There’s a lot not to like about American Idol. It’s hyped incessantly, it’s over-commercialized, it takes a little too much delight in tearing people down and it promotes levels of well, idolatry, that aren’t God-honoring. But look past all that (it helps to record it and then watch it later — you can zip through all the junk and watch the singing and the judges’ comments) and you’ll find the reason we watch: you can see people’s lives change.
David is the latest example. Cook, not Archuletta, that is. The guy was incredible tonight. Watching and listening, there was no doubt — the song would be a hit if he released it today. He’s got a ton of talent and he seems relatively humble. But here’s the thing: as the judges praised him tonight, and rightly so, you could see the realization hit him that he is living his dream. He’s been playing rinky-dink bars for years and now he’s on the biggest stage imaginable. All he wants to do is make music and he’ s not only doing it, he’s blowing the doors off the place. He actually had tears in his eyes after the judges spoke. He looked humbled, awed, thankful. His life won’t ever be the same. Don’t be surprised if he wins the whole thing, and even if he doesn’t, he’s going to sell albums. Lots of them.
It’s along the same lines as Paul Potts, the British cell-phone salesman with the chipped tooth who sang with the voice of an opera legend on a talent show. The audience couldn’t believe it. Neither could he. In those few moments, his life track took a dramatic turn. And we got to see it.
I have no idea of the spiritual state of either of these guys. They’re probably not Christians. But whether they acknowledge Him or not, it’s a remarkable thing to have a front row seat to watch their God-given talents explode into full flower.