Torrence’s Take On Sunday Best Episode 4

Published by Torrence Glenn on Monday, March 30, 2009 at 1:10 am.

So I’m in West Palm Beach, FL on business and wasn’t sure I’d be able to watch the show in time to blog.  Thankfully, I caught the re-air.  Now, please be patient and read through the entire post. I will give my honest perspective and comment on the top 10, but let’s be fair and give the 10 performers from Episode 4 their just due first!

Byron Cage opened the show with one of my favorite Praise & Worship songs for choirs, “I Will Bless The Lord” with the 20 finalists backing him up in full old school choir regalia.  Is it me or does it seem that choirs only wear robes these days on TV?  I’m just wondering.  But for anyone who’s ever worn a choir robe (self included), I’m sure nobody misses them! Ha.  Overall, I think the opening performance was good.  Byron was a preliminary judge in DC so I’m sure it felt good to perform with a few of the people he helped push through. Now for the main event…

First up, Peter Robinson.  I think Peter has an awesome voice and an even more awesome testimony that I hope to have him guest blog and share with you, so I’ll stick to the performance.  I wasn’t moved in the way that I was in his earlier audition and was really pulling for him, but he just didn’t get me this time.  It suffered that fate of not being great or bad.  It just…was.  There’s so much more in him and I believe we’ll see it one day.

Y’Anna Crawley walked onto that stage and DEMOLISHED “For Every Mountain” by Kurt Carr & The Kurt Carr Singers.  I want to have something more and profound to say but how can I?  What else is there to say except “SING Y’ANNA!” *Call the usher*

Maurice Griffin kind of took me my surprise.  I’ve been in the music/entertainment business long enough to know that you can’t judge a person’s talent by their appearance, but I’ll admit I thought he’d sound “corny;” like that one Black kid in the glee club in Junior High.  But when that young man opened his mouth to sing one of my favorite B-side Yolanda Adams songs, “In The Midst Of It All,” I had to put my glass down for just a second! (I was drinking a smoothie.) His voice soars and I was thoroughly impressed.

Sharon Gomez sang a song that I THINK was “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” I say “I think” because that arrangement was just wrong and I’m a stickler for melody.  If you’re going to re-arrange, go ahead and do that.  She on the other hand just sounded a little confused, as if she were making it up as she went along.  Her voice is “pretty” though, I just don’t know if gospel is her thing.  When I say gospel, I mean the musical STYLE that is gospel, not the message, because as we all know, every and anyone can sing about his goodness. K? (Had to do that for the deep saints, because I already know y’all were ready to hit me over the head!)

John McClure became one of my favorites from the DC auditions and I’m glad to say he didn’t let me down.  His voice is just so pure.  Now I’m a church kid so I appreciate vocal tricks and respect them to the highest, but let’s be honest, some folks hide so-so voices behind extras.  He doesn’t have to do that.

*Pause* I’ll go on record and say that perhaps over the years, I may have forgotten that Bebe Winans could sing, like really sing.  His impromptu singing of “I’m Lost Without You” after John’s performance kind of made me want to hear more.

Crystal Holland sang an arrangement of Kirk’s “Melodies From Heaven” that was GREAT.  It was jazzy and churchy all at the same time.  Unfortunately, the arrangement and the SANG-TANG-A-LANGIN’ background singers stole the show away from her.  That arrangement and those singers gave her so much to work with, but I don’t think she took advantage of it.

Next up was Ian J. Knighton singing another Byron Cage hit “The Presence Of The Lord Is Here.” I was shocked to hear such a high voice come out of that dude, but he showed and proved.  He kind of reminded me a bit of soul singer Phil Perry. If you’re saying “who’s Phil Perry?” This is now your homework assignment.  Find out!

Cekoyah Burch sang Mary Mary’s “In The Morning” and like Crystal and Peter, it just….was.  But I’m thinking her look and sound would work in a urban/pop-ish gospel girl group.  Perhaps she and Crystal Holland can get something started.  Gospel labels, I want my check if y’all take my idea. (Go ahead and take my tithes out in advance…)

Dontavies Boatright is another of my favorites from the very beginning of this competition.  He is the perfect mix of classical vocal training and gospel chops! There were some minor rough spots in his performance, but if I never hear anyone else sing “What The World Needs Now Is Love” ever again, I’ll be fine.  All I kept thinking after he finished was: “If he had just another minute with that song, the whole audience would have been laid out!”

Last but certainly not least was Carolyn Johnson-White.  Can someone confirm for me whether she’s the vocalist on James Hall & Worship and Praise’s “You Are Not Alone” from the “Live at Foxwoods” CD?  That voice sounds familiar. I think she did a great job! The high note….nuff said.  But she really took me in when she spoke after her performance and let us know that she was 60 years old and that God told her “he would restore the years!” Yeah, I’m a softie, I wanted to hug and shout right along with her at that point.

So I know you guys probably have a whole lot to say about the top 10, but c’mon, will we ever all agree?  Did Mary Mary and Bebe pick the top 10 that I would have? Nope.  But in a competition with sooooo many good singers, someone has to go home, and yes, that means some good singers will not make it.  Let’s congratulate the current top 10…..And now that THAT’S out the way, I will list MY TOP 10, had it been up to me. Hehehe (in no particular order.)

1. Audrey Lewis
2. Camille Betton
3. Clifton Ross
4. Dontavies Boatwright
5. Maurice Griffin
6. Zebulon Ellis
7. Jessica Reedy
8. John McClure
9. Latice Crawford
10. Y’Anna Crawley

What do you think?

I’m out!


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Eric Davis Said on

I am only commentting on the first thing you commentted about regarding the robes, I do not know what church you belong, however, at my church we still wear robes, robes are sacred. Yes, young people do not like to wear them always, but that is why the older people teach them and let them know the ways to follow. Choirs should continue to wear the robes. Thank you.

Marcus Said on

This comment is for Ken Alston Jr. Don’t hate because you couldn’t try out for sunday best & become a BGV. Second, honorable mention? She got a gig! If not as good or better than the headliner? I checked you out on youtube & u only have 350 views. How pathetic is it when you have to & are the only one who comments on your video. I suggest that you look her up on you tube: Danetra Moore. TRUST SHE HEADLINES! She was good enough to get a CHECK…

Mina Said on

All I can say is WOW Y’anna!!!!!! She did a fantastic job! Keep it up! I am praying she makes it further than Sunday Best.

Sabrina Said on

Only because I’m old school, I have to roll with Miss Carolyn Johnson-White!! I absolutly love her.

But on the other hand brother Zebulan has an awesome voice.

Dianna T. Said on

I love John McClure, his voice is great! I pray that he becomes Sunday’s Best.

LaQuita Said on

I truely enjoyed everyone of the contestants! Y’Anna Crawley’s performance was exceptional! It touched my soul in a glorifying way and i am deeply greatful that she was able to minister to me! The show was a wonderful idea and i for one am honestly blessed by it!

Jeff B Said on

All of the singers had a good night the 3 that stood out to me were the 3 young ladys Jessica, Y’Anna and Latice with Dontavies being the next one in the mix judges are calling every preformance just the way i see it.

shantera ravenell Said on

I just want to say that Latice Crawford is so awsome. When she sing it brings chills through my body, she ministers to my soul. I just pray that she remains the same way she is when she wins(i speak it into exsistence) in JESUS name!
love tera

ASHLEI Said on


Gwen McMillon Said on

GO HOLLYWOOD! All the P.K.s (preacher’s kids) are behind you, especially your Saginaw family. It’s your season. God’s spirit is in you, His hand is on you, and His Living Word is flowing from you. Let Him have His way.

We love you! The McMillons

Dawn Said on

I am highly upset. I want to know how Evang. Carolyn Johnson White did not make it to the top 5.

Glenda Said on

I agree with a comment made above, and I meant to say it before. A lot of people who make it already have cut their teeth with some recording or with some group or other. So of course they might do better than someone who sings mostly in churches. It’s like the judges forgot that they TOO started in church. I don’t think it’s fair, either that they let those with professional performing experience in with those who may be great, but have not yet had that “spotlight” experience. And that’s from Crystal Aikin to Shari Addison (who I just LOVE) Carolyn Johnson-White, Maurice Griffin. CHECK: I am just naming those that have professional experience, and have had some BGV time AND LEADING time. I think it’s not fair for the others and misleading for us, the viewing audience.

Diedra Said on

Y’anna (YANNI) DID HER THING!! She has worked so hard to get to this point in her career. I must say all of the contestants are GREAT! Y’anna delivers nothing less than PERFECT EACH AND EVERY WEEK. Keep your FAITH IN GOD YANNI, GOD IS WRITING YOUR LIFE’S STORY.


leslie Said on

I thnk Camille B. should have made the cut. She looked a little upset or bitter in the crowd. She should have replaced Jeff Spain. You can tell she has a down home blues feel. I also thought Tammy Turner could have made a better show the second time around. I like her Helen Baylor sound.

Foote Said on

What were the Judges thinking when they did not select Ms. White as part of the final five? Ms. White’s messages have been consistently informative and with resolution… Ms. White’s dynamic artistic qualities explodes with resounding exaltation, but yet, take back seat to the message.

Sunday Best is when the music captures your soul and the message promotes worship and resolve that is part of component of your very being on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That is what this “Lion” of the Gospel (for whom I do not know) does for me!

Antionette Said on

I cant believe Dontavies Boatwright didnt move on in sunday best. I thought the final two would be jessica and Dontavies or Y’anna and Dontavies. I thought he did a fantastic job and felt he should have moved on in the competition. I thought the judges felt the same way i did the way they gave him nothing but good feedback but i guess i was wrong.

maya Said on

They are all the best to me. Keep going in the path that your going un cause it is the right one. Amen!

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