Lacey Brown reaches ’American Idol’ Top 12 as latest contestant with deep Christian roots

American Idol” has no shortage of connections to Christian music and Christian musicians.

Over the past eight seasons a number of singers who grew up performing at church or continued to do so as young adults have made enormous impacts. Last year, of course, featured worship musicians at the highest level with Kris Allen winning the contest and Danny Gokey coming in third.

Now, in Season 9, add Lacey Brown to the mix.

The 24-year-old Amarillo, Texas, native advanced to the Top 12 last week with a strong rendition of “The Story” by Brandi Carlile. Her background is ingrained in worship with parents David and Connie Brown serving as co-pastors at Victory Church in Amarillo.

Victory’s Web site lists Lacey as the director of college-age ministries and offers some insight into her spiritual outlook.

“I have a heart for the un-reached college aged generation here in Amarillo and in Canyon,” she wrote. “I love showing them that God is a real God and so we, as Christ followers, should be real too! I work at showing people that they can be themselves, not the person people have labeled them to be but the original, creative, non- compromising person that God created them to be!”

Compromise isn’t on her mind right now in Los Angeles either.

Ashley Ingram, who is involved in ministry at Victory and has known Lacey for about three years, said that the positive personality Lacey projects on the show is genuine

“People kept telling her to try out and try out over and over again,” Ingram recalled with a chuckle during a phone interview. “Her mom and her family really wanted her to go.”

Ingram said Lacey admitted once she was able to get over her shyness of signing in front of a camera at church that it helped her break out of her shell.

Watching her perform stage fright hardly seems like a factor.

“Everyone here is just ecstatic for her,” Ingram said. “Everybody is excited and we want to cry for her and dance at the same time. It’s good to see her improving herself and for people to see who she really is.”

The 1,100-member church is having weekly watch parties to cheer on their homegrown contestant. They do, however, try to be as calm and objective as possible when it comes to the judgments of the four-member panel.

“We really don’t try to view them any particular way,” Ingram said. “We just listen to what they have to say and we either take it or we know differently. We know what she’s like and that she is polite and will smile no matter what they may say.”

Taking the criticism in stride has always been a hallmark of contestants who have advanced deep into the ‘Idol’ finals.

“Everything you see there with her is really what she is all about,” Ingram said. “She is open to new ideas. She can’t be about one certain style because it varies with what she’s singing. … I think she knows this is a huge blessing and she will put her all into it.”

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