Oklahomans advance to Hollywood on `Idol'
Carlton Pearson movie to screen in Tulsa
A film based on the life of Bishop Carlton Pearson, the former leader of one of the city's largest congregations at the 5,000-member Higher Dimensions Family Church in Tulsa, will screen at Circle Cinema next month ahead of its Netflix premiere.
In addition, Pearson will be on hand to take part in an audience Qand-A following a onetime showing of “Come Sunday” at 2 p.m. April
8 at Circle Cinema, 10 S. Lewis Ave.
No information on tickets has been released yet.
The film had its world premiere in January at Sundance Film Festival, with Oscar-nominated actor Chiwetel Ejiofor of “12 Years a Slave” starring as Pearson.
In the film, Emmy winner Martin Sheen portrays televangelist Oral Roberts, who served as a mentor to Pearson.
The film tells the story of how Pearson was ostracized for adopting universalist teachings — that all people go to heaven and that there is no hell — in about 2000.
National Christian leaders described Pearson as a heretic, and the local fallout found him banned from the Oral Roberts University campus and, ultimately, losing his congregation and church.
Pearson now speaks at All Souls Unitarian Church, and on its website, he is listed as an affiliate minister.
Also starring are Jason Segel (“How I Met Your Mother”), Lakeith Stanfield (“Get Out”), Danny Glover (“Lethal Weapon”) and Condola Rashad (“Billions”).
Two Oklahomans — Thaddeus Johnson of Oklahoma City and Rissa Watson of Apache — earned “golden passes” to Hollywood during “American Idol” auditions Monday night.
Johnson shared a personal story before performing for judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. He said he participated in season nine of “American Idol” in 2010 and “made it pretty far” but came up short and became depressed. At the time, he weighed in excess of 300 pounds, and he said his weight was a detriment to singing because of shortness of breath and because he was unable to hold a note.
“I just couldn't really be the best singer that I could be,” he said. “I got to the point where I was so unhappy that I wanted to take my life.”
Johnson said music was his saving grace.
“It saved me from a place that I didn't even think I could get back from,” he said.
When Johnson was finished, Richie said, “Whatever you had to do to pull yourself back to where you are right now, my friend, you are here for a reason. You have got an incredible machine. You understand that?”
Johnson got a hug from Richie and a unanimous “you're going to Hollywood” from the judges.
Watson, 17, said she grew up in a town (Apache is in Caddo County) where you know everybody on a first- and last-name basis. Her family has owned and operated a furniture store in Apache since 1901.
“Growing up in the furniture store, my mom would ask me to sing in front of all the customers,” she said. “I was so shy I actually had to turn my back to them in order to do it.”
Watson said the first time she really performed in front of people was at an event called “Apache Idol.” She said she knew everybody in the crowd and saw all the eyes on her, but her nerves disappeared “and I realized this is actually what I love.”
Vowing to make her hometown proud, Watson sang Adele's “When We Were Young.” And the judges approved. Bryan said she had the voice of an angel.
“Rissa, you are very talented and I can't wait to see you blooming in front of America,” Perry said.
“American Idol” returns to ABC on Sunday, March 18, and Monday, March 19.