American Idol Contestant Mocked for Christian Beliefs by Idol Host
At the Dallas auditions for the 2008 season of “American Idol” last Wednesday, 19-year-old Bruce Dickson discovered that his singing wasn’t the only thing that got a no vote from the judges, who also questioned his decision to “save everything for that one special woman.”
When Dickson, from Bastrop, Texas, was asked to share something about himself, he said he’d never kissed a girl.
“What?” Randy Jackson asked. “On purpose?”
On purpose,” Dickson said. “On my wedding day, that will be my first kiss.”
Jackson’s advice to Dickson after the judges sent him packing: “Go kiss some girls.”
Simon Cowell, eyebrows raised, told him: “Avoid Ryan (Seacrest) on the way out.”
Seacrest himself ended the segment featuring Dickson with these words: “Maybe next year he’ll come back less a boy and more a man.”
But Dickson fired back at Seacrest in an interview with Cybercast News Service.“A real man would rather wait than just do whatever with whoever,” he said.
On Thursday’s “Fox Report,” anchor Shepard Smith interviewed Sarah Preston, writer and editor for Playboy.com, who had her own advice for Dickson’s career advancement. “I would have told him to go to first, second, third, fourth and fifth” [bases].
Preston told Cybercast News Service that she was questioning Dickson’s sex appeal, not his religious convictions.
“I’m not belittling Bruce’s Christian beliefs, but I do think being in tune with one’s own sexuality goes a long way in being confident with yourself,” Preston said. “Confidence is key, especially for ‘American Idol.’
“These kids become sex objects, thrust into the spotlight,” she continued. “And while I know they’re all trying to stand out, especially during the audition period, using your Christian beliefs and the fact that you’ve never kissed a girl is not going to bode well for you while trying out to be America’s next big sex object.
“It’s a national popularity contest based on talent and sex appeal,” Preston said. “There’s nothing sexy about a 19-year-old guy who’s never kissed a girl and wears a heart necklace his father is holding the key to.”
Dickson, however, told Cybercast News Service that he hasn’t been dissuaded from his decision to remain celibate until marriage, even if people make fun of that decision.
“I respect women and don’t think of them as a sexual object, and I’m the freak?” Dickson said.
Dickson, the second eldest of six children, said his parents, Mike and Boni Dickson, were high school sweethearts. He said that divorce and other problems in their extended family led the Dicksons to challenge their children to practice abstinence.
“It wasn’t anything they forced on us,” Dickson said. “It was something they talked to us about. Something they taught us the importance of.”
On “American Idol,” Dickson showed the key he wears on a chain around his neck. His father was shown backstage wearing the heart that matches the key.
The first key the elder Dickson wore was given to his daughter Michelle’s husband at their wedding in September to match her heart. He still wears the heart for Bruce’s future wife and the keys to the hearts of daughters Coral, 15, and Ashley, 13. Dickson also has another sister, Destiny, 6, and a brother, Hayden, 7.
Dickson said his family is Christian and attends a non-denominational church. He and his siblings are home-schooled. Dickson did attend two Christian schools in high school so that he could play sports. He was crowned homecoming king in his senior year at Vacaville High School, in Vacaville, Calif.
“I think of myself as a regular guy,” Dickson told Cybercast News Service , adding that he’s the first to admit abstinence isn’t an easy promise to keep.
“This is an important thing for me, and I knew I might not be able to handle it on my own, so I asked my father to help me,” Dickson said.
Jason Burtt, national director of Silver Ring Thing, a nonprofit Christian organization that promotes teen abstinence with events and ring distribution for kids to wear to symbolize a commitment to wait to have sex until marriage, told Cybercast News Service he admires Dickson for taking such a public stand.
“What we are all about is supporting kids like Bruce,” Burtt said. “Most kids are mentally pushed through the media and pop culture that everyone is doing it.”
In fact, Burtt said, statistics show the majority of teens who graduate from high school are not sexually active, and a growing number of young people have made a choice to be abstinent based on their morals and faith.
“Bruce has said he’s going to walk the hard walk, and instead of lifting him up and praising him, we’re mocking him,” Burtt said. “I think that’s because when someone is up on a chair, it’s easier for people to pull him down than to pull everyone else up off the floor. Maybe they feel bad they couldn’t do it themselves.
“We should admire him,” Burtt added.
As for Dickson, he also hasn’t given up on his singing dreams. He’s working in the studio on a demo of his work and hasn’t ruled out auditioning for “American Idol” again next year – despite Ryan Seacrest’s parting shot after Dickson’s ejection last week.
“Maybe next year he’ll come back less a boy and more a man,” Seacrest said.
Dickson was unimpressed by Seacrest’s remark. “A real man would rather wait than just do whatever with whoever,” he told Cybercast News Service.