When I watched American Idol last night, I was excited to hear Nathaniel Marshall. Even though the judges spent quite a long time evaluating him and giving feedback, they weren't very positive about either his song or his delivery. The talk centered around it being "karaoke-like", and they likened him to Boy George, Olivia Newton-John, and he was singing a song by Meatloaf. According to Simon, only a minority would like Nathaniel's performance, so I guess I'm in the minority. I loved it! I voted for him, and if he gets to continue he can make an impact on the show - a good one!
Brian Mansfield of "Idol Chatter," (blog on USA TODAY) picked up on the dichotomy of Nathaniels' first acapella performance of, "The Anchor Holds," and he has written about it. Mansfield draws attention to the fact that Nathaniel might very well be saying to the AI world, "I'm gay and I'm a Christian,"...
Nathaniel first grabbed my attention during Hollywood week when he sang his a cappella version of a song called The Anchor Holds by Ray Boltz.
You don’t go an American Idol and choose a 15-year-old song by a relatively little-known Christian singer song by default. You make a conscious decision to go off-list and get special clearance so you can perform a song that very few people will know. But those who do know it likely will interpret it as a very strong statement.
For those who don’t know, Boltz is a Christian singer most popular during the '80s and '90s. He retired from performing several years ago, around the time he told his family about his homosexuality. He came out publicly last September in an interview with The Washington Blade and currently performs in Metropolitan Community Churches.
So if you go on national television and announce that you’re singing a Ray Boltz song, you’re sending a clear message.
It’s a risky move to introduce yourself to a national, mainstream, television-watching audience by saying, ‘I’m a Christian’ and then hope for their acceptance. It’s similarly risky for the first thing you say to that audience to be, ‘I’m gay’ (which according to some of the personal profiles that existed before Idol, Nathaniel is). But it’s a matter of an exponentially different magnitude to combine those two things and say, ‘I’m gay, and I’m a Christian,’ even obliquely. That takes some guts.
What a great kid! One who will put his voice and his persona front and center to the public. Knowing that people will judge not only his voice and what he chooses to wear, but every nuance of what they see of his character. I think this young man is wonderful! I'd be proud of him if he was part of my family - and I congratulate him for all that he's already done on American Idol.
Today the reviews are showing up and they don't look like Nathaniel is faring well. He is going against the flow for most of the AI audience, but I definitely loved his performance. His voice is great to listen to, I LIKE the young man, and he was entertaining. I hope he can continue to entertain us in the weeks to come on American Idol.
update...In case you missed the last nights' performance, here's the link to it: http://famewatcher.com/2009/03/video-nathaniel-marshall-i-would-do.html