BET's "American Idol" style show Sunday Best held auditions in Atlanta recently and an estimated 9,000 people showed up to try out. One of those hopefuls was Tasha Robinson who sung for Kirk Franklin when he came out to meet some of the contestants. She did such a great job that she was immediately asked to try out for the television judges, Mary Mary and Donnie McClurkin. On singing live for Franklin on camera Robinson stated "It caught me off guard because I didn't know he was coming my way but it was an opportunity and I had to take advantage of it." She says she has admired Franklin's music for years and it was honor to meet him in person.
Also on hand to judge the potential contestants was Jawn Murray, entertainment reporter for the Tom Joyner Morning Show. I chatted with him quickly about the talent here in Atlanta and his contribution to the show.
Tell me about the talent you have seen here in Atlanta?
It has been an amazing turnout for Sunday Best and it's been interesting. Each city has its own personality and Atlanta is very very different.
Really is that good or bad?
Um well I mean there is some good ones in the midst. There is a lot of people who really believe they have it but the it isn't the it that this show may necessarily be looking for.
So you said you wanted people to bring their A game here in Atlanta. Have you seen some that have brought their A game or maybe some with their B game?
I would say 90% of the people have brought their E and F game..
Some people bring their 'A' game and there have been one or two gems. There are some contestants I am seeing in multiple cities, so we try to coach them as best as we can in the earlier levels so that when they get to the TV stage they improve. With all compeition-based shows, you get those who think they have it and they don't. It's a fun process and you become connected to the people. You really want those who are in it and are committed to Gospel music to go as far as they can.
How did you become a judge for Sunday Best?
Neily Dickerson is the talent producer on the show and its solely because of her that I'm involved. This is actually my third year working as a preliminary judge for Sunday Best. I did it in DC two years ago and I said from that audition that Yanna Crawley would be the winner. I also put Jessica Reedy through when another judge was going to cut her and she was not going to get to the executive producer round. I saw something in her and told them that they had to advance her and she became the runner-up for that year. Literally like six of the top 10 that particular season came through from our room in D.C. so I felt directly connected to those (contestants). Elder Goldwire McClendon came through my room in Philly and I said he would be in the top five. I didn't know he would be the runner-up but he did exceptionally well, so I really get involved in it. The contestants as they go through the process communicate with us on Facebook and I really like to see how far they go (with the show).
Besides being a judge for BET, Jawn is also working on a Gospel project with EMI, cruising with Tom Joyner on the Fantastic Voyage and contributing to CNN and HLN.
Look for the new season of Sunday Best to air on BET soon. Check your local listings for times and dates.