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Sunday Best

Sunday Best

  • Premiered: 
    October 2, 2007
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: BET
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Reality
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Talent
  • Tags: singing (gospel)

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Plot Synopsis

Hosted by gospel legend Kirk Franklin, SUNDAY BEST searches for the next great gospel singer, who will win a national recording contract, a cash prize, and an automobile. SUNDAY BEST holds auditions in cities across America for thousands of hopefuls, from which judges select 20 contestants to advance to the next round of competition in Atlanta. As these contestants attempt to sing their way to the finals -- and avoid being eliminated by the judges -- musical powerhouse Kim Burrell provides vocal guidance. Previous winners include: Crystal Aikin (Season 1), who won a national recording contract with Zomba Gospel, a 2008 Toyota Camry and a $300,000 Tide "Loads of Hope" prize package for her community; Y'Anna Crawley (Season 2), who won a national recording contract and a 2009 Lincoln MKS; LeAndria Johnson (Season 3), who won a national recording contract, a new 2010 Ford Taurus SHO and a cash prize courtesy of Degree Nature Effects; Amber Bullock (Season 4), who won a national recording contract, a cash prize and a new 2011 Ford Explorer; Joshua Rogers (Season 5); and Tasha Page-Lockhart (Season 6).

On Sunday, June 30, 2013, BET aired a sneak peek of auditions for Season 6 of SUNDAY BEST, immediately after the 2013 BET AWARDS and its after party. The one-hour preview was scheduled for 12:30am (late night). One week later, BET debuted the two-hour, Season 6 premiere on Sunday, July 7, 2013 at 8pm ET.

For its seventh season, BET aired a one-hour sneak peek of auditions after the 2014 BET AWARDS late night (2am ET/PT) on Sunday, June 29, 2014. One week later, BET broadcast the Season 7 premiere on Sunday, July 6, 2014 from 8-10pm ET/PT. The auditions started in Houston at New Light Christian Church, and then hopefuls in the Memphis (Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church), Atlanta (The Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church) and Washington, D.C. (Reid Temple A.M.E. Church) areas had their chance to stand out. Kierra Sheard joined SUNDAY BEST as a new judge, with Kirk Franklin returning as host. Plus, Season 7 boasted the return of judges Pastor Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams as well as contestant mentor Kim Burrell, who also judged the auditions. On Sunday, August 31, 2014 from 8-10pm ET/PT, BET premiered the Season 7 finale, as Philadelphia's Candace Benson and Cleveland's Geoffrey Golden faced off in a two-episode event that featured performances from Bishop Hezekiah Walker, actress/singer Tamela Mann and SUNDAY BEST's Yolanda Adams.

On Sunday, July 19, 2015 from 8-10pm ET/PT on BET, SUNDAY BEST returned for its eighth season, SUNDAY BEST ALL STARS, a special all-star edition featuring voter-picked contestants from the last seven seasons. In addition to the series' most memorable contestants, the show's host, Kirk Franklin; judges Donnie McClurkin, Yolanda Adams and Kierra Sheard; and mentor Kim Burrell all return for a new season. In the season opener (8pm), "Let the Praise Begin," Kirk reveals the 10 Sunday Best All Stars who lift their voices for their second chance at the SUNDAY BEST title. The premiere also features a special guest performance by Ricky Dillard, featuring the seven past SUNDAY BEST winners. Then, in the night's second episode (9pm), "Staying in Trust," Charles Jenkins performs his chart-topping gospel hit, "War," and the 10 contestants compete in song, but two are eliminated.

After a four-year break, SUNDAY BEST returned for its ninth season on Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 8pm ET/PT on BET. Kirk Franklin returns as host and mentor, along with Erica Campbell, Kelly Price, and Jonathan McReynolds as judges. The new season kicks off with in-person auditions in front of the judges as they narrow the field from 20 to the top 10. For the first time the contestants were able to use an online submissions process, after which the team lead a global search for this year's contestants, leading up to the much-anticipated live auditions in Dallas, TX, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, GA, and Detroit, MI, Lagos, Nigeria and for the first time-ever London, England and Johannesburg, South Africa, which were open to select international contestants.

Season 10 of SUNDAY BEST premiered on Sunday, July 5, 2020 at 8pm ET/PT on BET, with a simulcast on BET Her. Host/mentor Kirk Franklin and judges Erica Campbell, Kelly Price, and Jonathan McReynolds all return for the new season. This season's winner earns a recording contract with RCA Inspiration and a $50,000 cash prize. After auditions were held on February 14 (closed casting session) and February 15 (open casting session) at House of Hope Atlanta (Greater Traveler's Rest Baptist Church) in Decatur, GA. The first three episodes of Season 10 were taped in front of a live audience and band at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the next five episodes were recorded using technology, techniques and artist-generated content to keep the judges, contestants and crew safe during production.
On Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 8pm ET/PT, BET debuted the Season 10 finale of SUNDAY BEST, with a simulcast on BET Her. Kirk Franklin reveals who America voted as the winner: Stephanie Summers or Jada Spight. Plus, the finale performances by The Clark Sisters, Erica Campbell, Jonathan McReynolds, Kierra Sheard and Melvin Crispell III.


Other Titles

  • Season 8 title: Sunday Best All Stars

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by BET Studios