*Leandria Johnson has “leaped into her destiny.” Crowned the season three winner of BET’s SUNDAY BEST, the 27-year-old Orlando, FL native discovered last night literally what it means to gain from losing.
The praise and worship leader came to the New Orleans auditions with nothing but the clothes on her back, but left with the title “Sunday Best,” keys to a 2010 Ford SHO and a future overflowing with professional possibilities.
Viewers voting online, by text, or phone sealed her fate as the third woman to win the title in the three year run of the show, while many followers commented online they wanted her opponent to break the all female winning streak. The man to beat was 79-year-old Elder Goldwire McClendon of Philadelphia, PA.
Christians have seen Leandria Johnson’s type before in the pages of scripture. Her journey to Sunday Best unfolded like the familiar biblical account of the woman with the “issue” of blood who desperately pressed her way through a crowd just to touch the hem of Christ’s garment. In an interview Johnson testified that her issue was losing her home to foreclosure a day before she auditioned.
Despite this unfortunate news, Johnson decided to pray and press her way to the New Orleans Convention Center to compete for a chance at having a better life. Wearing flip flops and gym socks and an outfit she’d pulled together from clothing she’d blindly tossed in a bag, Johnson was almost eliminated because she did not look the part according to show Judge Erica Campbell.
After putting her spin on a congregational hymn belting “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it,” the judges lauded her with a standing ovation, unanimously convinced that she possessed vocal star power.
Show judge Yolanda Adams told Johnson about her powerful voice, “I feel the pain of you, but I feel the victory of you [sic].”
The emotional dichotomy Adams’ words capture was clearly reflected in Johnson’s song choices during the finale. She performed a trio of songs including “I Love the Lord,” “He Was There,” and “In the Midst of It All,” which happens to be a Yolanda Adams classic and is the singer’s personal banner.
There was a time when the vocalist didn’t want to live she confessed in a one-on-one conversation with Burrell, but she believes God kept her “in the midst of it all.”
Thankful she’s still here, Johnson, also a mother of three, encouraged other struggling young women to never give up.
“It’s never over and always remember you can do all things through Christ which strengthens you,” she said.
A living testament to those words Leandria Johnson has a new song, “I Shall Leap Into My Destiny” an inspirational single she performed after being newly branded “Sunday Best.”
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