Friday, January 16, 2009

Sunday Best Finalists Make Official Debut

If you are a fan of Sunday Best (BET's version of American Idol), you may finally be relieved to know that Zomba Gospel has officially released albums of the finalist and runner-up. But there's more to the story - both projects dropped on music shelves on the same week.

Crystal Aikin, the crowned winner from the state of Washington, uncovers her self-titled project containing ten tracks layered with production from Kirk Franklin, PAJAM, Asaph A. Ward and Dre & Vidal. Though she confesses that the album contains something for everybody according to a December press release, the bulk of the project aims to reach the urban contemporary audience.

Chicago native Shari Addison, who cites her musical influences to be Shirley Caesar, Luther Vandross and Patti LaBelle, gives up a more traditional approach to her album and by staying transparent of the soulful personality she exerted while on the show. She was the runner-up, but it seems like she's getting more attention from radio and also from the press with her debut. gave Addison's new album a four (out of 5) star rating, while Aikin's album trailed behind with three stars. Her selected single, "No Battle, No Blessing," opened up in 2009 as the number one song added at R&R. GRAMMY-award winning producer Kevin Bond, whom worked on the lead single, is joined alongside other producers including Percy Bady, Donald Lawrence and Daniel Witherspoon.

Even though this is not a super battle like what we have come to expect from big shows like American Idol (remember Ruben and Clay or Justin and Kelly), Zomba is doing a good job in pitching a Holy Ghost duel between the two - with both albums being released on the same date. This is far from being declared a competitive war. But there's enough invested in the Sunday Best brand to determine if it will return to the airwaves after their newest season kicks off. In regards to Aikin and Addison, we just have to watch and wait to see what the final numbers will be next week to determine who come out on top. For Zomba and BET's sake, the battle is far from over.

Review: Crystal Aikin []
Review: Shari Addison []

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