- Faith & Family
It’s not unusual for crowds to burst into applause during one of Royalty Entertainment’s concerts. And with artists attempting to win cash prizes up to $1,000 at the Battle of the Praises competition on Saturday, Jan. 7th at the IBB Miami Auditorium, performances were even more show-stopping then usual.
The Christian entertainment company’s first Battle of the Praises invited everyone from amateur to semi-professionals in a variety of genres including solo singers, choirs, spoken word artists, musicians and liturgical dancers to compete against one another.
“We wanted to put something in the airwaves that would model the X-factor but on a Christian level,” explained Yvette McCrea, vice president of Royalty Entertainment. “Basically we want to bring something new to the Christian entertainment [industry] so that people don’t feel that they have to compromise their salvation if they want to entertain and still be Christian.”
Artists were judged on the basis of originality, punctuality and audience engagement. There was even a category for an artist’s perceived “anointing or divine influence” on their performance. One of the judges was Miami’s Rev. Avery Jones of Holy Spirit Ministries, who is also a gospel recording artist. For him, an artist’s anointing was one of the most important elements of any performer.
“The word of God through music is God’s way of joining men to Christ and gives healing and deliverance,” he said.
He further explained that anointing can be judged by observing “how the artists themselves are engaged in their presentation — how the song moves them.”
Battle of the Praises first place winner, 35-year-old Christina Robbins, has been singing since she was 14 and was the winner in the quartet division of the 2009 Gospel Music Workshop in America contest. She decided to enter the competition to gain greater exposure, perhaps win the cash prize and “just to have fun.”
“I singing and what I enjoy most is being able to change lives, touch hearts and empower people,” she said.
According to McCrea, Saturday’s event represented the first of several upcoming Battle of the Praises that will continue to audition and eliminate contestants until the final round pits artists against one another with a recording contract and up to $10,000 at stake.
The other top performers of the Battle of the Praises event included the vocal groups, Vision who came in second place and won $500 and Sons of Gospel who came in third place and won $250.
By Kaila Heard