It was all sunshine and smiles last night on American Idol, maybe not so much for the judges who witnessed the many, many lemons of Los Angeles, except for two quirky and sweet brothers from the Redlands.
Holding up two tickets to Hollywood, Aaron, 27, and Mark Gutierrez, 28, gleefully ran out of the audition room that much closer to becoming the next idol or idols, in this case – but not the blacklisted Bible kind.
The extroverts grew up singing in church “from the womb” and are better known for being members of the GB5, a Christian harmony group recognized for their Latin Gospel praise. Alongside their three other siblings, the brothers fuse their music with jazz, Latin-soul, and a little bit of R&B.
It was no wonder they decided to sing their own soulful rendition of Bill Wither’s 1972 classic “Lean on Me” in harmony, to which Steven Tyler praised, “It was godlike the way you guys sing.”
Godlike and idol-worthy – there seems to be an almost sinful pattern emerging here … but don’t worry. These brothers seem to be well grounded in their faith.
“It’s all about God and not about you,” Aaron shared in an interview with FOX. “That just taught me to stay humble no matter what.”
Believing that God had taken their brotherly talents and formed them into hearts of worship and praise, Aaron quotes Joshua 24:15 on their official website, stating “‘Choose you this day whom you will serve … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’ – this has been our commitment from the very beginning.”
The faithful and fashionable duo is hoping to continue to woo America with their God-given talent and funky charm.
Aaron is currently a shoe salesman while not on tour with GB5, while Mark is a substitute teacher and self-declared math nerd – he’s on his way towards an MA in Mathematics.
The Gutierrez brothers are not the only believers that American Idol has witnessed on its sets. In fact, a long lineup of Christians, from worship leaders to avid churchgoers, have graced and continue to take the famous stage.
During Idol’s eighth season, three worship leaders made the top six: the season’s winner, Kris Allen from New Life Church in Arkansas; Danny Gokey of Faith Builders International Ministry, Wis.; and Michael Sarver from Harvest Church, Texas.
Felicia Barton of the same season led worship at Freedom Fellowship in Virginia, while Scott MacIntyre regularly performed at his home church in Arizona.
Several finalists across multiple seasons have also gone on to release Gospel music albums, like Ruben Studdard, season two’s winner, George Huff, RJ Helton, Mandisa, and Chris Sligh.
The more popular and notable “Christian” idols, Jordin Sparks, Chris Daughtry, and Carrie Underwood, all had their vocal start in church or openly profess their faith through their music.
In addition to the overwhelming numbers of Christian artists on the hit show, Journalist Richard Rushfield, who wrote “American Idol: The Untold Story,” shared with USAToday that a huge portion of the audience are conservative Christians.
So what is it about “American Idol” that is drawing in all these people of faith? It couldn’t have been Simon Cowell’s honest rebukes or Paula Abdul’s all-loving remarks. Maybe it was Randy –characteristically cool and unchanging? Who knows now with a whole new cast of characters serving as judges.
Although many viewers and contestants might have Christian roots, the show does its best to cater to all audiences. And the only requirement of an aspiring American Idol singer is to do one thing well – sing.