Torrence’s Take on Sunday Best 5: Episode 3Published by Torrence Glenn on Sunday, July 15, 2012 at 9:40 pm.
Hey folks! (Trying a slightly new intro… Ha!)
Sunday Best is back for Season 5 (told ya) and so am I and this year I’m bringing “Torrence’s Take” on each episode back! So yeah, that’s the intro, so let’s get started. If you’re new to this blog, please fill out a new member card and hand it to the usher in the back, for those who are returning please fill out a “Black Slider’s” card and place it in the baskets located at the end of the aisle along with your back tithes and offerings. Ok, I’m done for real now. Let’s go:
Did you realize that 2013 will mark 20 years since Kirk Franklin & The Family’s first CD (or maybe even tape) came out? Gosh, I’m feeling old right now! Anyway, with that in mind Sunday Best decided to start off the stage shows with a little mini tribute medley to our host Kirk Franklin. The contestants started out the medley with “Revolution” and I got to admit I chuckled a bit. Something about group numbers on reality singing competitions that always feel so awkward to me. The choreography, the whole “is this where I’m supposed to stand,” and the “can we just get to the real singing” looks on the contestants faces is priceless. Cheryl “Salt” James aka Salt from Salt-N-Pepa followed with her iconic verse from “Stomp” and say what you want but that song still goes pretty hard!!! Then original Family member Tamela Mann came through looking gorgeous and sang us under in about 35 seconds on the now classic Christmas hit “Now Behold The Lamb.” The way that woman sings makes absolutely no sense. Like none! Then to round things off, Mali Music came through to do a piece of he and Kirk’s new song “Give Me.” And you had to know Kirk was coming soon. Twas a good moment. (You like my Shakespeare?)
But I’m not crazy you want to get to the performances, so here we go! (I’m going to try to be a little more “brief” this season so those of you who know the words of prayer, pray my strength, hear? If you don’t know the words of prayer, go ahead and do something else but don’t go making up words and stuff because that’s not just right. See what I did there? Already rambling.. UGH!)
First up, Danetra Moore starts things off with “I Believe” by Sounds Of Blackness. This was pretty much almost perfect. Danetra to me is a straight up professional. And by professional, I don’t mean that they have any particularly unfair advantage; but there are some people who know just all the right things to do, similar to the pros. She knows how to stand, and what to do. Danetra has a RIDICULOUS range in the traditional sense of the word in that she can sing in the stratosphere and STAY UP THERE! But what did she do? She gave us just enough. She hit it, quit it but made sure she hit it hard before it was all done!
Next up, Ashford Sanders with “Something About The Name Jesus” by Kirk Franklin. Another natural professional. He’s good without even trying too hard. He’s got this effortless way of performing but it’s so effective. He’s also got a lot of personality and “swag” (trying to give up that word…) I try not to compare folks too much because everyone’s got their own thing but you know how Rance Allen kind of does that? Slays you with a run, a look and movement and he’s done? Yeah… That. And the glory is when he puts his hands on his hips, that’s when you know he’s about to kill. Once he did that, the song was officially demolished!
Behind Ashford was DC audition fave (and Digital VIP contestant) Jessica Dudley with the Commissioned classic “I’m Going On.” I really enjoyed this performance and the girl can just sing. And, there’s something just different about her that I can’t quite put my finger on. Although I love the fact that it’s clear she’s a church girl, she still has her own way.
Candace Pennington was up next with “He Wants It All” by Forever Jones. Now how do I explain this and make sense? The performance wasn’t bad and I can see her being a viable gospel artist, but I don’t know if Sunday Best is her lane. It’s not like the girl can’t sing because she can and unlike a lot of other church singers, I think she’s already studio ready and could record quickly. So many artists try (many unsuccessfully) to do a commercially viable hybrid of R&B and gospel but I think she really can do it. Did all of that make sense? I hope so!
After Candace was another digital VIP contestant and one of my personal favorites from the auditions, Jamarien Moore singing “The Presence Of The Lord” by Byron Cage. I thought the performance was good despite this clearly not being his kind of song. There was a slight little rhythm challenge in there that he recovered from and I felt bad that at this point in the competition the songs have to be so short because I could tell he was getting into it near the end of the performance and wasn’t ready for it to end. If he would have had just another 60 seconds or so, I think we all might be raving about that performance, but it was still pretty good!
Next up was Lois Blalock with “Please Be Patient With Me.” I have to resist the urge to call her Mother or Missionary Blalock. I gotta say, she killed that! There was a moment she kind of sang over herself but she’s Miss Lois, it works for her!
After Mother Blalock (ha!) was Brian Luther singing “A Move Of God Is On The Way” by Norman Hutchins. Clean and good! What I appreciate about him is that he doesn’t try to sing like anybody but himself. Give me authentic soul over trying too hard any day. I dig this dude!
Next up was Sara Escamilla (another Digital VIP contestant) singing the audition favorite “El Shaddai.” Ok, I’m being totally facetious here. Full disclosure, I kind of don’t like this song and thankfully not a lot of people auditioned with it even though it was on the list. (Except in St. Louis, they sang that song like it was the new Karen Clark-Sheard anthem or something, LOL.) Don’t ask me why I don’t like it, I can’t quite put my finger on it but everytime I hear it sounds like the person is just making it up as they go along.. Ok, back to the performance. So despite me not being a fan of this particular tune I think she did an amazing job once she opened up because I gotta admit, the opening was a little stiff. (I’m just gonna blame the song… Let me stop…) But her voice is soooooooo rich. Whew!
After Sara came another digital VIP contestant Breon Clary with what I like to call the Big Joker of Gospel spades “How Great is Our God.” Honestly, I think I would have preferred to have heard a less jazzed up version of the song. I understand trying to add some new life to a classic song, especially with a performance by someone so young but he’s got a more old school approach I think so maybe just singing it closer to the original would have worked out better. He’s got a great voice though, just wish he would have done something he was more comfortable with.
Finally, we end the show with yet another digital VIP contestant (don’t I know how to pick ‘em?), Alexis Spight. She performed “Nobody But Jesus” by Vanessa Bell-Armstrong. So umm yeah, looking for the words…. Help me somebody…. aopudiahkhaikhapio d8opahidakdiopapfioa epadsihaiopaiopdap3erh. That’s about all I can say. PHENOMENAL! Even with the few incidental notes that slipped out here and there, because she’s so dope they just worked. I’m a fan of this young lady. She can sing sing!
So what do you think? Do you agree? Hit me with your picks. But since this another 2 episode night, episode 4 is right behind it. Click to read my episode 4 recap!