April 25, 2012 at 3:56 PM ET
Colton Dixon is going from "American Idol" to the nation’s capital.
The 20 year-old singer -- who was shockingly eliminated last Thursday-- will attend this weekend’s annual White House Correspondents' Dinner as a special guest of The Christian Broadcasting Network, TODAY.com has learned exclusively.
“I think it was pretty clear from the beginning where Colton’s heart is,” CBN news director Rob Allman told us. “His heart is in Christianity and his strong feeling for God. As soon as he was voted off, I sent an email saying we should try to get Colton to be our guest if he would.”
While the Tennessee native probably won’t get to meet the president, he will rub elbows with some of the biggest celebrities in the world. Previous guests at the star-studded event have include Courteney Cox, Donald Trump and Justin Bieber -- as well as past "Idol" hopefuls Katharine McPhee, Chris Sligh and Mandisa.
Influential members of the media with space at their tables try to invite guests who “hopefully will catch some attention but will also send a message about what their organization is about,” Allman said.
CBN also extended an invite to Green Bay Packers wide-receiver and Donald Driver, who had to back out due to a last-minute commitment for “Dancing With the Stars.”
Allman admitted he followed Dixon’s "Idol" journey “as much as you can on television and on the web,” and said he was particularly impressed when the singer chose to ignore producers’ suggestions to refrain from expressing his spirituality on the show.
"When we first started the Twitter and Facebook stuff, they said beware of political and religious tweets," Dixon told TODAY.com last month. "Just because it can turn off voters or whatever. But, you know, being a Christian is who I am. It is a part of me musically. It is what I want to do after the show -- go into Christian music."
And Allman believes Dixon will be the next big sensation in that genre.
“Based on some of the things that he performed, I think he can write his own ticket,” Allman said. “He can clearly go quite a ways -- probably the furthest that any ‘American Idol’ contestant, as a Christian singer, could go.”
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Sean Daly runs the blog SingersAndCritics.com, which covers reality singing-competition shows.
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