Wednesday night on American Idol Gives Back, the closing performance had the 8 remaining “Idols” performing Shout to the Lord. However, the opening lyrics were changed from “My Jesus” to “My Shepherd.” On tonight’s results show, the opening performance by the “Idols” had them singing the song with the original and correct lyrics.
Some have speculated that the re-do of the performance tonight was in response to lawyers from Hillsong raising a stink. I doubt that was the case, as song lyrics and melodies are routinely changed in the public domain, and it is customary on American Idol for songs to be given some “artistic adjustment.” Furthermore, who was damaged in this particular instance. Hard to see how the copyright holder was. There was nothing defamatory about the version sung on Wednesday night. And the producers of American Idol would have a reasonable defense that Jesus referred to Himself as “The Good Shepherd.”
I think the performance of Shout to the Lord tonight as probably a bit of commercial genius, that will be a winner for all involved. For any who watched tonight, you might recall that Ryan Seacreast was encouraging viewers to download Idol performances at iTunes. Proceeds from those downloads benefit American Idol Gives Back. He then said something to the effect of “this performance could also be downloaded.” He then threw to the “Idols” singing the song, with its original lyrics…with the song beginning “My Jesus.”
The performance was a good one. And somewhat of a surprise in such a secular venue. My hunch is that there will be LOTS of downloads of this song from tonight’s show. American Idol Gives Back will realize more money for their relief efforts here in North America and in Africa. And perhaps most importantly, and most unexpectedly, the name of Jesus was proclaimed on national television on one of America’s highest rated programs.