The judges of the American Idol-style talent search series Gospel Dream have selected the top ten contestants to compete in the show's fourth season.
From the 36 who were selected during feeder auditions held this spring in nine-major U.S. markets, only the ten remained after last week's season premiere, which "had a little bit of everything," according to Gospel Dream promoters.
It had "rousing performance highs, disappointing performance lows; tears of joy, tears of sorrow; judges' praise, judges' criticism; contestants moving on, contestants going home; drama, comedy and much more."
"Talking backstage with a lot of the contestants I could see that they were very nervous and they really wanted to impress the judges," commented Melinda Watts, who won last year's competition.
"The judges are tough this year," she added. "Getting down to the final ten had to be tough but I am sure these are excellent choices and this competition is far from over!"
Now that they've been selected, the final ten will compete in front of a national television audience and the three-celebrity judge panel consisting of Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child, gospel artist J. Moss, and music industry executive Mitchell Solarek.
At the conclusion of the six-week series, airing on the Gospel Music Channel, only one will remain – the one who will receive record and music video exposure, among other prizes.
Gospel Dream airs every Wednesday night on GMC at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Hosting the series is Kimberly Locke, the first American Idol alumnae to debut No. 1 on the Billboard charts with a non-Idol single, and Mike Kasem of MTV's Top 20 Video Countdown.
The theme of this season's competition is "The Greatest Inspirational Songs of All Time."
The Top Ten Finalists:
Contestant (Age) – Hometown; Audition City
Amber Davies (18) – Brownsville, TN; Nashville, TN
Ashli Marie Pritchett (16) – Thomaston, GA; Atlanta, GA
Erin Lyder (24) – Boston, MA; Atlanta, GA
Jasmine Jackson (21) – Murfreesboro, TN; Nashville, TN
NeVar Massey (34) – Hampton, GA; Atlanta, GA
Rashelle Garrett (32) – Ceres, CA ; Oakland, CA
Robert Mauti (26) – Nashville, TN; Nashville, TN
Tim Stylez (27) – Atlanta, GA; Atlanta, GA
Tony LeBron (32) – Boca Raton, FL; Orlando, FL
Travis Lindseth (21) – Kirkland, WA; Seattle, WA