(Photo: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)
Despite warnings to tone down his faith, "American Idol" Top 10 contestant Colton Dixon says he will continue speaking out about his Christian beliefs.
The 20-year-old singer from Murfreesboro, Tenn., revealed to TODAY.com that producers from the hit reality show told him that religious and political tweets and posts on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter could alienate some viewers and potentially cost him some votes.
"When we first started the Twitter and Facebook stuff, they said beware of political and religious tweets," he shared. "Just because it can turn off voters or whatever. But ... being a Christian is who I am. It is a part of me musically. It is what I want to do after the show – go into Christian music."
Though he said that the producers had a "mutual respect" for his faith, Dixon revealed that he would not hide his faith or stray away from it just because it could cost him the crown or because he was on the show.
"I wake up and I do devotional every morning," the contestant also shared. "It reminds me why I am here, which is to share the love of God. I know there are several other contestants who can say the exact same thing."
"It is a part of me and I want to share it – no matter what, good or bad outcome. It is me."
Dixon originally auditioned with his sister Schyler at the Nashville auditions during the tenth season early last year. They both, however, were not chosen to be in the Top 24.
After he was sent home, he was invited to perform on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in March 2011.
Though he was not intending to audition for the eleventh season currently airing, merely accompanying his sister to the tryout, he was asked by the judges to sing, winning a golden ticket as a result for his performance of David Cook's "Permanent."
He advanced to the Top 25 in February, though his sister was cut during the Las Vegas round, and became one of the top five male audience favorites, securing a spot in the Top 12.
On Wednesday, Dixon sang White Lion's "Broken Heart" despite being advised by his personal Idol Chris Daughtry to choose songs that people knew.
Though Idol judge Jennifer Lopez enjoyed the performance, commenting that he looked pretty when he sang, Steven Tyler felt that it was the wrong song for his voice and his passion.
Despite the mixed reactions, Dixon was declared safe on Thursday, placing him in the Top 10.
During Wednesday's performance, he wore bracelets given to him by Raising Kain Apparel containing a Scripture reference to Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you ... plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Recently Dixon posted a Bible verse from Proverbs on his Facebook: "[Trust] in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your [own] understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will keep your paths straight."
Though some criticized him for using the show as a platform to preach, others were encouraged by his faith and commented that they would be praying for him.
"I respect you even more for not letting people's criticism change nor hide what you believe in and what you stand for!" Alexann Sharp wrote. "Thanks for standing up for Christ!!! You won my votes."
Chavvah Frick also shared, "Oh Colton keep carrying the Light into a dark world! God has placed you in this position for a reason! I really admire the stand you have been taking! Keep strong and let God be your strength when you are weak! I am praying (and voting) for you!"
Dixon tweeted on Thursday in response to some negative comments, "Idol is more than a singing competition. It's a chance to share who you are. I just happen to love God."
Many fans are dubbing him to be the next Tim Tebow for "American Idol."
"I don't follow tebow, I follow a guy named Jesus. I'm just trusting in His plans. Whatever that may be."