Torrence’s Take On Sunday Best 6: Episode 3Published by Torrence Glenn on Sunday, July 14, 2013 at 9:51 pm.
After an intense set of auditions, we’re at the point in the competition where it gets really real, the stage. No long preamble, let’s just get right to it!
Episode 3 opened with a live performance from Judge Donnie McClurkin with the ever familiar Victory Chant and then went to his new single I Am Amazed, but instead of Preashea Hilliard and Erica Campbell, he was joined by his fellow judges Yolanda Adams and CeCe Winans. It’s always good to see them on stage together. Now let’s get into the contestant performances!
1. Alexis Hollins – Pray by CeCe Winans
Alexis was an Atlanta Digital VIP contestant so naturally I was rooting for her. (You can watch her entire preliminary audition here.) At the initial part of the song I think nerves plays a big part is making her seem uncomfortable and she didn’t really “give it” at first, but as the song wound down I think she found herself and started to sound really good. You can also tell this wasn’t a song she’d typically sing.
2. Tyler Little – Show Me Your Glory by Earnest Pugh
Tyler CAN SING! Hear me? Now I notice the judges loved his performance but I can hear that it still wasn’t his “best.” Tyler’s nerves kind of crept up on him and made him hit a few incidentals that I don’t think he intended to but his ear and recovery are so precise, you almost didn’t notice them. That’s a good thing. He also kind of has a nervous tick that I noticed where no matter what he’s singing he shakes his head as if to say “no.” It’s pretty funny. But overall, Tyler killed.
3. Temika McClellan – I’m Encouraged by Thomas Whitfield
Let me tell you a story. Temika’s a Philadelphia Digital VIP contestant so like Alexis, of course I was rooting for her. (You can watch her entire preliminary audition here.) But that’s not the only reason. I’m a New Yorker and an old school one. When I’m in town I primarily take the subway to get where I need to. People may not realize this but I don’t only work in front of the camera, I get up and go to the BET offices every day when I’m not traveling. A few years ago, while working out of one of our other office locations, me and my friend Ivory Jones (Hey Ivory!) were riding the subway home together and were stopped in our tracks by a group of sisters (or who we thought were sisters) singing gospel on the train platform. Now, this is New York City and people sing in the streets, on the subways, etc. all the time. And many of them sing gospel. There was nothing special about that. What was special is that these girls singing sang so good, so powerfully and with such conviction that you had no choice but to stop and listen. We stood there and listened to them and talked about them all the way home. Over the years, I’d run into them again and again and sometimes get home 2 and 3 hours late because I had been standing on the subway platform, letting trains go by so I could listen to these girls sing. All the girls sounded wonderful but there was a clear “lead singer” and that young lady was Temika McClellan. Over the years I’d listen to her and knew that one day if I had my way I wanted to help her career in some way. Keep in mind, at this time there was no Sunday Best. As the years went by when there was a Sunday Best I’d always say I hope I run into those girls again, they should audition for Sunday Best. It always seemed that when it was around time for Sunday Best auditions, I coincidentally wouldn’t run into them. Then I didn’t see them for a long time. Until one day this YouTube video started going around Facebook and twitter about this anointed girl killing in the subway. The video found me and I just started screaming and calling all my friends going “That’s the girl! That’s the girl I was talking about!” I posted the video and friends re-posted it and I asked all of social media, if anybody could find this girl, I think she’d be great for Sunday Best. Well, a few folks joined me in my quest to find her. Some I knew but it was mostly people I didn’t know. They were just as touched by her video as I was and agreed that she would be great on Sunday Best. They found her and worked to get her to the Philadelphia auditions (Shout out to rising gospel star Chris Jackson) and as expected, she blew me and Y’Anna Crawley away as well as everyone who heard her sing that day. But Philly, we have a problem. Somehow there was a misunderstanding and she left the building before her main audition with the judges. When it came time for her to audition, they called her name and she was nowhere to be found. She had left the building and was on her way back to New York thinking that she had done her best but it was all over. Once we tracked her down, it was too late, she was already back in New York. Her only recourse was to come try again next year or come to another city and audition. But what I also learned upon finally meeting Temika was that at the time she wasn’t in a position to come to another city because she didn’t have a place to live at the time and was struggling to make ends meet which is why she would sing on the subway. She barely made it to Philadelphia so coming to another city wasn’t really an option. I was heartbroken as was she. Seeing her audition for Sunday Best was a dream come true for me, so to get so close and have it not happen? I was DEVASTATED. But thankfully, those same friends and supporters worked with her and got her to Atlanta to try again and the rest is history. She was chosen to be in the top 20.
Now with all of that said, you can really see why I was rooting for Temika. Unfortunately, I think Temika had some trouble hearing herself, along with nerves, which caused her to struggle with her pitch. So overall it wasn’ther best performance but I think you can still hear her potential although this is a competition so we can only hope for the best. But either way, Temika is a beast and I love to hear her sing!
4. Quan Howell – All I Need by Brian Courtney Wilson
I really enjoyed Quan’s performance. Tt was very clean. And he’s also got great tone. I agree with Donnie in that I might have wanted just a tad bit more from him but I think it was an excellent start. Sometimes too much is too much! Quan knows HOW to sing.
5. Paula Champion – Can You Reach My Friend by Helen Baylor
More nerves, I’m going to rebuke this nervous demonic stronghold! (Ha! So churchy.) But I could tell Paula was nervous and wasn’t as clean she may have wanted. But that woman’s TONE. GOOD LORD! That tone! BUTTAH!
6. David Michael – Praise Is What I Do by Shekinah Glory Ministry
Heard the nerves again… There’s vibrato and then there’s a case of the shakes. At the very beginning you can hear it but he fought through that thing and turned it into a pretty great performance. Especially when he opened up and let us hear some of his belt. He won me over by the end of that.
7. Linda Bell – The Holy Ghost by Milton Brunson
Linda’s got all the charisma and Holy Ghost it takes to set a church on FIRE! I just think for this performance she wasn’t’ comfortable with the arrangement. That’s the thing with Sunday Best, you can’t always sing songs the way you know them because you just don’t always have that kind of time. You’ve got to adjust and adapt and I don’t think she fully adjusted to not being able to “work it” the way that she probably wanted to or could have. It also might have been a little better if she’d have taken they key down one notch. I don’t know if she was hoarse or not but there were moments where she peaked and if she had been just a tad bit lower, I don’t think we would have heard those as much. I still enjoyed it because she sang herself happy, hear?
8. Kristen Lowe – That Name by Karen Clark-Sheard
I love Kristen’s voice (reminds me of Beyoncé a little bit) but I don’t think she was ready tonight. She’s got the voice but I have to echo Yolanda’s sentiments that all the runs and even the pronunciation at times weren’t complete. Kristen’s really young though and I think if she keeps singing, she’ll get past the nerves and lack of confidence that I think would have given her a better performance.
9. Jamel Lewis – Cover Me by 21:03
I’m just gonna stop bringing up nerves. They were just everywhere tonight. But despite the nerves I think Jamel had a good performance, it was just kind of unexpected. He’s got that falsetto down and will put it in places where you’re not expecting it so he keeps you going “oh o.k., that’s what we’re doing today. Got it.” I still think there’s some colors in his voice we haven’t gotten to hear yet so hopefully he makes it through to the next round so we can.
10. Yakiima Shepard – Testimony by Clay Evans
Yakiima was a Chicago Digital VIP Contestant so I already was very aware of what could bring. (You can watch her entire preliminary audition here.) And to me, she brought it. She’s kind of unassuming in her approach. She doesn’t really go hard with a lot of theatrics but if you listen, she was KILLING! The only critique I might have is sometimes singers get bogged down with adlibs or a lack thereof. She didn’t change her adlibs up much and she could have but there was some really slick singing in there. Go back and watch and see if you catch it! I’m a fan!
Well that’s it’s for episode 3 and the first 10 contestants. Yeah, I know I know. Normally we get this all done in one night but this season you’re going to have to wait til next week to see the remaining contestants and see who makes it to the top 10. So until then, tell me what you thought of this episode. Did the judges get it right? Did I? Let me know!