This part perplexes me: Given an "inspiration music" theme, "American Idol" contestants choose songs that are only borderline inspiring, at best. Most ignore the hugely inspirational world of gospel and religion.
On Tuesday, even Michael Lynche -- who could have done wonders with any gospel powerhouse -- went mild. Casey James went ultra-bland with "Don't Stop" and almost lost.
And Tim Urban? The surprise is that this guy has deep religious roots, yet chose the mild "Better Days." It drew shrugs and he was eliminated. Afterward -- when it was too late -- he talked about his love of religion and life. Here's the story I sent to papers:
By MIKE HUGHES
A year ago, Tim Urban would have just
been part of the “American Idol” crowd.
That was the year three guys in the top
10 – Michael Sarver, Danny Gokey and winner Kris Allen – had been
church music leaders. This time, however, Urban's religious roots
made him stand out.
“I grew up in a Christian home and
that … has shaped my music,” he told reporters today, the day
after being ousted, finishing seventh.
That influence runs deep. Urban was
home-schooled … says he has never touched alcohol … sang on the
Christian-music circuit in Dallas … and spent 10 days as a
relief-worker in South Africa and Swaziland. “That was a really
amazing and gut-wrenching experience,” he said. “That's why I was
excited about 'Idol Gives Back.'”
He said he got so involved Wednesday –
listening to inspirational songs and watching films about relief work
– that he didn't really worry about being ousted. “It was such an
awesome show, you almost … lost sight of the fact that it was a
Then he learned he had the lowest
number of viewer votes. He smiled – just as he had done when judges
criticized him fiercely. That's not a nervous smile, he said, it's a
happy one. “I have a really strong grounding and I know that my
family supports me.”
It's a big family in Duncanville, which
is alongside Arlington, between Dallas and Fort Worth. Urban is the
sixth of 10 kids, with the lower-key approach attributed to middle
Religion has dominated. The swimsuit
photos that surfaced on the Internet (revealing a torso worthy of
soap operas), were taken at a competition held by a group called
Actors, Models & Talent for Christ.
This combination – a large,
photogenic family with big smiles and great hair – has brought
suggestions of a new Osmond Family. That would be fine with Urban,
who says his siblings have lots of musical talent. “I don't know if
that's what they want to do for the rest of their lives.”
But it's definitely what he wants.
Criticism and all, he said, he loved his “Idol” run. “It's been
a really cool time.”