Has UK TV overcome its gospel blindspot?

Remember this video from the US version of X Factor a few years ago?

We remember seeing it shared on Facebook at the time time and thinking that we’d never get a performance like that on UK telly. So imagine our surprise when we saw this at the weekend on the Voice UK.

The States is traditionally in touch with its Christian roots and you’re much more likely to hear Christian music in mainstream settings than you would in the UK. Especially when it comes to entertainment, we like a good happy-clappy gospel choir as much as the next ‘tolerant’ country. But when it comes to putting a traditional solo driven song front and centre, especially when it isn’t a well known one, it’s rare.

Is it Oh Happy Day or Amazing Grace? No? Then we’re not interested – is the usual response. But is the tide turning?

The gospel music community was ecstatic to see Janine Dyer – one of our own – on the Voice this year. She’s someone who has graced many a stage in her time all over the country as a gospel artist. And in an interview she gave on Premier Gospel recently, she revealed the producers were actively seeking a gospel artist to come on the show. Although her journey didn’t progress past the battle rounds, it does say something about what we want to see as viewers – irrespective of what our beliefs are.

Maybe there is room for us on TV after all.

Influence

We saw a nod to gospel music last year when the London Community Gospel Choir invaded the X Factor UK in the form of Silver Tone and Bekln Mile. And what about Revelation Avenue on Britain’s Got Talent? We’ve seen rumblings, but what about more full blown gospel performances?

While we’re not holding our breath, it’s great when we do see true gospel songs (with a capital G) performed in settings outside of Songs of Praise. And even when black music artists aren’t singing hymn number 259, there’s no denying that gospel music had an influence in their music somewhere along the line.

We’re not the only ones hoping that last Saturday’s performance of the Walter Hawkins classic wasn’t an isolated case, are we?

What do you think? Have we reached our quota of gospel songs for a while on TV? Leave a comment.

PS. Room for one more? OK seeing as you asked so politely…

 

 

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