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'The Voice' fans angry about replacement of 'Lord' with 'oh' in traditional gospel hymn

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 3 2013 11:15 a.m. MST

When finalists on NBC’s “The Voice” sang the traditional Christian hymn “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” last Tuesday, Nov. 26, many listeners noticed they sang the word "oh" instead of "Lord" in the chorus, as the original version dictates.

Some took to social media to express disapproval of the change.

“Don’t choose a gospel song, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” and replace “Lord” with “oh,” tweeted Teresa Collis about the performance. “Why choose the song?”

The song’s original lyrics read, “may the circle be unbroken / by and by, Lord, by and by / there’s a better home a-waiting / in the sky, Lord, in the sky.”

According to The Blaze, “The Voice” used a public domain version of the song that users could listen to for free on iTunes, which omitted the word “Lord.” But the original 1907 song also included the phrases “dying Savior” and “songs of heaven,” which “The Voice” also left out of the performance, according to the same article.

Some involved with the show did not know about the omission. Mark Burnett, executive producer for “The Voice” and producer of “The Bible” TV miniseries originally thought he had misheard the word, according to The Blaze.

“The Voice” judge Blake Shelton did not know the show had used “oh” instead of “Lord,” and viewers noticed that he sang the religious lyrics.

“When the camera panned over to the judges while they were singing, I saw Blake Shelton singing alone with them. … And he sang the word Lord,” wrote Susan McCorkel Patrick on The Voice Facebook page. “Kuddos to you Blake!!”

Many comments on the show’s Facebook page and tweets expressed outrage over the altered gospel song’s lyrics.

“Heck I'm not even religious but this is a travesty to blatantly leave out the most important word of this song,” wrote Rebecca Roady Pennington on the show’s Facebook page.

Whether the omission was intentional has not been confirmed or denied. However, some people who responded on social media said that despite enjoying “The Voice” in the past, because of the alteration they would not continue to watch the show.

Abby Stevens is a writer for the DeseretNews.com Faith and Family sections. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University–Idaho. Contact her at astevens@deseretdigital.com.

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