Debate unfolded surrounding Tuesday night's episode of NBC's "The Voice" after singers omitted the word "Lord" from a well-known Christian hymn. But video from the performance shows that cast members also axed references to "dying Savior" and "heaven."
Credit: Alexander's Gospel Songs. New York: Fleming H. Revell Company
It was the former issue, though, that sparked the most controversy on social media.
Viewers quickly noticed that the show's final eight contestants inserted the word "oh" in place of "Lord" while performing "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
A popular version of the hymn's lyrics read, "Will the circle be unbroken, by and by Lord, by and by, There's a better home awaiting, In the sky Lord, in the sky."
This omission led fans to air their grievances.
"How dare #TheVoice producers take "Lord" out of a song and replace it with 'Oh.' Dumb move NBC," wrote one viewer. Another added, "Don't choose a gospel song, "Will the Circle Be Unbroken", and replace "Lord" with "Oh". Why choose the song?"
"The Voice" executive producer Mark Burnett, who is also known for producing the popular "The Bible" television series, later told reporters that he was equally surprised as he noticed immediately that "Lord" had been removed.
"Especially for those of us who know this song from church so well ... I realized immediately what had happened. I thought I'd misheard on the sound," Burnett told Zap2It. "Then came the next chorus, and I'm like, 'OK, it's live TV, so I've got to wait until the next commercial break. I'm running over there and asking the question.'"
Burnett learned that the show apparently needed to use a public domain version of the song that doesn't include "Lord" in order to make the performance free on iTunes.
As it turns out the original version of the hymn does not include the word, however it also does not include the word "oh" ("Lord" was added to the song in 1935 and has been a fixture ever since).
But that may not be the only issue. The original song, written in 1907, does include the words "dying Savior," "songs of heaven" and "Him" -- clear references to the God. A video of the performance on "The Voice" shows that these lines were also omitted (see the sheet music and lyrics here).
Watch the performance below:
"The Voice" cast member Blake Shelton also expressed his surprise over the "Lord" omission.
"I don't know what, uh -- how it happened, or -- I'm learning about it just like you guys are. I was sitting in my chair singing that song how I grew up on it, with 'in the sky, Lord, in the sky.' I sang it as loud as I could," he told Zap2It. "And that might be why I didn't realize until after the fact that 'Lord' was either taken out, or it was just performed some other way."
Shelton spent time fielding and responding to tweets on Tuesday night from people who were less than content over the lyric change.
(H/T: Las Vegas Review Journal)
Featured image via NBC/"The Voice"