VIEWERS SING BET SUNDAY BEST PRAISES WITH RECORD BREAKING SEASON PREMIERE DRAWING MORE THAN TWO MILLION VIEWERS

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BET SUNDAY BEST Season Five Top 20 Contestants Revealed  More than two million gospel fans tuned in to watch the two-hour premiere episode of BET’s

SUNDAY BEST on Sunday, July 8 at 8:00 P.M.* According to The Nielsen Company, SUNDAY BEST continues to be television’s number one gospel/religious series with Sunday night’s season premiere drawing more than two million viewers in nearly 1.5 million households, making it cable’s number one music competition telecast for 2012.

This marks the show’s highest ever season premiere and is a top two telecast in the history of the SUNDAY BEST franchise (#2), only behind last season’s two hour season finale on September 11, 2011. In Sunday night’s two-hour special premiere, SUNDAY BEST took viewers through the entertaining and hilarious audition process and revealed this season’s top 20 contestants.

Thousands of hopefuls showed up for auditions in Dallas, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and St. Louis but only the best of the best were selected to advance to the next round of competition in Atlanta. Hosted by gospel legend Kirk Franklin, the new season includes returning judges Pastor Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams, returning mentor Kim Burrell and new addition to the judges panel, CeCe Winans.

Here Are The Top 20: Alexis Spight – Lenexa, KS Antwoine Overby – Jacksonville, FL Ashford Sanders – Canton, MS Breon Clary – Newport News, VA Brian Luther – Warrenton, VA Candace Pennington – San Antonio, TX Danetra Moore – Decatur, GA Jackie Calhoun – Anderson, TX Jamarien Moore – Jacksonville, FL Jeremy Hill – Birmingham, AL Jessica Dudley – Portsmouth, VA Joshua Rogers – Manning, SC Julian Awari – Warrenton, VA Keith Ball – Chesapeake, VA Kimberly Maxwell – Fort Worth, TX Kizzy Walker – Jacksonville, FL Lois Blalock – Wilmington, DE Michael Lampkin – St. Peter, MO Sara Escamilla – San Jose, CA Susan Hedgepeth – Charlotte, NC

This season, fans can expect to be blown away by performances as the hopefuls make the journey all the way from auditions into the finals.

Along the way, musical powerhouse Kim Burrell will provide vocal guidance to the Top 20 contestants. Many are called but only one will be crowned victor of this season’s SUNDAY BEST. In addition to the coveted title of SUNDAY BEST, the winner of season five will receive a national recording contract with Music World Gospel, a cash prize, and an exclusive prize from Ford.

Viewers can watch SUNDAY BEST every Sunday at 8:00 p.m.* on BET; and catch encore airings directly following each new episode. For continuous SUNDAY BEST updates, please visit http://www.bet.com/Sunday Best. Also, follow SUNDAY BEST on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/BETSundayBest (hash tag: #BETSundayBest) and Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/BETSundayBest

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