A Virgin Islands-born worship and youth leader was crowned winner of the Gospel Dream talent competition Wednesday, besting the other two remaining contenders in the television series' finale.
Tony LeBron, 33, of Boca, Fla., emerged victorious after following the advice of last year's winner, Melinda Watts.
"Melinda just encouraged me to just to sing from my heart, to let everything out on the stage, just to give it my all to the Lord, and that's what I did. And so she just encouraged me and so I'm grateful for her words before the show," recalled LeBron.
Watts, in return, said Lebron has "an amazing gift, and it's so obvious in everything that you do."
"Every step that you took, it was like I could feel your connection with God first and foremost. And it was like He was really using you," she said. "I believe you're going to go far."
Wednesday's season finale put a cap on fourth season of the six-week American Idol-style competition, which has been airing on the fast-growing Gospel Music Channel.
This year's winner was selected by a panel of judges that included Michelle Williams from the Grammy-winning group Destiny's Child; J. Moss, one of Gospel music's most prolific talents; and Mitchell Solarek, one of the music industry's most respected executives.
The theme for this season was "The Greatest Inspirational Songs of All Time."