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4 Ways God Showed Up on My Season of “American Idol”


My name is Tim Halperin and I write songs and play the piano. I grew up in Omaha, Neb., and now live in Nashville, Tenn. My songs come from real experiences and people, and my hope is that people can find hope and truth in my lyrics. 

Getting a chance to be on American Idol in 2011 was daunting. I had watched countless contestants transform into superstars over the course of each season prior to standing before Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler on Season 10 of American Idol. As a Christian, my hope is always to show the love of Christ to those around me, but I was worried that my faith would be threatened and challenged in the Hollywood environment. My faith was challenged, but it was strengthened. Throughout the process (from preliminary auditions through my departure when the field was cut to 12 contestants), I saw The Lord show up in a variety of ways, and I want to share a few with you.

1. In the group round during Hollywood Week, I ended up in a group with all Christians. This was a gift from God as we were able to openly encourage one another in faith and pray together. The sweetest moment occurred right before our performance. Backstage, spontaneous worship broke out in our group just prior to our performance. It put American Idol into perspective. It was then that I realized that our God is bigger and better than any reality TV show, and His purposes would be accomplished during my time on Idol.

2. My roommate throughout American Idol was a Gospel-singing guy with personality through the roof named Jacob Lusk. One Sunday before the live show, Jacob invited me to go to church with him in Compton, Calif. We spent the whole day with Jacob’s pastor and his family, sharing meals, conversation and prayer for our time on American Idol. Being away from home and my church community, I soaked in this time with brothers and sisters of the King. Having Jacob as a roommate during Idol was another gift from God. There were sweet reminders of His presence everywhere.

3. Scotty McCreery won our season of American Idol. I had a hunch he would win pretty early on. Come on, the guy has a crazy-cool country voice, is a nice Southern boy from North Carolina and is as genuine as they get. I want to share a video with y’all that I took backstage when we were in the Top 40. Scotty was telling me about how worried he was about going home. I tried to reassure him that he was going to go really far, but in true Scotty form, he humbly replied that he “might be sitting on his couch tomorrow”! After Idol ended and the Top 10 went on tour, I met up with Scotty in Dallas and got to pray for him, and his impact for The King. I considered that a true honor, and will always be a Scotty fan.

4. I got to know Colton Dixon during our season of Idol. He left way too early, but I got to see him return and go much further in Season 11, giving God the glory all the way through in a bold, beautiful way. Talk about a guy who loves Jesus. I look up to Colton in a lot of ways. God gave Colton a platform. And Colton has used it for God’s Kingdom and purposes.

I’ve gotten to do some cool things and meet some great people since my time on American Idol, but my favorite thing is playing at Young Life and Kanakuk camps in the summer! Ultimately, when I look back on American Idol, I thank God. Now I play and write music full-time, and He has given me a story that I want people to hear about. Jesus also gave me sweet reminders along the way that He had me right where He wanted me the whole time. As great as Idol was, it didn’t crush me when I was cut. Not that I didn’t care…but my identity was never wrapped up in American Idol. My life is not my own, and my identity is in Christ.

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