Fans of the NBC show “The Voice” were angry after singers omitted “Lord,” “dying savior” and “heaven” from a popular Christian hymn sung on Tuesday night’s show.
The word “Lord” was replaced with “oh” while eight singers performed “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?”
Many outraged fans took to Voice judge and country music singer Blake Shelton’s Twitter page to complain, but Shelton said he was just as shocked as viewers.
“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.”
The show’s executive producer Mark Burnett, who also produced the popular TV series “The Bible,” said he was surprised about the lyric changes as well.
“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 said. “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.’”
Barnett later learned that singers sang a public domain version of the song that doesn’t include references to God so that the performance could be made free on iTunes.
The song, written by Ada Habershon and Charles H. Gabriel in 1907, doesn’t actually include the word “Lord,” but it does include many references to God, like “dying Savior,” “songs of heaven” and “Him.”