It’s every performer’s worst nightmare.

You’re center stage… the lights are down, save the spotlight on you…you start playing…you start singing…and nothing.

Mic’s dead.

(Did we mention this is televised?)

No, this isn’t just a psychological exercise to see how well you might handle stressful situations like this; it’s what happened at the 44th Annual Dove Awards…and it couldn’t have happened to a better artist.

A consummate professional, he kept playing while a black-clad stage runner finally delivered a live mic, inserting it not-so-discreetly into the boom mic (yes…still on tv!).

Surprisingly, this was not a veteran artist whose years of stage experience had prepared them for anything; rather this artist was a 22-year-old from Murfreesboro, Tenn., who had already weathered and survived some pretty harsh performance situations on national TV.

Of course, we’re talking about Colton Dixon, who was one of the standouts on American Idol, Season 11.

Always a professional, he only laughs as we reminisce over the hiccup at the Doves. Of course, considering his life over the past few years, a little crazy-ness is par for the course.

“It has been crazy,” he says. “I was going to do ‘American Idol’ with my sister.”

At least that was the plan the first time around. Both Colton and his sister auditioned for Season 10, but neither made it all the way to Hollywood. This time, Colton went all the way. At least to number 7.

“Crazy as it was, musically and spiritually, it was God’s initiation into music ministry and it was great,” he recalls.

While “Idol” launched him into the limelight of the music world, his talent and passion have kept him there.

“I started taking piano when I was 8,” he says. “I remember learning ‘I Can Only Imagine,’ by Mercy Me. I was overwhelmed by the feeling that this was my true calling. I gave up baseball.”

Good move. Between “American Idol” and the present, Colton has signed with Sparrow Records and he released his debut album, A Messenger, in 2013. The album re-releases January 2014, but he’s already got his sophomore record in the works.

“We started writing for record two this past summer and will be recording it this coming summer,” says Colton.

Between now and then, Colton will be keeping himself busy with a stint on a littleknown tour that happens to be the number one tour in the world—Winter Jam.

“This was on my bucket list,” Colton says with a laugh. “Winter Jam has been my number one choice. I’m so excited. I remember coming to Winter Jam when Steven Curtis Chapman headlined and Skillet was way up in the lineup.”

Things have changed a bit since then.

Newsboys are headlining the tour, alongside a lineup that includes Lecrae, Tenth Avenue North, Thousand Foot Krutch, Plumb, Newsong, Everfound, Love & The Outcome and Derek Minor and, of course, Colton. With the West Coast leg in full swing, Colton has already experienced a little idol fever himself.

“One of the coolest things has been meeting these people,” says Colton. “They’ve exceeded my expectations every time. A lot of them were my idols growing up.”

It’s also a far cry from the American Idol experience.

“On ‘American Idol,’ you were so disconnected from friends and family,” says Colton. ”That verse that says God will never leave you or forsake you—I realized it was Him kind of pulling me through the whole journey. It was a comforting time for me and something I felt needed to be shared. A lot of us are like kids, afraid of the dark. We want to jump up and turn the light back on. We need proof that the light is still there.”

For one who’s getting used to spotlights by now, Colton hasn’t lost a bit of his desire to share the true light with the rest of the world.

And if the calm, cool professionalism he exhibited at the Doves is any indication, God’s just getting him started.


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