(Photo: PRNewsFoto / BET Networks, Ben Rose)
Viewers of “Sunday Best” picked a 27-year-old single mother from Orlando, Fla., to be the winner of the gospel singing competition's third season following Sunday’s one-hour season finale.
Of the more than two million total votes that viewers had cast Sunday, LeAndria Johnson picked up the larger percentage, giving her the win over fellow finalist Elder Goldwire McLendon, the 79-year-old from Philadelphia.
“I am so overwhelmed!” exclaimed Johnson following the announcement of her win. "This is unbelievable.”
After giving thanks to the various figures in her life, Johnson went on to thank the voters, who she said “play a major part in my dream coming true.”
“You don’t know what this means to me,” remarked the praise and worship leader.
Johnson, who lost her home in the mortgage crisis prior to joining the competition, was reportedly motivated to take a shot by her children and the question of where they would live.
After deciding to head out to New Orleans for “Sunday Best” auditions, Johnson quickly became a fan- and judge-favorite, showcasing the vocals she had developed since the age of two, when she first started singing gospel music.
“She’s worked hard and sung us crazy all season long. I believe the gospel music industry is gaining a game changer,” commented Torrence Glenn, a blogger for BET, which airs “Sunday Best.”
“I believe God has great things in store for her,” added McLendon after Johnson’s win.
“She is simply awesome,” he exclaimed.
Johnson also had words for McLendon, whom she says she had learned from over the course of the 12-week competition.
“You are such an inspiration, and you have taught me to never give up, and always follow my dreams,” Johnson commented. “Can’t wait to see your name in lights!”
Along with the title of “Sunday Best,” Johnson’s win gives her a national recording contract, 2010 Ford Taurus SHO and a cash prize courtesy of Degree Nature Effects.
Since its debut, “Sunday Best” has grown to become one of BET's top-rated shows.