Singing Imagine Without the Best Part

On last night’s episode of American Idol, singer David Archuleta sang John Lennon‘s song Imagine.

The song contains these terrific lyrics:

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

Guess which verse was cut during his performance tonight…?

Archuleta said he just “preferred” the other verses when pressed by judge Randy Jackson about why he left out that part of the song.

I wonder, though, if he was worried that singing a lyric about “imagining no religion” would lose him the votes needed to stay on the show.


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • geru

    Ugh.. I wonder if these cretins also take the effort further and stop by John Lennon’s grave to literally piss on it, instead of just cropping his legacy. These people make me sick.

    Edit: Well, actually on the youtube-version he skipped the first two verses, so it could be he just wanted to make it shorter. But anyway, shame to you who HAVE skipped the religion part on purpose. :)

  • Erica

    Seems to me like it would have been much less weird (or noticeable) if he’d have just sung it like it was written. The fact that Randy brought that up to him could hurt him in the long run. Of course… I don’t watch American Idol, so I can’t say too much. :)

  • Mark Jagoda

    Presumably he did begin with “Imagine there’s no heaven,” though…

  • Renacier

    What about “imagine no possessions”? or “Imagine there’s no heaven.”? Sounds like Socialism and Secularism to me. That song is virtually impossible to “clean up” if that was his goal.

  • http://daybydayhsing.blogspot.com Dawn

    Good on Randy for pointing it out. If you’re going to sing a song with as much cultural importance as “Imagine” then suck it up and sing it as written.

  • http://inthenuts.blogspot.com King Aardvark

    I’m not surprised. I saw a busker singing Imagine once, and he modified that line, again, probably to ensure he didn’t piss off his audience. For what it’s worth, his replacement line was “and no George Bush too” and given that we were in Canada, that’s sure to get you extra money.

  • I like tea

    Hey, it’s the Christian thing to do. Just like how they “prefer” certain parts of the Bible over others.

  • http://myangrylittleblog.blogspot.com Phillip

    I’ve heard it sung “And one religion too” . . .

  • http://literaghost.blogspot.com/ literghost

    To his credit, I don’t think they give you much time for performances, especially when there are still about 20 people to go through in an hour or so (with tons of commercial breaks, of course). …Yeah, my mom’s an A.I. addict.

    You can see the performance yourself here. My mom gushed about it last night after it was on, but after seeing it myself on the website — pffbt, tame. Cultivating the persona to make all the moms cry; typical A.I. It’s a pop show, what can you expect?

    If it makes y’all feel better, I’ll be performing “Imagine,” uncut, at my graduation/grad. party (atheist homeschoolers do things unusually :) ) in front of plenty of my Baptist relatives (and others). Wonder if I can get it taped…?

    — Miz L.

  • http://mnatheists.org Bjorn Watland

    These comments were all right in a row in the AI site Miz L posted above. Would they have been different if “No Religion” were mentioned? I remember Blake doing the song last year, and he put No Religion in, and got hassled for it.

    # momof4girls (2/27/2008 7:38:00 AM)

    David u have a gift from God. You can’t learn how to sing that beautiful, u have to be born with that talent and u were. U will go so far in life. I am sure your mothers heart is swollen with pride when she hears her angel sing. Take it from a mother or 4 daughters, u aren’t mine but i am proud of you myself. In my eyes you are already the next american idol.

    # kndredspirit (2/27/2008 7:33:00 AM)

    Feel it? Pure Spirit Made Real! Now it will never go away. Thank you Danny ! Your flawless Gift has arrived to enlighten us and your message is spreading!

    # iedelen (2/27/2008 7:30:00 AM)

    David, John Lennon would be extremely proud of your rendition of Imagine. I can just bet he was smiling down at you last night. Your voice is fantastic and you trully moved me with your song last night. Paula was right on, You touch the heart and soul of anyone who listens to you. Good Luck in the journey that you are now on.

  • Siamang

    I’ve heard it sung “And one religion too” . . .

    I think I just threw up in my own mouth a little.

    Kudos to Jackson for pressing him on it.

    Next week: “Woman is the Neighbor of the World!”

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    I wondered about it too, though his explanation was that he didn’t have time to do all the verses and liked the last one best. He didn’t say anything about not liking any of the others. Seems unfair to be reading too much into this.

  • http://formerlyaprildawn.blogspot.com April

    It crossed my mind, too. (I confess, I watch the show) But here’s the thing – he’s a 17-year-old kid and his parents are sitting in the front row. I think there was a little advising going on from them. I’ll cut him some slack on this one.

  • Siamang

    David, John Lennon would be extremely proud of your rendition of Imagine. I can just bet he was smiling down at you last night.

    Now there’s someone unclear on the concept.

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    Next week: “Woman is the Neighbor of the World!”

    Perfect! :)

  • http://blog.myspace.com/johnpritzlaff John Pritzlaff

    I remember Blake Lewis sang it last year and I was really pleased that he left that line in. And he didn’t get voted out, he made it to the final 2. (I hate American Idol, but I watched it last year because my mom was into it.)

  • http://blog.myspace.com/johnpritzlaff John Pritzlaff

    For anybody who’s wondering, I just watched it on youtube, and he only sung the third verse, so he left out all of the first two verses. He said that he only had time for one verse and the third one is his favorite. I don’t think we should read too much into it. All he sang was a slight variation of this:

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world

    You may say that I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will live as one

  • Alycia

    They had that “Idol Gives Back” episode last year and all the contestants sang a song that inspired them as they raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims and such. That’s when Blake sang “Imagine”. I would’ve sang “Dear God”.

  • QrazyQat

    Carrie Underwood sang Imagine during her American Idol stint, and included the “and no religion too” line. I was surprised.

  • Dan

    With all the problems posed by the concentration on wealth (in America) in a mostly religiously fundamental demographic you guys are worried about this? Seems kind of weird. Check out “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” by Chris Hedges (Notice the Christian Right part!)

  • J Myers

    The contestants aren’t able to sing the entire song due to time constraints. They have to pick verses and perform a shortened version, and he picked the third verse. If this was a strategic decision (and it’s not his fault that America is full of religious wackos who might penalize him for such blasphemy), it was certainly his to make, though it’s quite likely that someone else would have influenced such a decision (parent, friend, etc). Or, he could have actually been telling the truth, and he sang his favorite verse in the limited time he had. Imagine that!

  • Annony

    He’s Mormon. I think that’s why he left it out.

    • Nobody

      Then he shouldn’t have sung it. 

  • Maria

    I wondered about it too, though his explanation was that he didn’t have time to do all the verses and liked the last one best. He didn’t say anything about not liking any of the others. Seems unfair to be reading too much into this.

    yeah, that’s how I feel. I figured this would be an issue people would talk about. seriously-who cares? aren’t there more important things to focus on? isn’t it his choice which verses he uses? he can’t use all of them b/c he doesn’t have enough time. I just figured he picked whichever ones he liked best due to the time constraint and figured that’s his personal decision and decided to enjoy the show and the song and not get hung up on it.


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