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'American Idol's' Christian connection

from The Los Angeles Times

Ties to churches -- especially of the evangelical or Pentecostal variety -- are a common denominator for many contestants on America's No. 1 show. With many contestants having honed their vocal skills at black churches and suburban megachurches, "American Idol" has been embraced by Christian communities across the nation. Congregations have launched enthusiastic viewing parties and vote drives for favorites. Perhaps more important, the contestants' church training has deeply influenced the songs and musical styles viewers hear on "Idol" and helped launch the careers of faith-based singers, as well as secular pop artists. The show has projected to an audience of tens of millions an image of heartland youth driven by faith and strong family values. That's an important source of appeal for a nation that according to a 2007 Pew Research Center survey identifies itself as 78 percent Christian. more

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