Colton Dixon keeps his promise, staying true to self

(Photo: Reuters / Mario Anzuo)Finalists (from L-R standing): Elise Testone, Jeremy Rosado, Joshua Ledet, Jermaine Jones, Jessica Sanchez, Shannon Magrane, Heejun Han, Phillip Phillips, Erika Van Pelt, Colton Dixon, (from L-R front): Hollie Cavanagh, Skylar Laine and Deandre Brackensick pose at the party for the finalists of the television show "American Idol" in Los Angeles, California March 1, 2012.

April 19, 2012 etched memories of Jennifer Lopez' tears as Americans attempted to pick their jaws from the ground.

Colton Dixon was eliminated from American Idol after his polarizing performance of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" the night before.

After his name was announced as the one to leave, Dixon apologized for not being himself the night before and said that he would choose songs that reflected who he truly was as an artist when he made his first record.

He then went on to perform Lifehouse's "Everything" on his knees. He would leave the Idol stage singing "God is all I need."

Flashing forward to Thursday night, Dixon has kept his promise of staying true to who he is.

In front of a live audience, season 12's top eight, and a new table of judges, he sung "Love Has Come for Me," a song from his debut album Messenger.

Messenger topped both the Christian album and Gospel album charts during the first week of February.

That was after gaining momentum from number one singles "Never Gone" and "You Are" on the Christian Digital Songs and Christian/Gospel Digital Songs charts. It has also had a strong showing on the Billboard 200, debuting at number 15.

The song "Never Gone" had been performed earlier this season by contestant Angela Miller, who penned and performed an original song written about her relationship with God during Hollywood Week. "She did an awesome job. She killed it," he said after his performance.

"Never Gone" was the first song Dixon wrote that described some of his American Idol feelings. During the process of the show, he would second guess God's presence, constantly praying for signs. Yet, every time he'd pray, he'd hear God whisper to him, "I never left you. "

The accolades from Dixon come after a night for Miller that was fairly reminiscent of Dixon's final. After watching Miller's flirty rendition of The Miracles' "Shop Around, " judge Nicki Minaj didn't quite understand Miller's departure from her more modest, sweet roots.

"I think you came out today to show a different side of Angie that didn't need to be shown. You need to stop and enjoy that people are loving what you are doing, " Minaj said.

"You don't have to try to be more overtly sexy. You don't need to try to be having fun...Don't come out here and give us another side. We ain't ask for another side yet. "

Though Miller's fate in the competition and ultimate direction of her music are still up in the air, Idols such as Dixon have shown that there is life after Idol for the "Christian" Idol contestant.

Besides Dixon, former season five contestant Mandisa became the first new female artist to debut at number one on the Top Christian Albums chart with her debut True Beauty in 2007.

In his song "This is Who I Am, " Dixon discusses holding strong to personal conviction.

"The song is very blunt and to the point," he said in an audio commentary for Messenger. "I am not ashamed of who I am. I don't care who is around telling me what to do. At the end of the day, I am going to be myself.

"I tried to do that on American Idol," he continued. " Just because you are in one part of the country or grow up in a situation, doesn't mean you have to be that way."

The alternative, mohawk'd rocker is currently on tour with Grammy winning Christian band Third Day.

Though he has gained success, Dixon remains humble, even adding a tender moment of reflection at the end of his album. "(The song 'Let Them See You') is a worship moment for me on the record to say 'God strip everything away. I want others to see you and me," he said.

"It sums up my last performance on Idol. I don't care who was listening, I wanted to thank God for that opportunity for others to see him through me. "

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