It’s down to the wire on the newest season of revamped “Sunday Best,” and the final contestants in the gospel singing competition are weighing in on being less than one week away from their lives changing forever.
Last Sunday’s episode saw the three finalists Tiffany Andrews, Joshua Copeland and Melvin Crispell III sing two songs, one that was personal to the singers and another crafted by a team of hitmakers, including Grammy-nominated songwriter Makeba Riddick-Woods, who is responsible for songs by Beyoncé and Koryn Hawthorne and six-time Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Aaron Lindsey, who has worked with the likes of Marvin Sapp and Kenny Lattimore.
The latter performance requirement resulted in two new singles from the final two contestants: Copeland’s “Anything is Possible” and Crispell’s “Not The End of Your Story.”
But before Copeland and Crispell could become semifinalists, they had to perform their songs in front of the judges, which this week included Fantasia joining as a guest on the panel following the debut of her own new song.
“We were standing up there and it was three of us and really I just wanted to really pass out,” Copeland told Atlanta Black Star. “Jesus, take me now! But your nerves are on edge and just standing there and you’re just like, ‘Oh, God, we’ve got some amazing singers up here.'”
“I was so nervous!” adds Crispell. “If nervous had a look, it would be me.”
The pair may be in a competition, but they sang each other’s praises. Crispell said Copeland is “a beast,” while Copeland said his competitor “is a vocal monster.”
But for all the camaraderie, there were also difficult moments for each contestant. Copeland said performing New Edition’s “Can You Stand The Rain?” proved challenging because it’s a secular song.
“‘Oh God. What is the church gon’ say? What are the saints gon’ say about this? I’m gon’ get scorned to hell, I’m going to hell for sure now!” he says. “But once host Kirk [Franklin] … showed me how to perform the song versus paying attention to the words … it came off really good.”
For Crispell, he found learning the songs — particularly new ones — the hardest.
“Even if it was a song that I’ve heard the song before, trying to take it and making it my own,” he explains. “For example, when we did the remixes, the Robin Thicke song [“Lost Without U”]. Having to translate the secular words with the gospel words and just making it all flow together was very difficult, but it all worked out.”
But what hasn’t been worked out yet is who will take home the $50,000 and the title of “Sunday Best.” Voting remains open for viewers to choose between Crispell and Copeland through Saturday, August 24. The following day, the two men will perform for a final time before learning who has been crowned the winner. Ahead of that time, both men have pretty confident guesses as to who will prevail.
Asked who will win, Crispell and Copeland both pointed to themselves without missing a beat.
“It’s me, it’s me,” Copeland said, while Crispell continues pointing at himself with a laugh.
The season 9 finale of “Sunday Best” airs Sunday, August 25, at 8 p.m. on BET.