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Sunday’s Best episode this week gave us a taste of the divine, entertaining and inspiring. Kirk Franklin opened the show with his hot single “I Smile”. This week’s show showcased the talents of just 10 of the top 20.

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The winner of Sunday Best will not only receive the title, they will also receive a 2011 Ford Explorer, a cash prize and a national recording contract! Make sure to follow @Elev8Official on twitter on Sunday night during the show. We will live tweet! When the show is over come hang with us at Elev8.com for a recap and discussion of the show.

Who do you think will win?

Tonight’s showcased Top 10 were:

Toneisha Jones Harris, 35

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Audition City: Atlanta, Georgia

With her trademark gospel flower corsage, Toneisha Jones Harris can brighten up any room she enters.  At 13, Harris was offered a recording contract, but her mother decided that it would be best if her daughter complete her education first.  As an adult, Harris represented the State of Maryland in Vickie Winans’ Rising Star Competition, where she placed 2nd overall.  She has also performed in several stage plays and musicals.  During the recent recession, Harris experienced some rough economic challenges and is excited about making the most of her appearance on “Sunday Best”.

Song: Here I am To Worship

What the Judges Said:

Donnie McClurkin “ You got a little lost”

Erica  I feel like it could have been better if it was simple

Tina You should have  showed more passion

Michael Washington, 30

Hometown:  Los Angeles, California

Audition City:  Los Angeles, California

Michael Washington is a singer, arranger and producer.  Born in Covina, CA, Washington developed his talents in church where he sang in the choir.  Living in Los Angeles, he has appeared in such major projects as the “Pop Stars,” the “Wade Robinson Project”, the Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez movie, “Gigli”, and “The Fighting Temptations”.  Washington also directed the San Gabriel Valley Choir leading it to a 1st place win in the McDonald’s Gospel Fest 2001 choir competition.  Presently, Washington performs in several shows for Disney at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.

Song: Great Is Your Faithfulness

What the Judges Said:

Erica: That was good and polished

Donnie:That was good

Tina:That was good

Andrea Helms, 37

Hometown:  Dallas Texas

Audition City: Dallas, Texas

Andrea Helms is a triple threat for Jesus.  She’s a preacher’s daughter, a preacher’s wife and a pastor.  Growing up, her childhood home was filled with music and ministry, as her parents served the Lord faithfully as pastors for over 35 years.  Nicknamed “The First Lady,” Helms met her husband at the tender age of 13.  They have pastored for 13 years and are currently serving as the pastors of Friendship Church in Denton, Texas. There, Helms also serves as the Minister of Music.  She resides with her family in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas.

Song: “Because Of Who You Are”

What the Judges Said:

Erica “You were awesome. “

Tina”I believe everything you sang. You delivered.

Donnie” You were in the presence of The Lord”

Chase Stancle, 26

Hometown:  Grand Rapids, Michigan

Audition City:  Los Angeles, California

Chase Stancle wanted to make sure that his voice was heard when he traveled from Michigan to Los Angeles to audition for “Sunday Best”.  Sure, Atlanta may have been closer, but Stancle wanted to give himself multiple chances to win.  Turns out, it only took one audition for the judges to tell him yes.  This married father of three works at Kentwood Community Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he serves as the Family Ministries Worship Arts Director.  Stancle wants to live in God’s will, whether it be singing before a small church of 50 or a stadium of thousands.

What the Judges Said:

Erica: There  was something missing

Tina: You did a pretty good job

Donnie It was missing something.

Amber Bullock, 26

Hometown:  St. Louis, Missouri

Audition City: Dallas, Texas

Before she could talk, Amber Bullock was singing. Whether it was at her native church in St. Louis or in her newly adapted home of Dallas, she always has a song in her heart.  Bullock attended Oakwood University, where she sang second alto in the school’s elite choir.  After college, Bullock landed in Dallas, TX, where she now calls home.  Being cast as a top 20 contestant couldn’t have come at a better time for Bullock because she recently totaled her car and has been sleeping on a friend’s couch. Winning the title would enable her to better provide for her two-year-old daughter.

What the Judges Said:

Erica: you were amazing and anointed.

Tina: You killed that

Donnie: Nothing seemed to stop you. I want to hear more

Carlington Roberts, 34

Hometown:  McDonough, Georgia

Audition City:  Atlanta, Georgia

A native of St. Mary’s, Jamaica, Roberts grew up in a family of singers.  He idolized his father and once he was older he decided to continue singing and being a praise leader.  Roberts hopes to repeat his Caribbean success story stateside having earned multiple Caribbean Gospel Music Award nominations and won the Top Caribbean Gospel Male Singer award in 2005.  After enduring what he calls a rough marriage, Roberts once contemplated suicide, but did not because of a voice that told him to “stand”.  He honored this voice by auditioning with Donnie McClurkin’s “Stand”.

Song: Lord I Lift Your Name On High

What the Judges Said:

Erica: I thought you were great.  I liked your energy

Tina: I loved the energy.

Donnie:  You have a distinct sound.

Shanandolan Reynolds, 22

Hometown:  Dallas, Texas

Audition City:  Dallas, Texas

Everything about Shanandolan Reynolds relates to her hometown of Dallas, Texas.  She was born and raised there and auditioned there for “Sunday Best”.  A graduate from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and Cedar Valley Community College, both in Dallas, Reynolds is currently a full-time Worship Arts student at Dallas Christian College.  Win or lose, Reynolds considers it a blessing to be able to minister to so many people through television.

Song: Joyful Joyful Joyful

What the Judges Said:

Erica: It didn’t grow.

Tina:  I think you have something.

Donnie:  It was really unique.

Michael Pugh, 35

Hometown:  Brooklyn, New York

Audition City: Atlanta, Georgia

Raised in the church, Brooklyn’s Michael Pugh has been singing his entire life.  With his grandmother and parent’s encouragement, he has developed into a gifted singer who leads his church choir on Sundays and sings professionally at weddings, birthday parties and church-related events, all in the midst of working full time as a tax preparer.  He has even opened for such artists as “Sunday Best” judge Pastor Donnie McClurkin.  Pugh auditioned for the show because his sister purchased him an airline ticket and demanded that he audition.

Song:“Thank you Lord”

What the Judges Said:

Erica: Thank you

Tina:  Yes sir.. you  came on with it amen

Donnie:  you are a gospel singer

LaTrice Smith, 35

Hometown: Macon, Georgia

Audition City: Atlanta, Georgia

Making it to the “Sunday Best” audition was a life changing moment for LaTrice Smith, having recently suffered through what she calls an abusive marriage that left her nearly penniless and homeless.  For this Buffalo, New York native, the cold winters sent her packing to Macon, Georgia, where she currently resides.  For Smith, music has always been her refuge and it remains so today.

Song:Walk With Me

What the Judges Said:

Erica:  I feel like you were trying to push. You were over doing it.

Tina:  I didn’t feel it

Donnie:  You had a couple of pitch things

Rikki Valentino LaFontaine, 47

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Audition City: Los Angeles, California

After years of singing background vocals for the likes of Enrique Iglesias, Yolanda Adams and Richard Smallwood, Rikki Valentino La Fontaine is now ready to step center stage with a solo career.   Originally from Dallas, Texas, LaFontaine made history when he was elected the first ever Mr. Prairie View A&M University.  LaFontaine currently resides in Los Angeles, California, but performs all over the world.

Song: I Need Thee

What the Judges Said:

Erica:  It was good but it wasn’t fantastic

Tina:  It didn’t feel complete

Donnie:  It made everyone think that’s it

BET’s “Sunday Best” Recap

Here is a video of Michael Pugh before Sunday’s Best:

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