Torrence’s Take On Sunday Best 3, Episode 5Published by Torrence Glenn on Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 8:40 pm.
Finally, what we’ve been waiting for! The Sunday Best 3 stage!
The final 20 have been chosen and there’s no going back. We are NO LONGER in audition mode. So let’s have a collective “woosah” shall we? Wooooooo SAHHHHHH (Oooh, I almost felt something on that woosah! Ha!)
The show opens so appropriately with Kirk Franklin’s “Are You Listening” featuring new judges Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams, Isaac Carree, new mentor Kim Burrell and Tina Campbell. I just have to say, I miss Yolanda as an artist. For those few moments where she sang on that song, she sang me crazy! I need a new CD pronto! The song came off GREAT overall though, with all those beasts on stage, how could it not? As the song came to a close the Top 20 came out to help with the background….
*wait for it*
They came out in what else? CHOIR ROBES. If you’ve been reading this blog since last year, you’ll know that I feel some kind of way about the need to put groups of gospel singers in robes for TV. Irks me to the utmost! I know why they do it, but still it just kind of makes me go “ugh.” Ok, I’m gonna let it go.
Next Donnie transitioned into him and Kirk’s “Ooh Child.” I almost forgot all about this song. Donnie as ALWAYS did his good singing and I actually enjoyed the 20 finalists backing him up. They didn’t just sound like a choir, they sounded like a GOOD one. In the past the finalists haven’t always sounded so great as a group! But they were SANGING!
Special shout out to the new Musical Director Stanley Brown and Co-Musical Director PJ Morton. FINALLY bandleaders to who get gospel and know church! On top of that, the background singers are killing too! Isaac Carree (John P. Kee, Men Of Standard, Kirk Franklin) , Anaysha Figueroa (Danny Eason, Alicia Keys, Kirk Franklin), Charmaine (I forget her last name but she sings with Kirk too), Ayanna George (Hezekiah Walker), and Nikki Ross (Gary Mayes, Ricky Dillard, Kirk Franklin) sound fantastic and I know will hold it down all season.
On to the performances!!!
First Up Jonte Thomas with “Just A Prayer Away.” I’m not going to front, I know she’s got some range on her, but when she started this song I thought “Girl, you just committed suicide, that’s too high, you have nowhere to go.” Well guess who she made a liar? Me! She handled it and sang it rather masterfully to be so high! Her tricks were just right to me and I loved it. Now THAT’s how you start a season!
Leandria Johnson was next with “In The Midst Of It All.” Anybody want to apply to be my assistant Sunday Best blogger? Because as long as this girl is in the competition, I’ll probably have a hard time finding things to say. She’s just that dope! But seriously she’s just great. Perfect mix of church, soul, anointing and everything else is takes to make a good singer a great COMMUNICATOR. She doesn’t just sing a song, she DELIVERS it.
Next up, another singer I enjoyed in the audition rounds, Robert Hatcher. I noticed he took the Sunday Best out of his haircut! Ha! Jokes aside, this dude’s tone is amazing. The simple SOUND of his voice is what makes him good. My only issue is that I felt he didn’t go anywhere on “What About The Children.” I was waiting for him to bring it on home and vocally he kind of just said “I’m done.” I don’t know, but he just kept it real deep in the pocket, and that’s good sometimes but you can’t take too long to build in these early shows. I hope he gets to stick around so we can hear him really SANG!
*pause for the cause* Isn’t it frustrating how short these songs are? I’m not complaining, I know they have to be short because it’s an hour show and they’ve got to get through 10 singers, but it just shows how difficult it is for the contestants. It’s something like a minute and a half to sell it! That’s HARD.
Up next, Tawanna Tarvin with “I’ll Trust You, Lord.” I love Tawanna’s voice and her vocal skill, but like Robert, I don’t think she went all the way there. I think she had more to give. But don’t get it twisted, she was still good!
Davon Fleming is BRAVE! “We Fall Down” is probably Donnie McClurkin’s biggest hit and to sing it in front of him takes a lot. But he rose to the challenge and I think he was impeccable. He showed that range goes both ways by playing with his lows and highs. I really enjoy him. He does a lot of the “vocal tricks” that a lot of folks his age love to do but he didn’t overdo it. If he’s this dope at 18, I’m scared of him at 21, 25, 30, etc!
After Davon, Quianna Pettigrew came with a warm and toasty version of “Great Is Your Mercy.” I loved it but can understand how the judges said they wanted a little more. BUT I need her to stick around so we can hear some more of that warmth. I’m a fan.
Next up, Franklin Davis, IV with “I Believe I Can Fly.” Not sure that song should have even been on the song list but Yolanda did record it so I guess it fits the theme…., but hey it’s not my show so I’m going to move on. I love what Franklin represents for the gospel industry and he has the talent and gifting to hang, but I don’t know if his gift is right on a competition style gospel show. I think I’ve said this before, but Franklin is the kind of true “artist” who I GUARANTEE you when he’s in his own lane and element, SHUTS IT DOWN! Sure there were some vocal choices that didn’t hit, but he recovered from them. If you pay for a ticket to a Franklin Davis show, all that he gives I know will work. The Mohawk and the spikes, etc. may not be everyone’s cup of tea (there’s an old man living inside of me, lol), but maybe he’s not called to you. Trying to get off the soapbox, but I truly believe there’s an audience he’s called to. I just know how the saints can be.
Next is our Nigerian contestant Funmi Oduyemi. It just wasn’t good. “Open My Heart” is probably Yolanda Adam’s biggest hit to date and obviously a bit too ambition for Funmi. Her best bet would have been to change the arrangement COMPLETELY because if you can’t give even a little bit of what Yolanda gave, you’re going to sound a little crazy. I applaud her for trying though, but I would have NEVER given her that song! This poor girl was SET UP!
Durward Davis is probably one of my favorite contestants from the entire audition process. When we were in Detroit, we would pull him to the side and just make him sing for us again and again. And despite the many times we made him sing, I STILL didn’t know that he would bring it like THAT! In his auditions, he kept things real smooth and Marvin Winans like, so I wish you could have seen me throwing things at my TV when he got on that stage SQUALLING and hitting on “Hail Jesus You’re My King.” *whoosh*
And finally, Elder Goldwire McClendon laid OUT “The Battle Is The Lord’s.” I don’t even know what to say, that man can just sing! And despite that his abilities at 79 are impressive; his age has NOTHING to do with it. He’s just BADDDDDDD (meaning GOOD!!!) As much as I enjoyed Elder McClendon’s audition, I wondered if he’d be able to hang vocally in the competition. Asked and answered, he’s got it! And Donnie knows better than to holler the way he did, he set it off! I wasn’t around for taping but I’m told it was delayed for 20 minutes!
Y’Anna Crawley closed out the show with her new single “Grandma’s Hands” which easily became her signature song from Season 2. She also had to do an abbreviated version of the song because there wasn’t much time left. I’m glad I’ve got to hear her sing it a few times on other shows as well because there just wasn’t enough time.
What did you think?
I can’t wait for next week to hear the other 10!