Sup folks! Sunday Best is really moving along.Â I feel like we were just in ATL, Chicago, and DC auditioning singers and now we’re down to the final 4!Â Read the rest of this entry »
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It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for.Â Finally some real performances. No more 20 second acappella wonders!
The show opened with judges Mary Mary performing their hit “God In Me” with Kierra “KiKi” Sheard. I wasn’t mad.Â (That song is my own personal theme music.)Â But I did chuckle a bit when the 20 finalists came out to “reprise” it.Â I think the “oddness” (is that a word?) of it had to do with their nerves. This was the first real performance of the entire competition.Â I’m not going to hold that against them. I’m going to congratulate them for making it this far. Like I’ve said before, they have more guts than me!!!
Before I get into the performances though, I know Bebe Winans must have felt some kind of way when the contestants appeared. Those cardigans, dress shirts, and loosely worn ties looked awfully reminiscent of Clifton Ross’ geek chic audition outfit that he didn’t like so much.Â Â Oh yeah, and nice glasses Bebe! Ha!
Let’s dig in, shall we?
First up, Tammy Turner. I had high expectations for Tammy because I remembered her DCÂ preliminary auditions.Â She had some of those judges split on whether to advance her, but ultimately got to singÂ for Mary Mary and BeBe Winans. I thought she was “good”Â last night but I think my expectations probably got the best of me.Â That’s also a hard song to sing, so I’m still giving it up to her!
Next, Clifton Ross.Â That dude sang the life, death and resurrection out of that song!Â Clifton is one of those tenors with an amazing high range, but the placement of that song is still pretty difficult for even the highest and strongest of voices.Â But hear me, HE SANG THAT! And who knew he had a “growl” in him?! Amazing!
Camille Betton followed with a rendition of one of my favorite old school hymns, “Just A Closer Walk With Thee.”Â I agree with one of the judges in that I probably wouldn’t have necessarily chosen that song because itÂ doesn’t showcase all of the amazing voice she has. (I know, because someone got me a copy of her demo andÂ it’s now in rotation onÂ my iPod!) Â But by the time she got to the vamp, she was in her element and saved what could have easily been just anÂ OK song.
I must admit,Â Jeff Spain wasn’t necessarily on my list of fav’s in the competition. Normally,Â I’d advise most male singers to stay FAR AWAY from a lead vocal made famous by Walter Hawkins, especially someone new to gospel!Â But he definitely tailored Donald Lawrence’s “Seasons” to his voice and made a believer out of me. I’m curious to see if his lack of “church chops” will prove difficult for him in the long run. You know how y’all church folks can be!
Sidebar: Did anyone catch Danetra Moore on stage on background vocals? I told you you’d see more of her!Â She may have gotten turned down in all 3 audition cities, but homegirl got a gig out of the deal.Â *Tap ya neighbor and say it with me: “I’M NOT MAD.”*
It’s no secret that Jessica Reedy is one of my favorites in this competition and last night she did not disappoint. “Just A Prayer Away” is another hard song to sing.Â Yolanda Adams? Hello? You could hear a bit of a rough patch in the beginning of the song, but she worked it out.Â Her vocal control really is something special and she’s so sincere.Â Did you catch that low note on the end? Range goes both ways folks. Yeah, I’m a fan, sue me!
Now somebody tell me how Jonathan Johnson slipped by me.Â I don’t remember him from the audition episodes at all.Â He surprised me with his David Ruffin-esque rendition of “The Lord Will Make A Way.”Â (For those of you under the age of 30 or who have never watched Vh1 on a Saturday/Holiday, David Ruffin is the late and GREAT lead singer of The Temptations. Study to show yourselves approved asap.)
Latice Crawford laid me ALL THE WAY OUT with her almost flawless rendition of “Peace Be Still” made most famous by the vocal powerhouse that is Vanessa Bell-Armstrong.Â I watched the show at a friend’s house and almost got put out because I started throwing things!Â She did have this one “praise dancer” move she kept doing with her left hand that made me laugh, but that could not take away from her utter demolition (in a good way) of that song!Â She even gave me a little something to take with me throughout the week when sheÂ ad-libbed “He doesn’t abide by rules!”Â Oh yeah, Latice, last night was yours! What tongue was that you were speaking in BeBe? Ha!
Kalind Haynes sang Richard Smallwood’s “Center Of My Joy.” It wasn’t bad. Yeah, I want to say something else, but umm, that’s about it.
Audrey Lewis sang the Andrae Crouch and Sunday afternoon service solo standard, “Amazing Grace Shall Always Be My Song Of Praise.” Audrey’s voice and style are so youthful.Â When you see her, you don’t expect that voice to come from her.Â There’s something about her I just like.Â Can’t call it, but she makes me smile!
Zebulon Ellis took it straight to church and closed out the show with “God Is Standing By.” I would have left the high note out of the end, but he really sang well.Â He reminds me of that singer in your church that you wait for.Â It’ll be a long and drawn out service where you’re ready to hunch over, put up your right index finger and “tip out.” But you don’t, because you know Zebulon is on the program and you just have to hear what he’s going to do, and it will all be worth it.
So next week, we’ll find out who the 5 finalists from last night’s group will be.Â Here are my predictions:
1. Clifton Ross
2. Jessica Reedy
3. Latice Crawford
4. Zebulon Ellis
5. I can’t call the 5th one, but it’s between Jeff Spain and Camille Betton
What do you think? Did I get anything wrong? Let a brotha know!
*Passes the mic to Vashawn*
What up people!
Itâ€™s VaShawn Mitchell with my â€ś4-centsâ€ť on Sunday Best â€śEpisode 2.â€ťÂ Let me begin by giving big-ups to my boy Torrence for bringing us the gospel truth and nothing but!Â Â Â
First and foremost, let me get this out the way, I am on a personal mission to have the saints take the â€śsâ€ť off of EYES!Â Civilla Martin (the writer) & Charles Gabriel (Musical Arranger) done rolled out of their graves.Â â€śHIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROWâ€ťâ€”singular, not plural!Â Now that thatâ€™s out the way let me move this train.Â
A unicycle, â€śCan you believe it?â€ťÂ BeBe was wrong for telling her to finish the song while she rode. LOLâ€”comedy!Â I believe it was Ericka that almost took me outta here and said, â€śCome back when Sunday Best becomes a circus!â€ťÂ Then the laughter kept coming with a rap version of â€śHis Eye is on the Sparrow.â€ťÂ Itâ€™s amazing some of the people that will get the nerve to audition. And, to top it off, she said she was not a singer!Â So much comedy!
Finally, a breath of fresh air, Latice, made it to the next round with her melodic voice.Â I was smiling because she was a favorite of mine from the prelim.Â Â I look forward to seeing her progress throughout the show.Â
John McClureâ€”yo this dudeâ€™s voice is amazingly smooth.Â It was great to hear him sing and not try all the runs and high notes in the book.Â Â I have to admit, although I am from Chicago and currently reside in Atlantaâ€”D.C. had some great talent.Â It was hard to narrow it down with so many great singers.Â Â
On another note, if we could have judged on fashion we might have wiped out half the crowd at the door. â€śWhat were some of yaâ€™ll thinking?â€ťÂ Â Speaking of fashion DONâ€™Tâ€™Sâ€¦ Clifton deceived the judges according to â€śSimon,â€ť oops I mean BeBe Winans. His look didnâ€™t match his singing ability.Â Oh, but when he opened his mouth this brother just can sang!Â
Danetra Mooreâ€”I guess she said sheâ€™s gonna go for the trinityâ€¦Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I love persistence. Keep believing in your dreams! LOL! Shameless plug, but I am â€śfor serious!â€ť
A stand out talent for me was Tammy Turner. Itâ€™s amazing she almost didnâ€™t make it out of her second round.Â The judges were debating on whether she should go through or not.Â They asked her to sing several times, but I personally was convinced there was something that made her uniquely stand out from the rest.Â I donâ€™t know if she will be Sundayâ€™s Best, but Iâ€™m sure she will bring attention with her style.Â P.S.â€”If u read this I remember you from singing at the Apollo. Shhhh! I wonâ€™t tell the saints.Â They just wonâ€™t understand…LOL!
Yâ€™Annaâ€” I canâ€™t say much about you because I am Bapticostal and it donâ€™t take much to make me dance. Donâ€™t push me I will dance! Anointed…thatâ€™s all I can say.
Lastly, I have to admit that I didnâ€™t get a chance to see Jessica Reedy in the preliminary round. So, my first time hearing her was on the show and OMG.Â She just got it!Â I thank God for you. This girl is destined to become a national favorite in the show.Â The world is waiting on this type of anointing, coupled with that powerful testimony.Â
This has been my little piece on â€śEpisode 2,â€ť but before I sign-off I want you to keep on the look-out for Bridgett Campbell-Croft & Byron Nichols. They didnâ€™t make it to the finals, but both are phenomenal.Â To everyone else, peace, and until next time rememberâ€” WHATS COMING FOR YOU IS STILL BETTER THAN WHATS BEEN!Â
*takes mic from Vashawn*
Much thanks to my bro Vashawn for giving his “4 cents.” (Those Bapticostals always got to add EXTRA I tell ya!)
Check back a little later today to hear the ENTIRE new Tonex album, in stores today!