'American Idol' Judge Applauds Contestant After She Boldly Praises Jesus on National TV


Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

Megan Danielle made it into the group of eight finalists on “American Idol” with a song that had one of the judges praising her commitment to her faith.

The 21-year-old waitress from Douglasville, Georgia, sang “Go Rest High on That Mountain,” in remembrance of her grandfather, at whose funeral she had sung the same song about a year earlier.

“I can’t imagine what you were feeling during that performance,” host Ryan Seacrest told Danielle after the song. “You definitely honored him.”

Judge Luke Bryan then revealed that he had been the one to choose the song for her, then complimented the singer for her courage in sharing faith.

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“What I love about you — I mean, we’re way beyond loving your voice — is you’re, you know, you’re never scared to tell everybody your faith,” Bryan said.

You can see her performance and the judges’ comments here:

“That song’s meant a lot to me, and my loss,” Bryan said. “And you were perfect. You were perfect.”

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Bryan may have been referring to the loss of his brother in 1996 in a car accident, and his sister, who died suddenly in 2007 from unknown causes.

“They never determined what happened. The autopsies, the coroner, no one could figure it out,” Bryan said years later in an interview cited by CMT.

The country singer said at the time that it took him a while to come to peace with God after the deaths.

“I don’t like it,” he said. “I don’t like that my sons are missing that side of my family. But someone else is deciding things.”

But he wasn’t the only one to praise Danielle’s performance.

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“I’m going to tell you something: You have the amazing ability to touch,” judge Lionel Richie told Danielle. “A lot of people can sing, but you have an amazing ability to touch.

“Your voice is so powerful when it comes down to just telling your story,” he said. “I saw you at the beginning crack because you almost kind of lost it, but even that worked as far as telling your story.

“I know your paw-paw is very, very happy with what you did today,” he said, referring to her late grandfather.

Even Katy Perry agreed that the song was “Heaven-sent,” because Bryan hadn’t known anything about Danielle’s prior performance of the song in her grandfather’s honor.

“It’s a wonderful confirmation,” Perry said.

In a recent post, Danielle said, “I was born to share the love of Jesus.”

“This was one of my most challenging performances but what a way to honor my papa! Thank you God!” she wrote on Instagram after the performance.

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George Upper is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Western Journal and was a weekly co-host of "WJ Live," powered by The Western Journal. He is currently a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. A former U.S. Army special operator, teacher and consultant, he is a lifetime member of the NRA and an active volunteer leader in his church. Born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he has lived most of his life in central North Carolina.
George Upper, is the former editor-in-chief of The Western Journal and is now a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. He currently serves as the connections pastor at Awestruck Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a former U.S. Army special operator, teacher, manager and consultant. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Foxborough High School before joining the Army and spending most of the next three years at Fort Bragg. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English as well as a Master's in Business Administration, all from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife life only a short drive from his three children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the NRA and in his spare time he shoots, reads a lot of Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald, and watches Bruce Campbell movies. He is a fan of individual freedom, Tommy Bahama, fine-point G-2 pens and the Oxford comma.
Foxborough, Massachusetts
Beta Gamma Sigma
B.A., English, UNCG; M.A., English, UNCG; MBA, UNCG
North Carolina
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Business, Leadership and Management, Military, Politics