Torrence’s Take On Sunday Best 3, Episode 7Published by Torrence Glenn on Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 7:59 pm.
Sup folks. No long intro, let’s just get into it.
One of my favorites J. Moss opens the show with a medley of his first hit“We Must Praise” and his new single “Rebuild Me.” It wasn’t my favorite performance by him. I could hear he was having some vocal challenges but like a professional he pushed through them as best he could. Aside from that, I wish the song would have been done all the way “live.” To have 3 of the baddest background singers in the game up there just kind of “faking it” was kind of irksome. I think had they been actually allowed to sing, they along with the band could have supported J. Moss on the the song a little more and kept it from feeling so distant. At the same time, I can tell from the audience’s and judges’ reaction that it probably may have sounded better live. (That happens sometimes, where a hot live performance doesn’t do so great on TV.)
Many times contestants and viewers alike complain about the singers not being able to pick their songs. Well tonight, the theme is “Contestants’ Choice” so this time there will be no excuses with “I didn’t like my song” or “that song wasn’t really me.” Should be good right?
Aside from filling in for Mary Mary’s Tina Campbell tonight, we finally gets to see some snippets of Kim Burrell mentoring the contestants. There was one time when she told Brian (I think) “I want your worship level to match your stage presence, it’s interaction.” That right there could have been a class all in itself!
First up, Brian Smith gives us a sped up version of “I Won’t Complain.” Kind of reminded me of the version Karen Clark-Sheard and Twinkie Clark did with Florida A&M University back in the 90’s. I think he did a good job. Wasn’t “spectacular” or anything but his voice is so pure you just got to love him. Like J. Moss, I felt like I heard he was working through some vocal issues too.
*pause* Is it me but did you notice a pattern? I feel like everybody was hoarse or something. If I was extra deep, I’d say something like “I feel there was a spirit of hoarseness in the room. *end deep scene.* Ha!
Orlando Wright followed up with “Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus.” It’s a traditional song which I think was the right move for his style. His voice obviously hadn’t come back yet from rehearsal but he worked through it. (I don’t hold hoarseness against people, because it’s impossible to avoid. It’s how you come through it that’s important.) He also still sings with that stage play drama and it’s fun to watch. I don’t know if he’s “Sunday Best” but think now that the world knows who he is, you’ll see a lot more of him. Churches and conventions all across the country should be calling him real soon! This yet again was probably another performance that probably sounded/felt better live.
Now, we find out who the wildcard pick was! Martha Burries returns with “Changed” made famous by the one and only Tremaine Hawkins. Sing MARTHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like we’ve seen all night, Martha sounded a little hoarse too, BUT she managed to find a serious squall in her throat and worked it out! It was soooo church and so good! She sang like she had something to prove since she was eliminated last week and she PROVED IT! Whew!
Next up, the controversial (according to a lot of your comments) Franklin Davis, IV. Now before I get into his performance, I’d like to say that y’all have got to let the whole “he don’t look saved” thing because of a mohawk go. I mean, really. Everyone is entitled to their opinion (and Lord knows I have one OFTEN) and you may not like everything, but to let someone’s look overshadow what he’s trying to do vocally and in ministry is kind of cold. The “less extreme” Mohawks you see so many in kids wearing in and out of church these days is actually a derivative on Franklin’s more authentic version of the hairstyle. (Don’t shoot the messenger.) Now for the performance. He sang “Savior More Than Life To Me” by Kirk Franklin & The Family. This is one of my favorite songs and that I think he did a great job with it. He took a lot of the judge’s advice and really simplified it which I think worked for him although it didn’t keep him on the show. If you have DVR, go back and listen again, it was actually quite good and there was some pretty cool vocal choices in there.
Behind Franklin was Dathan Thigpen with “Speak To My Heart.” Not much to say with this performance. It was great and Dathan has a certain “worship leader” quality to him that I love. Because the hoarse demon was in the room (ha!), he like many of the other showed their professionalism by singing around it and making it work.
Tawanna Tarvin was next with Kirk Franklin & The Family’s “Now Behold The Lamb.” (There must have been some vintage Kirk Franklin CD’s sitting around the studio backstage or something and I am NOT mad about it!) I LOVE Tawanna’s voice but I’m convinced that this kind of competition is not right for her voice because she needs time to set up what she does. She needs time to build up to those “gosperatic” notes and really shine. There was a sour note in the key change and I think it was because of how quickly she’d have to switch vocal placements. (Natural to head) But one thing I did notice that I didn’t realize she had was that squall! Not sure if I’m a fan of the new hairdo either, but at the same time I think she needed to update the fro too, so I’m conflicted.
Note, there’s a difference between me commenting on a contestant’s look from an artistic development perspective (Tawanna’s hair) versus whether discussing someone’s salvation (Franklin’s hair.)
Next up, one of my favorite contestants from day one, and from day one I mean the first day of auditions, Durward Davis. Durward reached way down in the crates and pulled out L.A. Mass Choir’s 80’s hit “That’s When You Blessed me” which is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite songs! Thank goodness when I heard the intro and the first note I already knew Durward would do right by it and he did! He sang that thing like he meant it and I truthfully don’t have much else to say. Just know that I’ll be watching this episode a few more times for this performance! *Whoosh*
Then, the producers had the nerve to follow that performance up with Leandria Johnson. (Are they trying to just leave me on the floor?) She sang the James Moore classic “He Was There All The Time” and ummm yeah, I’m still looking for a guest blogger who’s only job will be to discuss Leandria’s performance because she keeps leaving me speechless! Her vocal choices are always on point and she had so many places that she goes vocally and they’re always the right place. She’s sultry one minute and squalling the next! I’m a BIG FAN!
David Wilford came back with a beautiful and smooth version of “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” I agreed with the judges that sometimes you just need a song to be smoothed out and David did that thing JUST RIGHT. Not everybody can get away with singing such a popular hymn without going so “hard” and still win over an audience but he did! There was this one part of the arrangement where he would go “Lord you’ve been faithful…” where it felt like he might have forgotten the words but after watching again, I realize this was intentional so I can’t hate, it just took me by surprise.
David passed the hymn book to Tiffany Carlin-Laird because she came next with “I Need Thee” and she gave a good ole church mother’s rendition and killed it! She kind of has an Aretha Franklin/Denetria Champ thing going on, but I don’t want to “overcompare” her. (Y’all know I make up words right?) She’s also got her own gift and I’m excited about her!
Elder Goldwire McClendon kept the hymnal open with “Yes Jesus Loves Me” and he laid me out yet again. 79 or not, the man is just good. He definitely has the goodness of being “seasoned” on his voice, but at the same time, he has these youthful vocal choices he makes that are so dope! He’s precise in a way that many older singers usually aren’t! I’m a fan!
So, as we’ve discussed, the show moves fast and tonight we have to go from 11 to 7 and they are:
I can’t wait for next week to see where the contestants take us next. Check back on Monday because some of the finalists will be guest blogging! So instead of having to keep dealing with me talking, you’ll be able to hear from the contestants directly!