18 Latter-day Saints on Reality TV Who Stood for Their Standards

American Idol

16 Mormons on Reality TV Who Stood for Their Standards

You can’t talk about Latter-day Saints on reality TV without mentioning American Idol and David Archuleta. However, the famed singer wasn’t the first Latter-day Saint to compete on the show. Carmen Rasmusen Herbet made it into the top six during the 2003 season of American Idol. During the show, her modest dress standards repeatedly put her at odds with the show’s wardrobe stylists. In fact, a stylist was quoted in Us magazine as saying, “She has a fantastic figure, so [her religious guidelines] are restricting.” But Carmen stood her ground every time—an impressive feat for a teen in a high-pressure showbiz environment. “I really think I found strength beyond my own,” Herbert says. “I wanted to do what was right. I wanted to dress modestly. I was taught to stay true to my values and stay true to myself—even after I went out into the world.”

16 Mormons on Reality TV Who Stood for Their Standards

Five seasons later in 2008, Latter-day Saint singing sensation David Archuleta was also criticized for his values, in particular, his humility—skeptics thought it was an act. Immediately, David’s friends came to his defense. “People just didn’t understand how David could be shocked when the judges complimented him,” says Dean Kaelin, David’s voice coach. “People thought, ‘How could he not know how good he was?’ Not only does David have a beautiful voice, he is just a good, good kid. That was a shock to America. People couldn’t accept that he was just a humble kid.”


19105David Archuleta: Still Making Headlines

After his success on American Idol, David Archuleta saw tremendous success both in his music career and out in the mission field.  In addition to his mission to Chile, Archuleta continues to stand for his beliefs and inspires through his music and his considerable charitable work.  

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Though Archuleta lost to David Cook in the show’s finale, he’s gone on to have a successful singing career—and even put his work on hold to serve a two-year mission in Chile. He returned home with honor in March of 2014. Other members on the show include Latter-day Saint singer Brooke White who competed on the same season as Archuleta and endeared herself to the judges and fans when she explained that he’d never seen an R-rated movie or had a drink of alcohol. She was eliminated after making it to the top five.

16 Mormons on Reality TV Who Stood for Their StandardsAnd just last year, Latter-day Saint Kenzie Hall had a shot at performing on the show after being selected to advance out of 40,000 applicants. However, in a surprise twist, the show eliminated five of the 15 female contestants without ever allowing them to sing for America’s votes. Though disappointed, she told the Deseret News, “All along, I knew I had to rely on my Savior because He sees the bigger picture. And I had a good experience, I think, because I kept to my standards, and I’m proud of that.”

Photos courtesy of LDS Living; Deseret News. Left: Carmen Rasmusen Herbet. Right: Kenzie Hall. 
The full version of this article is available in the January/February issue of LDS Living magazine.
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