Fox aired The Passion, its live musical version of Jesus Christ's last days alive, on Sunday, and it was met with mixed reactions on the Internet. But, one thing that most people agreed on was the song choices and the performers who were chosen to sing those songs. Seal's "Mad World" performance during The Passion was chilling and unexpected, but it was a great choice for the story that the musical was trying to tell.
Surprisingly, NPR reported Sunday that The Passion was actually Seal's first acting gig. Singer-songwriter Seal played Pontius Pilate, the man who orders Jesus' death, according to the Biblical story. During The Passion, he sang "We Don't Need Another Hero," by Tina Turner, and "Mad World," by Tears for Fears, according to NPR.
His performance of Turner's song was good, but his performance of "Mad World" was just downright creepy and awesome. Seal actually told NPR that "Mad World" was on of the reasons that he was OK with doing some acting even though he's never actually had a formal acting role before:
Seal sang the song after speaking with Jesus about why he couldn't free Jesus even though people were asking him too. As Jesus is being marched away by police officers, Seal sang "Mad World," and the Internet felt it (even the non-religious part of the Internet).
Seal singing Mad World is what I have always needed and never knew. #PassionLive— Damian Holbrook (@damianholbrook) March 21, 2016
Watching Disaster! followed by The Passion starring Seal singing Tears For Fears is short-circuiting my pop-loving brain.— emily nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) March 21, 2016
Seal singing "Mad World". That voice, infused with raw emotion. And then the cross is brought to the stage. POWERFUL!! #ThePassionLive— R.K. Ricca Wehmeyer (@MotoKitten99) March 21, 2016
In his interview with NPR, Seal's take on religion and the musical was actually pretty damn inspiring. He didn't endorse any one religion, but he also didn't write off having a belief system. It was really fascinating, especially since the idea of airing a Christian-based performance on primetime TV (when much of the country doesn't identify as Christian) is definitely controversial. Seal's comments recognized that and engaged with it:
His refreshing take on personal faith (because many people forget that that's exactly what faith is: personal) shows just why he was the perfect choice for a musical like The Passion. And he killed his performances, too, of course.