No other offering among talent TV brings music and ministry together in the moving way that “Sunday Best” does, and never has that been more evident than in Season 7. Finalists Geoffrey Golden and Candace Benson and Geoffrey Golden once again demonstrated true artistry, and that they weren't there just to gain a title—they were there to minister in anointing.
Hezekiah Walker opened the first part of the evening with a rousing praise medley, and one of the sweeter moments between the contenders came near commercial breaks, when Golden and Benson playfully sang to each other to the tune of “Just the Two of Us” with lyrics describing their journeys. Geoffrey performed “Whom Shall I Fear,” for the first time, accompanying himself on piano, and the song’s message never came through so purely or powerfully, even with the singer never standing. The moment was so potent that Judge Donnie McClurkin broke into spontaneous duet with Geoffrey, truly singing in the spirit, before comment that Golden “stands alone” in the way he uses his gifts, and Judge Kierra Sheard pronouncing that Geoffrey was “making hits already.” Judge Yolanda Adams pleaded that the 20-year-old never forsake his heart for ministry with “we can't lose you,” reminding him and Candace that the panel, and their vocal coach, Kim Burrell, will be there in times ahead.
For this occasion, host Kirk Franklin abandoned his usual offbeat attire for the elegant, and played piano as R&B star, Joe, performed Lionel Richie's “Jesus Is Love,” another moving reminder that artists and music across genres still root themselves in faith. Candace Benson came on, playing piano with “I Won’t Go Back,” reaching back to her own past to let listeners know that they can move on in faith, no matter the pain behind. Donnie McClurkin was holding back tears, as were so many in the audience, along with Franklin. Yolanda Adams praised that just by Candace's control of the notes, coming down from high to gently resting in the power of the chorus, she had “ushered someone at home into the presence of the Lord.” Ms. Adams herself offered her own anointing when she sang “The Middle of It All,” which approached genuine sermon in song.
The final hour was opened with Ricky Dillard and New Generation doing “So Amazing,” before Tamela Mann took worship to another level with “I Can Only Imagine.” The quiet surge was palpable even before Candace Benson came to deliver a bold and very relatable selection of her own arrangement of India Arie’s “He Heals Me,” a proclamation of Jesus’ love moving above and beyond in the believer’s most broken moments, and His power across the world. Kierra Sheard , particularly picked up on the world vision embraced in the song’s ministry. Judges unanimously praised both the song and singer, and let Benson know this was only the beginning of greater blessing ahead. Geoffrey Golden chose to close with a song by his mentor, Walter Hawkins, “When the Battle Is Over,” and the whole audience became a revival meeting again. Mega-worship leader, Marvin Sapp, could not have chosen a more perfect ending song before the final announcement than “One Thing,” and with only one thing left to do, Kirk Franklin announced the voters decision of Golden as the season’s “Sunday Best,” as the young man held his upward gaze and point to the heavens while family embraced. More than “the black Pavarotti,” this young singer has enthusiastically embraced his own mantle of ministry to his generation, leaving gospel in very talented hands.
Additional Source: “Sunday Best” broadcast, August 31, 2014 BET Networks.