Will the Evangelical Vote Decide the American Idol Winner?

I haven’t been watching American Idol this season, which I think puts me in another minority group.

But with the finale coming up tonight, it’s interesting to point out that the two people in the finals are a gay rocker (Adam Lambert) and an Evangelical Christian worship leader (Kris Allen). They get along amazingly well in interviews and press conferences, and there’s no sense of any tension (other than from sheer competition).

According to host Ryan Seacrest, 88,000,000 votes were cast in the previous round and Adam and Kris were separated by only a million of them.

Relatively close.

I’m sure some people will vote for whomever they think is the better singer… but there will be plenty of fans who will vote for one guy or the other because of what they represent.

Which is why it’s intriguing to note that the third place finisher was Danny Gokey — another Evangelical Christian worship leader.

How will Danny’s fans vote? Will they go for Adam because he’s (from what I hear) the better singer? Or will they support Kris solely because of the “Christian thing”?

Hell, forget the Christian bond. Will they vote for Kris simply because of their homophobia?

Danny’s pastor has already Twittered his thoughts:

Everyone who voted for @dannygokey should vote for Kris Allen! We need a believer to represent! Kris is an awesome young man from a great ministry!

I’m not knocking the pastor — his support makes sense. If there was a talented, openly atheistic contestant in the finale, I’d be picking up the phone, too.

But if Kris wins despite his current underdog status, the evangelical vote may have tipped the scales in yet another election.

(Thanks to SarahH for the link!)

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  • http://www.jimloomis.deviantart.com Jimmy

    Please excuse my ignorance, but what’s with the “@” before names? I see it all the time from my Christian pals, but I’m afraid to ask about it for fear of being “offered Christianity”.

    Anyone looking to clear it up for me?

  • http://jedipunk.newsvine.com jedipunk

    The evangelical will win and the next day the media will release pictures of the winner in compromising positions.

  • Chal

    The @ symbol is a Twitter thing, I think.

    BTW that tweet contains my favourite logical fallacy. XD

  • Tom

    To vote for any candidate because they are gay, christian, or atheist would be wrong. It’s a talent contest, vote for them based on their talent.

    Of course, if EvangelistGuy is going around being a bigot, it’d be sensible to vote against him for that, because it would indicate that he doesn’t have the personal skills to do the job (being a pop star) without going out of his way to offend the audience.

  • billybee

    Kris is a worship leader…?

    (I knew there was SOMEthing about that guy that was gaining him votes. It’s the Jebus factor.)

    Now I REALLY want Adam to win. Pretty shallow of me, but hey…it’s just a stupid tv show.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    They are both good singers. It is hard to compare them because they have different styles. I do think Adam is a bit better. He takes more risks with song arrangements.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Apparently, it was the third-place finisher’s Evangelical Christian fan base who were the main homophobes according to the various message boards associated with AI. We will find out tonight how things panned out with yesterday’s voting.

  • Larry Huffman

    I only watch the audition episodes of American Idol, because once they all get serious, it just is not my kind of music. But, it is a popularity contest, no question. According to the people I know who do watch the show, there have been many times where the best singer of the bunch is sent home early, simply because they are not popular for one reason or anther. So that means it comes down to which group is going to spend the money to make the vote calls. That simple.

    Of course, just knowing that the winner is going to be decided by a popularity vote and not by people that know or even care if they are the best musical talent in the contest, who cares? Let the evangelicals have their winner. The person will record a couple of mediocre albums and disappear and one day be on some VH1 reality show. In the meantime, there is a band playing in a garage somewhere that will hit it big without the hype, and people will still be playing their music in 50 years.

  • SarahH

    I don’t think that Kris would be (or will be) terribly happy to find out about that tweet from Danny’s pastor. I’ve gotten the strong impression that his attitude regarding his faith is extremely different from Danny’s.

    I’ll be happy if either of them win, but I want Danny and his ilk out of the spotlight asap, please. He had a very nice voice, but that’s seemed be the only nice thing about him, IMO.

  • schism

    I sincerely doubt that American Idol posts legitimate vote tallies. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if the producers of the show have been trumping up the “gay vs. Christian” angle just to fluff up their ratings.

  • Badger3k

    This is the first I’ve heard of this angle, but then I haven’t been following it religiously (har har). After they dumped Alison for Danny (after the hideous rendition of aerosmith), I stopped caring. This year just didn’t impress me.

    For me, I lost a lot of interest when I found out that the people who get on TV have been through 4 or 5 auditions, so the ones who can’t sing get the impression that they can (then they get hit by the judges for it, after making it though all the auditions thinking they can sing). It just seems pointlessly cruel.

  • Jeremy

    Am I the only person left who has never seen even a quarter of an episode of American Idol?

  • Vincent

    no, I haven’t either. Seen odd performance clips here and there on the web.

    BTW that tweet contains my favourite logical fallacy. XD

    Which one? I count at least 3.

    We need a believer to represent!

    So is he saying the other guy is not a believer? maybe there IS an atheist contestant.

  • Rosa

    The news is all over this Most of the past winners have been vocal about their Christianity keep in my mind the fan base of the show. Sure it is really broad ranging from midwestern housewives, to New York gays to 9 year old girls. The show is a reasonable barometer of social sentiment and this year our culture wars are playing out pretty clearly on Idol. Who would have thought?!

  • SarahH

    For me, I lost a lot of interest when I found out that the people who get on TV have been through 4 or 5 auditions, so the ones who can’t sing get the impression that they can (then they get hit by the judges for it, after making it though all the auditions thinking they can sing). It just seems pointlessly cruel.

    Yeah, but so long as these people are legally responsible adults, I think it’s on them. They’ve seen the show – most of them are fanatics about it – and they know this is a possibility. It was either this season or last that there was a sweet girl who gained a sudden self-awareness while the judges started tearing her apart, and asked, “Oh my god, I’m one of the bad auditions, aren’t I!?”

  • Tim Stroud

    i’ve never watched that show.

  • Kat

    I believe that Adam is Jewish (of course I don’t know if he’s religious or not).

    I’m curious now, has there ever been a non-Christian Idol? Would he be the first?

  • Vincent

    oh, doesn’t believe in the Jesus Trinity thing. Okay. I have gotten so used to thinking in terms of atheists and theists. Guess I should check that.

  • http://mylongapostasy.blogspot.com ATL-Apostate

    The homosexual guy screams a lot when he sings. It’s a bit unnerving. I shall continue to register my apathy by not voting. My wife loves the show, so I catch bits and pieces by proxy.

  • http://jewmanist.com Rose

    My mom is a huge fan. I don’t give a crap about it. But its better to talk about Idol than politics with her…

    She love love loves Danny Gokey and it had absolutely nothing to do with his Evangelical nature. But she’s one of those reform Jew enablers of the evangelical bs. In any case, she can’t stand Kris at all and hopes Adam wins if anyone but doesn’t care as much anymore because her guy got booted off. btw, Adam is a way better singer IMHO and puts on one hell of a show (the one time I watched it with her when I was in town visiting).

  • jcar

    Wow you nailed it.

  • jemand

    I used this analysis and looked really smart tonight 😉

    Thanks Hemant!

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    I think the answer to the question posted by Hemant is “YES”.

    I felt a little sorry for Kris at the end of the show. He will have to spend all of next year living with the knowledge that the other guy probably should have won. I’m sure Adam will do fine, though.

  • magdalune

    To clarify, Hemant:

    Adam has not revealed his sexuality to the public. He may be gay; he may be bisexual; he may be a heterosexual man who likes to play dress up, have fun with other guys, and who is unusually secure in his masculinity.

    Since he has not divulged (nor should he if he doesn’t want to), I’m compelled to ask you not to assume anything.

    … In other news, I’m a total Adam Lambert fan.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    To clarify, Hemant:

    Adam has not revealed his sexuality to the public. He may be gay; he may be bisexual; he may be a heterosexual who likes to play dress up, have fun with other guys, and who is unusually secure in his masculinity.

    Since he has not divulged (nor should he if he doesn’t want to), I’m compelled to ask you not to assume anything.

    I didn’t mean to assume. I was told he was gay and the articles I read didn’t seem to contradict that…

  • Maria

    it’s a travesty that he lost. he was clearly the better singer. I’m sure he’ll do well though

  • magdalune

    Just to clarify, I wasn’t being snippy. I like doing this kind of thing, breaking assumptions about sexuality and gender. :)

  • J Myers
    BTW that tweet contains my favourite logical fallacy.

    Which one? I count at least 3.

    And yet, there are none; three assertions, no reasoning –> no logical fallacies.

  • Kris

    Having exactly the same name as one of them, I really hope he doesn’t win. I’ll never hear the end of it!

  • http://www.TrickyBuddha.com bobisimo

    I didn’t care who won between the two of them. I didn’t particularly like either one.

    That said, to all the Adam fans: tell me what he’s going to do next before you tell me he deserved to win. Kris is the more bankable performer. If this was 30 years ago and Adam was trying out for Dokken, then he would deserve to win. But this is 2009 and there already are guys like Kris Allen successfully filling the air waves, and the singers like Adam have gone the way of the dinosaur. I’ll grant you that Adam had a more powerful voice, but his screaming was awful. Even Slash told him to stop screaming, and he lived the glam rock scene.

    It would be sad if Adam lost BECAUSE people assumed he was gay, but in my mind he lost because Kris Allen is likely to go into the studio and record an album and probably sell a decent amount of records, while Adam is probably going to headline some more Broadway shows and kick ass in that venue.

  • http://talesofordinarygirl.blogspot.com/ Ordinary Girl

    I had no idea that Kris was an evangelical worship leader. I don’t think it ever came up in the show. I did know that Danny was because he never stopped mentioning it (although he did finally stop mentioning his dead wife).

    I was rooting for Kris, not because I didn’t like Adam, but because I liked Kris’ voice more. I thought that AI would do a horrible job managing Adam’s career. He needs to be able to do what he wants without those crappy songs they write.

    So from an atheist point of view I’m fine with the results. Religion doesn’t bother me if it’s not shoved in my face. As I heard once from PZ, once religion becomes like a knitting club, something people do as a social exercise without trying to make others assimilate, it’s not an issue. Maybe Kris is super religious, but I didn’t get the impression that he was pushy about his religion. I don’t even remember him ever claiming his success was due to his god, which contestants due ad nauseam on the show.

    Plus there wasn’t any Hillsong this year.

  • dave

    When has a evangelical Christian ever been voted american idol? Most declaring Christians have been voted off unless they are quiet about it.You guys are very biased as your not supose to be. I would have voted for Adam if I was american yet I am a Christian.Personally I think Danny should have been runner up instead of Kris.Did he get voted off because he was a Christian? I have seen many voted off because of their belief in Christ? They just seem too nice like Mandissa and that other black guy who was a music teacher.Sorry I can’t remember his name-it was to long ago