As 'The Voice' has only gotten more and more popular on American television, contestants have learned that to speak the language of their target audience can only benefit them when it's time for votes to be counted. That being the case, it seems that contestants (and their coaches) are selecting songs that will appeal to Christians for their big moments on stage.
Craig Wayne Boyd, Koryn Hawthorne, Meghan Linsey and Deanne Johnson are just some of the recent performers on the show that have made this choice. The round-up below represents some of the most unforgettable moments in the history of the show, when contestants chose to showcase their abilities using Christian songs.
Craig Wayne Boyd, "The Old Rugged Cross"
Just a few weeks before being announced as the winner of 'The Voice' Season 7, coach Blake Shelton suggested that Craig Wayne Boyd give Alan Jackson's modern classic, "The Old Rugged Cross," his own soulful twist. More typically known for his blue-eyed bluegrass renditions of country standbys like "I Walk the Line" and "The Whiskey Ain't Workin' Anymore," Craig Wayne Boyd showed up to 'The Voice' semi-finals in a starched white shirt and a velvet jacket and showed his fans a new side of himself. This video has over 2.5 million views to date, so it's safe to say: Audiences loved it.
Koryn Hawthorn, "How Great Thou Art"
Pastor's daughter and fan favorite Koryn Hawthorne used 'The Voice' stage as a way to share her faith throughout her time on the show. Though she finished fourth in the most recent season, she still managed to score a collaborative original song with her coach, Pharrell Williams, as well as set herself up as a rising star that record label executives will certainly have their eye on. When she sang her heart out during 'The Voice' live playoffs with "How Great Thou Art," the then-seventeen year old demonstrated the grace and prowess of performers twice her age. Perhaps she chose this song for its familiarity, as this critical moment on the competitive singing show couldn't have been any more high-pressure.
Koryn Hawthorne, "O Mary Don't You Weep"
Seizing control of 'The Voice' stage in her semi-final performance, Koryn Hawthorne absolutely brought down the house with her rendition of this historic spiritual. Decisive and commanding with its message of hope and reassurance in the midst of grief, this song is not only important to the narrative of the Civil Rights movement in the United States, it also weaves the story of God's miraculous provision to his people into a Biblical testament to God's constant grace. Though Bruce Springsteen may have recorded the version of this song most people might remember, Koryn Hawthorne's energetic and earnest singing may bring to mind Aretha Franklin's performance of the song.
Meghan Linsey, "Amazing Grace"
Before Barack Obama gave people a taste of his singing with his own "Amazing Grace" soundbyte this summer, Meghan Linsey used the classic hymn to make her stand out during her fight to stay in the running against Koryn Hawthorne and Sawyer Fredericks this year. Coached by Blake Shelton, vocal powerhouse Meghan gives an inspirational and heartfelt performance wearing a demure long red dress and standing against a quiet backdrop of Grecian columns. As she points at the sky during the song, her sincerity brings a hush over the audience. It's easy to fall in love with Meghan when she's giving credit to above with unexpected conviction.
Deanna Johnson, "Down to the River to Pray"
After failing to make the cut in Season Five of 'The Voice', Deanna Johnson laid it all on the line during the playoffs with this rendition of "Down to the River to Pray." The Georgia-based Johnson stylized this song with alternatively delicate and aggressive singing, making an old favorite captivating. The strength of her voice and presence on stage during this performance turned many critics into fans as she demonstrated her potential to the live audience and to her coach, Adam Levine.