Recap: Gospel Dream 2009 Episode 1

Last night the Gospel Music Channel aired episode 1 of the 2009 Gospel Dream competition. The show featured 3 judges (Michelle Williams, J. Moss, Mitchell Solarek) and 2 co-hosts (Kimberly Locke, Mike Kasem). After a nationwide search, 37 contestants were given a chance to audition for the judges. After watching the show, I left with the following observations:

Where Was the Talent?
I know that TV editing can be a little misleading at times. However,  I was a little disappointed in with the overall pool of talent. If this was the best 37 singers they could find, I am scared to think what everyone else who auditioned sounded like.

Maybe my expectations were a little too high. I expected to hear at least a dozen outstanding singers. I ended up getting a little less than that.

It’s All About the Song
Every time I watch a singing competition on TV I am always left asking myself if the people auditioning have ever watched the show in the past. I wonder if they have ever seen any singing competition on TV before. How many times do we hear judges talk about the importance of song selection. After a couple of seasons of American Idol, Sunday Best, Gospel Dream and any other show you could name, you think people would get it by now.

Well, apparently they still aren’t getting it. The Gospel Dream premiere definitely had its share of bad song choices. There was even one contestant who auditioned the song “Everything That the Devil Stole.” That is a fine song¬† for a choir competition(maybe), not a solo audition. This contestant’s audition consisted of her ad libbing while a track of the choir sung the background vocals.

Michelle Williams vs. The Christian Music Industry
Everything in me wanted Michelle Williams to be an amazing Christian artist. I don’t know why, I just did. Unfortunately, Christian/gospel music fans never embraced her. Yesterday, I got a little more insight as to why some christian music fans haven’t embraced her.

A friend of mine pointed out that Michelle Williams recently made an appearance as a guest judge on a show called RuPaul’s Drag Race. This is basically a show to see who is the best drag queen in America. Once I heard this, I understood the problem many people have with Michelle Williams.

On one hand she is making a guest appearance on a show about drag queens. On the other hand she is a judge on a show that is looking for the next gospel/Christian music superstar. Do you think Kirk Franklin, Michael W. Smith, Toby Mac or Donnie McClurkin would ever appear on a show about drag queens as a judge? Call me crazy, but I don’t think most Christians are ready to embrace drag queens and that whole culture.

I think there are a number of people who have always questioned Michelle’s commitment to God. For the record, I am NOT one of those people. I try to live my live by Matthew 7:1-6. When referring to Michelle, I often hear people make the comment “either be in or be out.” Whenever we have questions about someone’s walk with the Lord, the best thing any of us can do is pray and let God deal with it.

Future Episodes
Overall, the show peaked my interest and I’ll continue to watch it until the end. I’m sure in the end we ‘ll get to see an number of new artists emerge.

Did you see the show? What where your thoughts?

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  • Elijah

    I didn’t think there was a big difference between American Idol
    and Gospel Dream. You would think that when you watch Gospel Dream
    it would be different than Idol,but it isn’t really.

    I didn’t appreciate how they made fun of some of the contestants.
    Like that guy who had a long intro, they should of at least let him sing.

    And that other guy who they rewound his voice to make fun of his song. It looked to me like he felt bad.

    And that comment that that one lady judge said about the shoes.
    “I had nothing else nice to say.”

    I wish Gospel Dream would have different than American Idol
    but it wasn’t much different, and im dissapointed with that.

  • Deborah

    Instead of Gospel Dream it should be Gospel Joke. J.Moss has a paternity suit against him. You mentioned Michelle Williams. Is this really the most spiritual people they could get to judge Christian singers? The show is such a big disappointment from previous years. My daughter Britney O’Bannon was one of the contestants. She went there believing that they were looking for talent plus anointing as in 2008. She is a very spiritual person who poured her heart out testifying about what God had done for her, bringing her out of a deep depression last year. I believe they held her testimony against her. THEY DID NOT PLAY ONE SINGLE NOTE OF HER SINGING!! Britney is an awesome singer, (You can hear her on Youtube and judge for yourself). Instead, they brushed her off without an explaination of why, as if she did bad on her audition. Her husband and I heard her audition. It was great. I believe that is why they did not show it. Britney is anointed and serious about singing for the glory of God. I don’t think that had any bearing on what the judges were looking for. How can you judge this type of show if you are ashamed of the Gospel? What is so bad about telling how God has delivered you of something? Just like everything else, it is solely about MONEY, MONEY, MONEY. At every audition they prompted her to sing Pop as if they were looking for a Pop star. I am so proud of Britney for allowing Jesus to shine through her, even if it cost her the audition. At the end of the day who are you going to please; God or man? She chose Jesus.

  • Deborah

    …and another thing. I was at the Nashville auditions with Britney and they were so mean to some of the contestants. They complimented Britney but others came out crying, telling some of the comments they said to them. There was nothing Christian about it. They failed to show on the episode how rude and ugly the judges were to some of the contestants. J Moss told one young man that the only thing that stood out about him was that green shirt he had on. And that was mild compared to other comments they made to some of those young people. It is not suppose to be like American Idol. Why copy American Idol? We don’t have to copy secular shows to be successful. Christian people want something they can watch that uplifts people, not put them down.

  • Cliff

    Other singing competitions copy American Idol, because that show has a formula that is extremely successful. It would have been nice if the Gospel Dream producers did not have to resort to copying, but that is often how it goes in entertainment.

    When networks create Christian singing competitions, they are not looking to see who will be the best minister. They are looking for the best Christian entertainer. The anointing of God doesn’t usually come into play. They are often looking for someone who is marketable and who has a great story that they can use on TV.

    Deborah…I checked out Brittney’s videos on YouTube. It seems that she has a wonderful ministry. If it is God’s desire for her to increase her ministry to a larger audience, it will happen and there isn’t anything anyone could do to stop that from happening.

  • Marko

    I agree as far as Michelle being a judge. She is a secular artist I don’t even get where she fits in Gospel Dream. Also, yes you forget that this is even a Gospel show- with all the inspirational songs and no reference to Jesus. I mean I noticed that in certain Gospel music today. Not putting Jesus’ name in songs. It makes no sense especially if you are considered a GOSPEL artist. Why not let go and Give the praise to GOD. Did you see when Michelle was talking about one of the contestants voice? Wow she needed to stop right there!

    2nd episode was a joke! YES! its reality TV. So what they do is cut and edit. For example, did you notice they never showed Ashley singing in her vocal session BUT made sure they showed all her mess ups in the commercial? And another example, they showed Erin’s mess ups in the commercial but never showed her in the photo shoot. Why is that? I don’t even remember her audition in the first episode.

    They never showed her singing. Point is: this is reality TV so they cut so much and put what will make the show interesting. You would think since this is Gospel: you wouldn’t see this stuff BUT its everywhere in the industry.

  • DLS

    The judges were the biggest combination of boorish behavior and puffed up platitudes I have ever seen. How unbelievably annoying. They acted like gospel music is just another product line – comments about clothing, “looks” and other irrelevant things.The constant berating of contestants without a single word of real Chrsit like encouragement. No mention of the need to focus on the point of gospel music. Why has gospel musis become obsessed with copying secular music, instead of standing on its on and proclaiming the name of Jesus without apology.

    Oh The Blood!!! Not on this show.


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