Oh, Lordy: Did Carly Smithson Get Voted Off For Blasphemy?

Apr 25th, 2008 // 12 Comments

carl.jpgFile this under “probably not surprising, but still kind of a bummer”: There are rumblings on the American Idol boards that Carly Smithson was eliminated this week because she angered the Bible Belt by singing “Superstar” from Jesus Christ Superstar, given that the song is sung by Judas and the play itself, as Tim Rice said in its program, has as its central idea “Christ seen through the eyes of Judas, with Christ as a man, not as a god.” (Wait, doesn’t this mean they should also be peevish with Andrew Lloyd Webber, who wrote the damn thing and who told Carly to switch up her song choice from something more ballady and Celine-like?) Given that Kristy Lee Cook pretty much saved her bland, off-key ass for multiple weeks thanks to goodwill from her performance of “God Bless The USA,” this theory is kinda plausible, and this americanidol.com post by FightinIRISHIowan would further bear it out:

There are a LOT of people with their panties in a bunch over her song choice. I have been trying to defend her everytime I see one, but it’s like hitting off a bunch of flies….flies that bite!

One even had the notion that Carly was not a christian because she didn’t talk about praying like the “other christian contestants did on their bio page”. I am so sick of idiots…..

I could also say that it’s kind of convenient for these viewers to get all het up about the interpretation of lyrics by singers they don’t like, but be totally OK with singers who can’t really interpret their lyrics at all and need Daddy’s help to do so because said singers are button-cute. But anyway. One bright side to this whole debacle: It may provide a hint as to who’s still watching the show (aside from the always-lucrative “people who blog about it” demo), as its ratings were down again this week–total viewership took a 700,000-person hit, while its 8.2 rating/21 share among viewers ages 18-49 was its lowest tally among that demographic in years.

carly in danger with that song choice [americanidol.com]
Why Carly went home and a note to future idols. [americanidol.com]
‘Idol’ Song Choice Courts Controversy and Finds It; Singer Is Voted Off [NYT]
“American Idol” slips further in ratings [Reuters]
Webmaster’s advice for ‘Idol’: Let the bad in [Daily Herald]

  1. Ned Raggett

    It may provide a hint as to who’s still watching the show

    I’m going to get into marketing a fish symbol with IDOL written inside it. It can’t possibly fail.

  2. Thierry

    Don’t these people see any irony in worshiping…err…I mean “watching” Idol? Shouldn’t the name of the show itself be a turnoff?

  3. 92BuickLeSabre

    @Thierry: No, because it has “American” next to it, which cancels out the sinful effects of the word “Idol.”

    Carly, on the other hand, was not American, so no sin-cancellation could occur and she had to go.

    (It’s all very simple really.)

  4. Audif Jackson Winters III

    That seems like a whole lot of conjecture, and I’m not sure much creedence to put in it given that one of the “buzzing” board threads on the topic begins with the following premise:

    “There were alot of Christian voters in Carlys fan base because of her celine style voice … “

  5. Anonymous

    From an Am. id. message board “Taken out of the context of a Broadway musical, it came off kind of flippant and disrespectful.”
    Taken out of Broadway context… on Andrew Lloydd Webber night.
    Taken out of context, an old british man telling David Cook he should sing his song as if he’s trying to nail a 17 year old, sounds like American Idol supports statetory rape.

    I wish the bible belt that runs this show had a good sense of humor. Next week is Neil Diamond week and we now have no chance of seeing and immigrant sing “Coming To America.”

  6. Hamm Beerger

    Just more evidence of the imminent Mormon takeover. A Latter-day candidate for President, two of the top five on Idol, and the dancer half of the reigning Dance with the Stars champs.

    Prepare to don you magic underwear, America!

  7. Cfredl54

    If i was on AI, I would sing “Personal Jesus.”

  8. Rory B. Bellows

    I thought she was voted off because she sucked. I mean, that’s why I’m glad she’s gone.

  9. Anonymous

    As much as I’d love to throw the bible belt under the bus, I don’t really believe this theory, because I’m not sure how many of them actually have a working knowledge of the plot/concept of “Jesus Christ Superstar”. Maybe it managed to elude me for 25 years out of dumb luck (I’m not really a Broadway guy), but I don’t know that these kind of people* think this quickly. People didn’t react to (and boycott) “The Golden Compass” as individuals, they were told that there was a certain underlying message, and they responded to that message. That sort of direction takes time, and I just don’t think there was enough time for that to happen. Thus, unless the entire Midwest all has shared the same JCS vendetta for decades, and this gave them their opportunity, I’d simply say it was a flukey elimination of someone they never really liked.

    *”These people” meaning reactionary crazies, not the entirety of Christians, obviously.

  10. The Illiterate

    @StuntKockSteeev: In the few years I attended an Assembly of God church in the early 70s, JCS was actively hated and denounced by nearly everyone. As one of the youth counselors put it to me: “Jesus wasn’t a ‘Superstar’, he was the son of God.” The very idea of telling the story in the form of a “rock” musical was repellant to them (and this was at a time when the church was making a real effort to appeal to teenagers). I don’t imagine those attitudes have changed much.

  11. tubby

    that’s what i’ve been saying!


  12. saturn

    You don’t need to know the plot to be offended by the lyrics: “Jesus Christ, who are you? What have you sacrificed?” The song directly questions the legitimacy of Christ’s claims, and therefore questions the foundations of Christianity.

    When I saw her sing this, I immediately thought that she’d lose votes. Yes, it’s Broadway, but why would the fact that the theological point is being presented in a light-hearted and accessible way make it less offensive?

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