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American Idol Special on Gospel Music Channel Thurs. April 23 at 7:00pm ET

by Staff
April 21, 2009
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ATLANTA, ( -- The impact of the "American Idol" television series on the explosion in popularity of Christian/Gospel music, and vice versa, will be explored in a new documentary special, "From Idol to Inspiration," world premiering on Thursday, April 23 at 7:00 p.m. ET on the Gospel Music Channel (GMC) Television Network. Gospel Music Channel's exclusive telecast of the 40th Annual Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Awards follows at 8:00 p.m. live from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, TN.

"From Idol to Inspiration" is a production of David Lewis Productions ( and directed by veteran documentarian David Lewis, whose other work has been for news outlets such as CNN, ABC News, Fox News and CNBC, and programs such as 60 Minutes, Frontline and 20/20. Lewis is producing this special report under the banner of Gospel Music Channel's news program, Gospel Music Channel Insider, representing the network's first full-length special report.

"American Idol®" is exposing the world to Gospel/Christian performers like never before. From the very beginning of "American Idol®," singers from gospel/Christian music backgrounds have flourished on the show, as have performers who proudly profess their faith. Winners Ruben Studdard, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia and Jordin Sparks and finalists Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry, George Huff, Chris Sligh, Phil Stacey, Melinda Doolittle and Mandisa are all examples of this trend. Many have gone on to sign with Gospel/Christian divisions of major record labels and are seen regularly on GMC, and will also be seen in The Dove Awards telecast following "From Idol to Inspiration."

"American Idol®" finalists telling their story in "From Idol to Inspiration" include Chris Sligh, Phil Stacey, Melinda Doolittle and Mandisa, as well as journalists who cover the program, Brian Mansfield of USA Today and Gil Kaufman of MTV News. There have been many Christians on the series and this season's "American Idol®" features three worship leaders in the finalists group. "From Idol to Inspiration" will tell the story of one of those finalists, worship leader Danny Gokey, whose wife, Sophia, died a few weeks before his "American Idol" audition.

"From Idol to Inspiration" select quotes:
"I think if Jesus saw me on American Idol he would vote for me! I don't believe that I would have been there if it wasn't for the hand of God. I just think that God saw the opportunity to use people on a television show that's the biggest television show in the history of the world. I believe that He wanted to use me there." - Phil Stacey

"I said, 'Simon a lot of people want me to say a lot of things to you right now. But what I want you to know is that I forgive you. The reason I can forgive you is that Jesus Christ died so that all of my wrongs could be forgiven. I can certainly extend that same grace to you.' And then something extraordinary happened. His jaw dropped, he kept looking around to see what was going on, because that's not what he was expecting and he got up, he gave me a big hug, he apologized and my relationship with him has been amazing ever since." - Mandisa on Simon Cowell

"God has full control over everything and things happen for a reason so I lived that very much so during American Idol...just knowing, 'okay, if I'm here another week, there's got to be a reason because I am scared out of my mind!' I hope Jesus was dancing when I was singing on American Idol." - Melinda Doolittle

"From Idol to Inspiration" encores on GMC April 24, 26, 27, 30, May 2, 3; check for show times. Gospel Music Channel is the fastest-growing network in television and can be seen in 45 million homes on various cable systems around the country, on DIRECTV on channel 338 and on Verizon FiOS on channel 224.

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