Torrence’s Take On Sunday Best 3, Episode 6Published by Torrence Glenn on Sunday, May 9, 2010 at 9:00 pm.
Well last week the first half of the Sunday Best 3 Final 20 performed and now we finish up with the last 10. I guess a lesson was learned from previous seasons that it’s hard to narrow down finalists until you’ve heard them ALL!
Kurt Carr opens the show with one of the most popular Praise songs in recent years, “In The Sanctuary.” Name me a black church that didn’t sing it? Y’all know all of you at one time tried to squeal out a “Yes Lawdddd, for the rest-of-our-days…” in the key of crazy! Ha! It was also good to see one of my FAVORITE singers Nakitta Clegg-Fox up there with him. Just had to shout her out.
So with that, we learn the theme of the evening is “Praise & Worship” material. This should be good.
First up, Mesie Augustine with “How Great Is Our God.” I have a little metaphor I like to use when describing praise and worship music. I kind of compare it to a game of spades. (If you’re too deep to play cards or don’t know how to play the game, I’m sorry for ya…hehehe) But back to my point, “How Great Is Our God” is probably equivalent to the “Big Joker” of praise and worship. Sing that and it trumps EVERYTHING. It’s hard not to win with that one. Mesie though, I think let her nerves get the best of her. There were a lot of notes she missed and I think she could hear it herself. Sometimes you “just know.”
Next up, Orlando Wright with “The Presence Of The Lord Is Here.” This dude can just sing. There’s no denying that AT ALL. But near the beginning of the song I don’t think he was nervous at all but moreso EXCITED and had a hard time breathing. I’ve been told that he’s done quite a few gospel stage plays and you could see it in his performance from the lean backs to the kicks, etc. He definitely knows how to win a crowd in just the way that a performer in a stage play has to. With that kind of gift, he probably really is a good praise and worship leader. If he doesn’t lead praise and worship at home, he should…
Brittany Dear followed with “Here I am To Worship.” She too was really, really nervous and she couldn’t hide it. The performance was just odd overall though, I don’t think the song was in the right key for her or something. I can’t put my finger on it. The Beyonce references we heard in her voice during the auditions didn’t seem to come out in this performance aside from the vibrato, which I don’t think she did on purpose, it was more of a shake.
Next was David Wilford with “I Will Bless The Lord” by Isaiah D. Thomas and made popular by Byron Cage. I’m definitely a fan of this dude. He sings his face off. He knows his voice and there are some singers who’ve been in the game for years who still don’t. Now I’ll admit, I was nervous at the beginning of the song, not that he sounded bad because he didn’t, but I was afraid he might “over neo-soul-ify” the song, but he didn’t, he brought it on home. I agree with Yolanda Adams, that his look is tight, yarmulke and all except for one thing. I can’t take the painted on hairlines that seem to be becoming more and more popular in some gospel circles. Not sure if I’m spelling it properly but I think it’s called “beigein” or something like that. Really just irks me. Yeah, it’s a matter of preference and a few of you might have it so don’t take offense, but really look at the thing, I guarantee you look better without it. It’s like the male equivalent to a bad lacefront wig..
Tiffany Carlin Laird came next with “Walk With Me.” Umm, so I gave a side eye to the song choice because I don’t categorize it as a “praise and worship” song, but that aside, she BROUGHT IT! The placement of her voice is pretty incredible! Singing as high as she does can be a little jarring or grating , but she hits those notes dead on without hurting your ears!
Next up Dathan Thigpen comes with “Open The Eyes Of My Heart.” I had to pause his performance because as soon as I realized that was what he was singing, I had to chuckle for a little bit, because this song makes me think of nights that I can’t sleep. Because without fail, if I’m suffering insomnia at 3am, a worship CD commercial will come on and they’re usually singing that song or “I Will Sing Of Your Love Forever.” Ok, enough of that, back to the performance. Like David, I thought he might have begun the song with too much “stuff” but then he went into worship and made the song GREAT! (I’m noticing a trend with beginning the song with a lot of tricks and toning it down by the end. Maybe that too is a nervous tick of some kind.)
Behind Dathan, was Martha Burries with “Our God Is An Awesome God.” This was my favorite performance of the night. Her voice is just incredible to me and she knew HOW to sing the song to make it her own, but keep the simplicity of the song intact.*whoosh* This is what I will now call a “Goldilocks” performance. Not too little, not too much, JUST RIGHT. (Get up on your nursery rhymes, ha!)
Brian Smith came next with “I Am Persuaded.” This is probably one of my FAVORITE songs ever. I was prepared to have a serious attitude if he messed up my song. Y’all don’t understand, this song GETS ME EVERYTIME! But he nailed it with just him and a piano. It was a pure performance. However, I am curious to hear what he sounds like with a more upbeat and band/background heavy song. Looking forward to that. I’m not saying that I don’t think he’ll do good with it, just haven’t heard him do it.
Bethany Divine sang Kurt Carr’s “For Every Mountain.” I agreed with the judges that she played it a little “safe” and didn’t really give all that she had. I’m about to nitpick but I think I realize why. There was this one little part where she went for a strong note and it cracked just a little bit. I think from that point on she said “oh I’m not crackin again, let me keep this simple.” But you can’t do that, you got to keep on going and going hard.
Vernell Payton, Jr. closed out the night with “Praise Is What I Do.” I’m not sure I would have picked this song for him. I’m a big fan of Vernell’s voice, especially that grit that’s always present in it that makes you pay attention to him, and this song calls for something a little different than what he has. He didn’t do a bad job at all, I just think it would have been real hard for a voice like his to shine on this song. I was Vernell’s preliminary judge in Season 2 (DC) and this season (New Orleans if I remember correctly) and pushed him through every time, so you know I’m a believer.
Well, now it’s the hard part, going from 20 to 10.
Our top 10 are:
- Durward Davis
- Franklin Davis, IV
- Tawanna Tarvin
- Leandria Johnson
- Orlando Wright
- Brian Smith
- Tiffany Carlin-Laird
- David Wilford
- Dathan Thigpen
- Elder Goldwire McClendon
I’m actually pretty pleased with the judges decision for the top 10. I mean, I could possibly go back and forth on a few of them, but there’s no one in the top 10 whom I don’t think should be there. Am I making sense? Well, Kirk also announced that they’d be bringing back an 11th contestant next week and my choice for that spot would be… drum roll please….
- Martha Burries
- Davon Fleming
- Vernell Payton
- Quianna Pettigrew
- Jonte Thomas
Ok, I know, I know! I was supposed to pick one. But I couldn’t. That’s not my job today so….. deal with it! ha!
What did you think? Do you agree with the top 10?