a reasonable deduction (as are his qualms about the “TV edit” which does few performers any favors on American Idol), since he doesn’t really have Gaga’s raw animalistic swagger or performance abilities, not to mention that he probably hasn’t had any good sex or experienced the kind of intense romantic passion in his young life that the song requires. It never would have worked on him, no matter how much “edge” he thinks his mohawk patch of two-toned hair adds to his personality.
However, he doesn’t say that he wasn’t suited to the song. Rather, he felt he had abandoned his core audience with whom he has “taken a stance on [his] faith” and that he should have “chosen a song that better represented [him] as an artist.” This was why, he explained, that he apologized when he was eliminated- for singing a song by an artist he assumes his fans harbor negative opinions of (because she doesn’t organize her life and work around conservative Christian values). As an amelioration of this, his future plans involve a “Christian rock” album, a problematic genre at best. Maybe if he’s lucky he can get on one of those Worship compilations plugged in cable infomercials.
So from this we gather, it is because conservative Christians hate Lady Gaga that Colton Dixon was eliminated? Colton did it ever occur to you that few people, Christian or not, simply didn’t think the combination of the painted-on red leather pants (over those chicken legs), long-tailed coat and sub par performance had anything to do with this turn of events?
There are a few things wrong here.
1) You are not your core audience Colton. Representing yourself better as an artist doesn’t mean catering to their whims.
2) He assumes that the fan base keeping him there was a core of devotees who liked him because he was obnoxiously Christian, more than for his music. So what, the rest of us who thought you have a lovely voice don’t exist because we’re just a bunch of hedonistic sinners awaiting the slide into purgatory?
3) He assumes that all his fans refused to vote for him because they are Christians who hate Lady Gaga for being a progressive figure rather than a conservative one. If you had performed the song better, you would have gained new fans.
4) Just because you’re Christian doesn’t mean you have to work exclusively within conservative Christian values in creating music. That limits your growth and influence as an artist, it doesn’t augment it. You will literally just preach to the choir and say little of substance as a result.
Colton really did have a naturally beautiful voice, there is no denying that whatsoever. And a belief in religious experience certainly worked for Brian Wilson. His sense of harmony and instrumentation is a much better testament to some form of divinity than the work of the artists in the Christian Contemporary section at the music store. By offering a transcendent beauty to the listener, many of Wilson’s creations (like Pet Sounds and Smile) offered a religious experience without sacrificing his personality as an artist and spoke to whole generations of people. And continues to do so decades later. He represented himself as an artist and reached millions by looking inside himself and extracting what his own mind came up with, and working to be as truthful to his vision as possible. Not by looking to moralistic churchgoers for what would sell to them.