BET premiered its fifth season of Sunday Best last night. With returning judges Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams and new judge/returning mentor, Kim Burrell, you know they were not going to play. And they didn’t. Personally, I think they had too much fun clowning potential contestants. Although clearly wrong, I know I did. I guess it is the desire to impress current gospel greats, coupled with the opportunity to be on television.
For those who made the cut, may this season’s competition help with your development and musical aspitations. But for the scores of people who literally BOMBED during their auditions and others who are thinking about auditioning for future seasons, here are two suggestions that will help tremendously:
1. Sing something different! Classics such as “Amazing Grace” and “I Need Thee” should be officially off limits. This also applies to any songs by Adams, McClurkin, or Burrell. They do not need you to come and massacre their songs (notice that no one was crazy enough to break fool and audition with a Kim Burrell song).
2. There is such a thing as “too much soul.” Multiple runs (with no direction) and other types of unnecessary “oversouling” can be a complete turn off. One has to master the song first in order to add those inflection. Here’s a tip (as Yolanda Adams suggested): just sing the song outright.
And here’s a bonus for the judges and the network:
Make the audition process more stringent. Open auditions are good and add to filming for the season premiere, but many could argue that what we saw last night could have been condensed to an hour maximum. BET may even want to consider having future Sunday Best hopefuls submit videos which can be screened and processed by judges. Then the one who make the cut can venture to a select city to audition.
Like I said, just a few ideas.