ATLANTA (July 30, 2009)– Tony LeBron, a 32-year-old bilingual worship leader from Boca Raton, FL was crowned the winner of season four the American Idol®-style talent search TV series Gospel Dream last night on the Gospel Music Channel television network.
LeBron was chosen over Robert Mauti, 26 of Nashville, TN, and NeVar Massey, 34 from Hampton, GA in the dramatic season finale.
The theme for the Gospel Dream’s fourth season has been The Greatest Inspirational Songs of All Time and the contestants delivered both classics as well as mainstream hits. Massey sang Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and “How Great Is Our God”. Mauti performed “Give Me Jesus” and the classic “I’ll Take You There”. But it was LeBron’s stunning, dual language performances of Bruce Hornsby’s “The Way It Is” and “I Surrender All” that catapulted him to the crown.
LeBron, born in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, auditioned for Gospel Dream in Orlando and lives in Boca Raton where he is the Worship Leader and Director of the Young Adults Group at the Boca Raton Community Church. Fluent in both Spanish and English, Tony’s seemingly effortless transitions between both languages within the same songs this season helped drive him to the top of the competition.
The judges who picked the winner were Michelle Williams from the GRAMMY- winning group “Destiny’s Child”; one of Gospel music’s most prolific talents, J. Moss; and one of the music industry’s most respected executives, Mitchell Solarek. American Idol® alumnae Kimberley Locke co-hosted the show along with Mike Kasem (“MTV’s Top 20 Video Countdown” “American Top 10”).
Noted Solarek on LeBron’s win in the final outcome of the judging: “Tony is the real deal—great talent, great communicator and the fact that he was bilingual was a real bonus. The reality is when Tony showed up, it was obvious he had been out there doing what he does for years--he was seasoned and already a pro by the time he ever got to the first audition.”
The semi-finals and finale will be seen again on GMC back-to-back this Saturday night, August 1 at 9:00 and 10:00 pm. respectively. The finale will encore Sunday, August 2 (8:00 & 10:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m.) GMC will present a Gospel Dream Season Four Marathon on Saturday, August 8 beginning at 8:00 am and again at 8:00 p.m. All times Eastern.
Gospel Dream invited solo artists between the ages of 16-40 years of age, from all genres of Gospel/Christian music styles, including traditional, rock, pop, country and soul to compete for the final competition in Nashville from which ten finalists-- and ultimately one winner--will be chosen by a celebrity panel of industry professionals. The winning artist will receive record and music video exposure, among other prizes.
The Gospel Dream series was created by Elvin Ross, who is also the series’ executive producer and musical director. Gospel Music Channel is the fastest-growing network in television and can be seen in 45 million homes on various cable systems around the country, on DIRECTV on channel 338 and on Verizon FiOS on channel 224.
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