Torrence’s Take On Sunday Best 3, Episode 10Published by Torrence Glenn on Sunday, June 6, 2010 at 8:14 pm.
Let’s just hit it!!!!
Israel Houghton opens the show with “Moving Forward.” It’s a song I believe he wrote (gotta check) originally but has been recorded by quite a few people, including choirs. It’s an incredibly powerful and popular song. My favorite version if I had to pick would be Ted Winn’s. I think Israel sounded great but something for him doesn’t connect with me (never has, *shrug*). He was good tonight though. I wasn’t at this particular taping, but I’m told that the sincere moment of worship you saw tonight didn’t even compare to what happened live and in person. (I’m still trying to get uncut praise and worship breaks for you guys.) I must say, the background vocalists sound and purity of their worship (along with Israel’s, I’m not saying he wasn’t good!) was what did it for me once I watched it without distraction. That’s all I’m going to say on that, but be deep if you want to since I know there’s a spot for y’all in glory too! (In the words of a local popular pastor in my hometown of Brooklyn, NY “Smile, give your face a break!”)
Durward Davis opened the competition portion of the show with Eric Clapton’s “If I Could Change The World.” I promise you, you can ask Jawn Murray (Tom Joyner Morning Show/AOL Blackvoices), Neily Dickerson (ND Co/Sunday Best 3 Talent/Casting Producer), or Melanie Clark (Gospelflava.com/Praise Charlotte Radio Personality) or any other member of “The Collective” (more about that later) that for the last few years I’ve been begging for this song to be “gospelized” because I’ve ALWAYS felt it had “the oil” all over it. Whoosh! So glad I got to finally hear it, and to hear it from Durward Davis? Double *whoosh!* Durward kind of sings “perfectly” to me. There’s no perfect performance per se, but what I mean is that he always does just the right thing of just enough of those things. It’s never too much, never too little. He’s just so purposeful and thoughtful. I think the future of Durward Davis is so big and bright it’s ridiculous. He’s industry ready…ALREADY.
Leandria Johnson came next with “Heaven Help Us All” and I think she did a GREAT job! If I remember correctly, I believe Kim Burrell and Fred Hammond sang this on a BET Walk of Fame honoring Stevie Wonder a few a years ago. She may have stole the title “best heaven help us all cover” from them! Ha! The last few weeks, although Leandria always kills, I felt like she had this habit of walking onto the stage on 10, and it was getting to almost be too much. I felt like she “sang” a little bit more tonight instead of hitting us so hard straight out the gate. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you have to walk out squalling but every now and then you got to switch it up. Some folks can’t switch it, but Leandria can and DID! Loved it!
Elder Goldwire McLendon came behind Leandria singing Kirk Whalum and Jonathan Butler’s “Falling in Love with Jesus.” Now I’ll admit, it arguably doesn’t fit the first half of the format of the show which was supposed to be mainstream songs that have “gospel” appeal. One would probably say that that song was already a popular gospel song, but since it technically came out on a jazz CD in 2002, I guess it works. I don’t know. But anyhow Elder McLendon sang that thing! His phrasing and decision to use such contemporary runs sent me in. There’s just something about his vocal choices that make you glad you have the privilege to listen. A lot of people keep comparing him to your “average older man in church.” Sure, there are some typical elements there, but I think he definitely stands out more than the “old deacon” at your local assembly. But maybe I’ve never been to your church, so who knows…
To break up sets 1 and 2, Brian Courtney Wilson came with “All I Need” and showed what it meant to simply let your voice and the song speak for you. Brian doesn’t perform with a whole lot of hoopla and “stuff” but that’s what kind of makes it special. It’s just good on its own without the extra. I’m a big fan as I’m sure you can tell and he did his good singing! Yessir!
For the second half of competition, the top 3 had to sing GOSPEL songs that had crossed over in the other direction.
First up, Durward Davis sang Smokie Norful’s first and still biggest hit “I Need You Now.” This song, combined with Durward’s voice was a recipe for a BEAUTIfUL DISASTER. I just wanted to curl up into a corner , have an usher throw a sheet over me and let me weep, moan, and have a bapticostolic FIT! It was just good good good!
Then, the producers really decided they weren’t going to play fair! Leandria returns with “I Love The Lord” by Richard Smallwood and also made popular by Whitney Houston. When she was done I had to remember that Whitney Houston had ever sung the thing and that’s when Whitney was, well Whitney! Just when I though there was no more *whoosh* after Durward, Leandria found the rest and took me up, over, under and through! I shouted right with her in my bedroom but I have wood floors and had new socks on so it got a little dangerous, so I stopped, but you get my point!
Elder Goldwire McLendon closed the show with “O Happy Day” and did good as he always does. This is definitely his type of song and I’m sure he’s sung it a million times, so this was easy for him. But it does not take away from the fact that he sang the mess out of him. Elder sings! I just got to keep giving it to him.
Ok, now the hard part. We’ve established that at this point in the competition, everybody’s good and someone we love and that is EXCELLENT will have to go home, so we won’t rehash that too much. And I hope this is taken how I mean it and not some other way. If it were up to me (and it’s not), as hard of a decision as these are to make, tonight should have or would have been Elder McLendon’s last night. I definitely think Durward deserved to move on based on tonight’s performances. It’s not a question of who’s the more viable artist like some people like to argue. I think with proper music, marketing and set up (like any other artist), Elder McLendon can have an awesome career, sell records and perform all over this world. Some of y’all said it’s unrealistic for him to be an artist because of his age and styles and that’s just not true. Period. So my decision to send him home would have had nothing to do with any of that. I just think that for this particular show and this specific night, Durward should have continued. He simply was better. Not going to throw the words “anointing” around anymore, because at this point, they ALL have it! He was one of the first contestants I pegged from the very first day of auditions that would make it into the show. I remember Kirk and the producers and I holding him and a few other Detroit auditioners back after they had already went before the judges just to make them sing for us over and over again.
But with that said, I still think Elder McLendon and Leandria have both earned their places in the top 2 and next week I believe they’ll both continue to sing their faces off to try and win your votes. So we ALL need to dust ourselves off since we can’t change what’s already done and walk into the next episode with open ears and open minds and be ready to enjoy it and see what they’re going to bring. Base your votes off of who’s THERE, not who you want to be there. God doesn’t even change the past, so we sure can’t either!
That’s it. Tonight’s episode was a little hard on me, so I’m gonna stop here.
Love ya cuz Jesus said so and not necessarily cuz ya deserve it. (ha! That was so stank, lol.)