Following the March 29 elimination of finalist Heejun Han, American Idol 2012 is down to just eight contestants vying for the coveted title. Still in the mix is mild-mannered, zany haired rocker Colton Dixon, whose dedication to Christianity and to God recently attracted the notice of a true giant in the Christian music world.
The mega popular Steven Curtis Chapman, whose career has spanned more than 20 years, tweeted his approval of the young hopefulÂ—and the dismissed HeejunÂ—following Thursday's results show. "Just gotta say how proud I am of how Colton Dixon is handling his American Idol spotlight..Soli Deo Gloria my brother! (you to Heejun)"
The praise will no doubt come as a pleasant surprise to the humble Colton, whose emotional performances during his Idol tenure have earned a mix of praise and scorn from the show's personnel. Although judges Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson, and Steven Tyler appreciated his rendition of the Lifehouse song "Everything" on Wednesday, industry insider Jimmy Iovine criticized him for showing too much emotion.
But as Steven and others have rightly noted, Colton's vulnerability on stage and dedication to his beliefs are part of his appeal. He's not afraid to be himself, and he's not trying to fit into a carefully constructed "Colton should be like this" box. He stands up for what he believes to be true and is the real deal in an entertainment industry that seems to pride itself on stifling and controlling emotion. So far, America seems to approve of what he brings to the stage.
Tune in to next week's edition of American Idol 2012 to see how Colton Dixon and the rest of the top 8 fare with music from the '80s.