[Fox News] Former ‘American Idol’ star tries to pinpoint why so many contestants are now Christian artists

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EXCLUSIVE: “American Idol” fans may have noticed a trend over the years – several former contestants are now established Christian artists. Former finalist Danny Gokey, who finds himself in that category, supposed it was no accident.

Singers like Colton Dixon, Kris Allen, Phil Stacey, Mandisa, Melinda Doolittle, Jordin Sparks and Lauren Daigle are just a few of the “American Idol” alumni who have produced Christian music following their stints on the reality singing competition.

And while Carrie Underwood is a wildly popular country singer, she has also spoken at length about her faith in God and released a Christian record in 2021 entitled “My Savior.” 

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Contestants also wore their faith on their sleeves for millions of viewers on the last season of “Idol.”

Megan Danielle, 21, a waitress from Georgia, chose to sing Vince Gill’s spiritual song, “Go Rest High on That Mountain,” an homage to her late grandfather. Judge Luke Bryan was among those moved by her performance and her bold commitment to her faith.

“What I love about you — I mean, we’re way beyond loving your voice, is you’re — you know, you’re never scared to tell everybody your faith,” Bryan said.

Danny Gokey and his unique husky voice got him to third place on the eighth season of “Idol,” behind Adam Lambert, now the frontman for Queen + Adam Lambert, and winner Kris Allen. Now he’s a popular Christian singer who boldly shares his belief system on social media, often posting about his faith walk with his wife Leyicet and their four children.

For him, he said the transition to the Christian music industry was a no-brainer.

“Following Jesus is my No. 1 priority in life,” Gokey told Fox News Digital.

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While he said he did a stint after the show in which he got signed by a country record, it was “still so faith-based, because that’s who I am.”

“To this day, I now do Christian music full time, and it’s still the same DNA,” he continued. “It probably wouldn’t have mattered what kind of music I did. I think the DNA of hope and belief in God is intrinsically in my DNA and in my music.”

He wasn’t surprised that so many of his fellow “American Idol” graduates are now faith-based singers.

“I don’t think you can separate – the Bible makes it clear when you are in Christ, you’re a new creation,” he said. “You take the nature of God. That nature has to flow through everything you do… a lot of these people who made the show were raised in church, sang in church, and who’ve put faith in Christ Jesus.”

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“But ‘American Idol,’ I think there’s just such an influence that churches had,” he continued. “Music is a huge part of church. That’s where I got my start, that’s where many people got their start. So they’re always going back to their roots.”

Gokey also observed there are pop groups out there who are believers, but their message may be a bit more subtle.

“You’ll notice it in their music,” he said. “You’ll notice they don’t show – they’re not necessarily hitting people over the head with the message, but it’s in there.”

Christian music has played an outsized role in Gokey’s life, having helped him through tragedy over the years. Gokey has been candid about losing his first wife, Sophia, to a congenital heart condition. He founded the Sophia’s Heart Foundation in her memory in 2008.

“Music was a thing that kept building faith in me, building hope in me, building encouragement in me,” he said. 

His new nonprofit, Better Than I Found It, Gokey explained, endeavors to find and empower “people who are doing big things.” As such, they’ve given away cars, buses and cargo vans, have redone kitchens for organizations that are feeding the homeless and trafficking victims, opened clothing closets, renovated coffee shops, and more. 

“We’re not here just to live for ourselves and build our own kingdoms, but we’re here to build people,” he said of his passion project. “People are valuable to God.”

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