One of Our Own
Proclaiming the Name of Jesus on American Idol

Mandisa Hundley, one of the top-twelve finalists to make the cut on television's No. 1 show American Idol, is not ashamed of her faith in Christ and even publicly expressed forgiveness for one of the show's judges after he sent a biting insult her way.

Mandisa, who prefers to be known by her first name, is a regular worship leader at Beth Moore's Living Proof Live conferences throughout the country and has made it known that a brief bout with fame is nothing compared to her relationship with Jesus Christ.

In fact, she put her faith into action when Simon Cowell, one of the show's infamously cruel judges, flippantly remarked about her weight.

"Do we have a bigger stage this year?" he asked on camera after she walked away.

Mandisa, of Nashville, Tennessee, responded to Cowell's comment the next time she appeared in front of the judges.

"What I want to say to you is that, yes, you hurt me and I cried and it was painful, it really was. But I want you to know that I've forgiven you and that you don't need someone to apologize in order to forgive somebody," she said. "I figure that if Jesus could die so that all of my wrongs could be forgiven, I can certainly extend that same grace to you."

Cowell, getting up to hug her, said, "Mandisa, I'm humbled, really. I'm just so appalling, aren't I?"

Mandisa sailed through the early eliminations, garnering high marks from the humbled Cowell, who commented on one episode that she was the best female vocalist in the competition, and on another suggested that she made the rest of the female contestants "sound completely ordinary."

In a subsequent videotaped interview with American Idol's "Jaded Journalist," she asked her interviewer if he knew Jesus.

Prior to her involvement with the Living Proof conferences, Mandisa worked at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville in the customer service department and then later as a contract worker for the women's ministry area, making contacts with some of the people who attended their women's events.

On the description of contestants at www.idolonfox.com, Mandisa said she has been singing as long as she can remember, but if she could no longer sing, she'd most "love to be an anointed and effective Bible teacher." When asked who her American Idol is, she replied, "An author and speaker named Beth Moore. She inspires me to live more like Jesus, and I want to do the same."

Before she performs, Mandisa said she prays, and her hero is Jesus because "He saved my life." If she doesn't make it further on American Idol, she said she will continue to sing for a living just as she does now because she loves it. In other words, American Idol fame is not everything to her.

But if she wins, who will she thank first?

"Jesus! He's so good to me," she said.

Adapted from Baptist Press.

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