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via The Gospel According to Torrence

We’re baaaaaaackkkkkkkk! It seems like it’s been forever and just like yesterday all at the same time since we last crowned Y’Anna Crawley as the winner of Sunday Best 2. Now the search of the next Sunday Best is ON again! Well, the wait is over. So let’s just get down to it.

For the first time in BET and Sunday Best history, we took the show international.  The first auditions for Sunday Best 3 were in Lagos, Nigeria.  In this episode we welcome new Sunday Best Judge and one of the best male gospel singers ever Pastor Donnie McClurkin. Our guest judges are every singer’s favorite singer Kim Burrell, and Muyiwa Olanrewaju, a  Nigerian CCM artist from the UK.

Now, I won’t be able to discuss every single audition for obvious reasons so I’m just going to hit some highlights that stuck out to me… And trust me, some of them STUCK OUT! I’m putting this out there now, I’m sure I will BUTCHER some of these names so just let it go. Ha!

Priscilla, who was the very first in line to audition, was surprisingly good.  I really enjoyed her.  As I watched the auditions I tried to essentially “close my eyes” to the fact that the contestants were from Nigeria and see how I felt about their performances objectively, and this girl made my ears pretty happy.  She was clean and her runs were kind of on.

With that said… Who knew that gospel singers in Africa would run sooooo much?  You can tell they’ve been watching  American singers REAL CLOSELY.  I was thinking that I’d hear more pure voices and melodies from the contestants in Nigeria, but after what I saw in the other cities I guess I can’t be surprised.

One of my favorite moments in the show was Funmi Oduyemi’s audition. She came in and just sounded “OK.”Then Kim Burrell got up there and tagged teamed with her and it was a whole nother audition.  I have to give Funmi props for even having the nerve to sing with Kim Burrell with any amount of effectiveness.  Kim will make singing veterans shudder so as an amateur to hold any bit of your own is a feat!

***Sidebar*** It’s good and sad to know that tone deafness is universal, because some of these folks need to go usher or something!  The dude who auditioned and tried to do a step show at the same time is a perfect example. Yes, the lights’ going out was a sign, but not a wonder. It was time to go!

One of the most “interesting” auditions of the night was the Nigerian girl Christiana who claimed she was one of the few or only “White” contestants.  Ummm, I’m not sure I’d call that “White” but perhaps there’s some cultural difference there that I just don’t understand, but I think most would agree she was a “lighter skinned” Black girl.  Even a friend of mine who’s from Nigeria texted me and said “uhh Torrence, that girl is Black, she’s just probably light skinned or albino.” I agreed but I digress.  We’ll just call her “beige” and leave it at that.  But vocally, I kind of dug her and I think Donnie and Kim could hear it too. Muyiwa of course didn’t like it but he didn’t like anything (we’ll get to that later.)  But yes, Christiana you could tell has a gift and with some development she just may be a beast. She kind of reminded me of Marsha Ambrosius from Floetry.  They have similar “Indian chant” runs.

The Kirk Franklin impersonator was DEAD ON! Sorry Kirk, he was!!! Too bad that when he auditioned he made the mistake of singing with choir vibrato!

Brother and sister Marvelous and Joy kind of made me smile. Something about them was really sweet.  Marvelous did sort of make me shake my head though with blaming his cold for his inability to shut up when the judges said “Thank you.” Perhaps he should have blamed it on an ear infection. But I did like his tone. Joy just might have something too, but it wasn’t necessarily “Sunday Best.” I’d suggest they get together and try and be the Nigerian Bebe & Cece Winans. That just might work.

Everyone’s favorite audition of the night was probably Peter! Unlike Peter in the Bible, this one should have NEVER walked out on the proverbial water to audition. I really think he might be a little “touched.” He scared me to death.  His rendition of “Jesus touched me” proved that while Jesus was touching other areas, he OBVIOUSLY skipped over his voice. And the “air hump?” NO SIR!!!!

Ekeng was probably one of my favorite auditions of the evening.  It was plain, clear and simple. Something I expected more of from the Nigeria auditions but didn’t get a lot of.  Those runs were taking me out of here the whoel night! Like I’ve said in my tips video, JUST SING THE SONG. PLUS, you’re singing for Kim Burrell, you should be scared for your life to run in front of her!

I’ll probably get in trouble for this, but I have to say it. Muyiwa shouted and tap danced on EVERY last nerve I possess.  I’m gonna assume he’s somebody big in Nigeria and the UK, because he made his way on the show for a reason. But after some research, I’m gonna need him to not be so harsh. Because ummm, I heard him sing on Celebration Of Gospel a few years ago and looked at a few more clips from other shows. Half the singers he tried to say “no” to could outsing him. Piers Morgan and Simon Cowell you are not. Sorry buddy.  Is it just me?  Now I’m all for tough judging, but there were moments where I think he was just hating.  Oh well, what’s done is done, but I’m glad Kim Burrell and Pastor Donnie were there to give some balance, because I’m not sure what we’d be getting on Season 3 if it were left to 3 judges like Muyiwa.

Well that’s it for this week. Next week, we go to Detroit!  Plus, I’ll have exclusive video from the Digital VIP Suite sponsored by Ford where myself, Ledisi, Jessica Reedy, and Camille Betton were the judges. It was a HOOT!

What did you think of tonight’s episode?