A bevy of music superstars across a myriad of genres proudly profess gospel roots and mark their first public singing experiences in church.
Some notable names include industry legends like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, and current chart-busting artists like Katy Perry and Justin Timberlake. It only makes sense, then, that many previously unknown hopefuls who try out for reality singing competitions like “The Voice” and “The X Factor” also have a faith-based music background.
The two competitions are hot under way with “The X Factor” currently in its third season and “The Voice” in its fifth season. Both hit series are heading into live performances next week in which America will vote for their favorite artists. Current and former contenders have mentioned God, prayers, giving Him thanks and other displays of faith which have potential to draw masses of people closer to Him. Here are some recent and past examples.
Jeffrey Adam Gutt ‘The X Factor’ Seasons Two and Three
Detroit native and single dad Jeffrey Adam Gutt first appeared on “The X Factor” in season two and was eliminated during the boot camp round. The talented rocker returned this season in the Over 25 category to take another shot at winning a recording contract. He impressed all four judges singing “Creep” by Radiohead at his audition after which Simon Cowell dubbed him “the one who got away.”
Gutt recently stunned the live audience and drew them to a spiritual place with his soul-stirring and tear-inducing performance of the classic hymn “Amazing Grace.”
Melanie Amaro and Stacy Francis ‘The X Factor’ Season One
The first and youngest “X Factor USA” season one winner Melanie Amaro is an openly proud Christian. She consistently mentions prayer, Jesus Christ and God’s many blessings in social media settings like Twitter. She also gave glory and praise to God throughout her time on the series.
Furthermore, many of Amaro’s supporters believe God had a hand in her inspirational “X Factor” journey following Simon Cowell’s initial dismissal, very public apology for his mistake and invitation to come back to the show, which she eventually won.
Likewise, “X Factor” Over 30 season one finalist Stacy Francis was open about her faith during her time on the show. She sang the classic hymn “Amazing Grace” in her final performance, after which she was eliminated from the competition. Stacy’s candid revelation about surviving an abusive relationship was a huge inspiration, in possibly prompting other abuse victims to leave a bad situation and potentially glorifying God.
Austin Jenckes and R. Anthony ‘The Voice’ Season Five
“The Voice” season five artist Austin Jenckes recently captivated viewers and the live audience with his emotionally-affecting knockout round performance of Edwin McCain’s rock ballad “I’ll Be.” In his pre-performance video, Jenckes revealed he chose the song to showcase his singer /songwriter sensibilities in dedication to his late father who tragically took his own life.
Following his knockout victory, Jenckes’ credited both his late earthly father and his Heavenly Father’s influence in his performance saying, “I asked him and God to let me give the best performance I can give.”
Christina Aguilera’s battle round finalist R. Anthony is a preacher’s son who was only allowed to listen to gospel music growing up. He formed a gospel band in college and first became aware of secular music while listening to Michael Jackson.
Christina and Cee Lo turned for him following his “Hall of Fame” blind audition and Christina asked him about his musical roots. He replied that he’s a gospel singer and advised Cee Lo he was born and raised in the church and is still in the church.
Both artists clearly have a relationship with God and are not afraid to show it.
Danielle Bradbery ‘The Voice’ Season Four
Season four country singer Danielle Bradbery amazed Coach Blake Shelton, his rival coaches and millions of viewers with her natural stage presence and spectacular vocals, despite never performing in front of anyone before her blind audition.
At 16, Danielle is the youngest artist to win “The Voice.” She chose to sing Carrie Underwood’s smash hit, “Jesus Take the Wheel” on her knockout round which details an impending car accident but ultimately sends a message about giving Jesus total control of your life. The song is a huge testament of faith for a teenage girl who millions of kids look to as a role model.
Jermaine Paul ‘The Voice’ Season Two
“The Voice” season two winner and gospel / R&B artist Jermaine Paul used music as a drug and gang deterrent while growing up in New York. He formed a group and sang gospel songs with other kids at local churches. His inspirational story shows how God can help us overcome difficult life circumstances through His gift of music.
Overall, God uses people, their gifts, and their declarations of faith as witness to His love and glory every minute, every day. Huge platforms like “The Voice” and “The X Factor” present Christian contestants with a unique and important opportunity to meet millions of TV viewers right where they’re at and hopefully raise spiritual awareness and draw them closer to Him via their God-given gifts of song and personal displays of faith.