She may have been too chaste for American Idol, but a contestant on the show mocked by the judges for her conservative lifestyle is starring in a new movie that will be distributed by the same group that handled The Passion of the Christ.
Moriah Peters was just 16 when she appeared on American Idol. She told judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi and Avril Lavigne that she was a devout Christian and that she was saving her first kiss for marriage.
"Peters said the celebrity judges praised her looks and her singing, but belittled her chaste lifestyle," The Hollywood Reporter writes. "One judge told her, 'You're trying to be too perfect,' while another told her, 'Go out, kiss a guy, come back,' she says." Ah, Hollywood.
Luckily, Peters didn't take their advice. Instead, she signed on to star in a movie, titled Because of Gracia, in which she plays a high school student who -- like Peters herself -- is saving herself for marriage. "She also sings and is called 'perfect' in the movie, just like on American Idol seven years ago," the Reporter writes.
Peters has spoken of her American Idol experience numerous times, usually on Christian radio (see a couple interviews below). When she read the script for Because of Gracia, directed by Tom Simes, she said she was struck by the similarities to her own life.
"I honestly thought the director built Gracia’s character around my high school experiences," she said. “I was allowed to simply be myself, and it wasn’t difficult to dive into the controversial and tense circumstances.”
In Because of Gracia, Peters plays a pretty girl with a mysterious past who's transitioning to a new high school, where her sudden popularity and goody-two-shoes personality make her the object of scorn among some classmates. John Schneider, the former Dukes of Hazzard teen idol who has appeared in several Christian-themed films of late, stars as the school principal.
“The American Idol experience taught me to risk without regret,” said Peters. “I gave those auditions everything I had and was as transparent as I possibly could have been. But in the end, I wasn’t the kind of candidate they were looking for.”
The film will be distributed by ArtAffects Entertainment, which handled The Passion of the Christ. The movie opens on Sept. 15.