Southern Gospel vs. The Rest of the World: Lauren Talley and Erika Van Pelt

Erika Van Pelt is a former American Idol contestant. She was eliminated from the top ten after an excellent cover of Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” while other, much less deserving contestants advanced onward.  One thing I noticed is that her look and voice reminded me of Lauren Talley. Both of them are blondes with deep, rich alto voices. (At least Van Pelt started blonde… she tried to cut it off and dye it black in order to stand out more. It didn’t work. But moving on…) Anyway, I’m pitting the two against each on this installment of Southern Gospel vs. the Rest of the World. First, here’s Erika singing “I Believe In You and Me”:

I decided that Lauren’s cover of “In Christ Alone” showcased a similar range:


3 thoughts on “Southern Gospel vs. The Rest of the World: Lauren Talley and Erika Van Pelt

  1. Saved Girl

    Lauren Talley really wins for me. I agree though that they do sound somewhat alike. Lauren’s voice was just so clear and strong. The other girl put too many “wobbles” in her song. Those just annoy me too much. I don’t think those awful guitars at the beginning helped my impression of the song either.

    On a side note, I’ve never heard that other song before, but it sounds like one you could hear played on your average Christian station. It would make a perfect “Jesus is my boyfriend” type of song. And it already comes prepackaged with some helpful references, “eternally” “once was bound (I think I got that right) and now am free”.

    1. Yeah, me neither. I think it was a big Whitney Houston song. I personally enjoy both ladies but might personally prefer Erika’s tone—Lauren’s got a bit of that “Brian Free” sound. (Seriously, I bet they have exactly the same range!) However, if we were having a modesty contest, Lauren would win hands down!

      Oh dear, you’re right, that song could probably get spun on Christian radio if it was written and pitched to the CCM market today. What a ghastly thought…

  2. Lydia

    Well, I have to say that Erika van Pelt’s voice is richer and more warm and human than Lauren Talley’s. It’s less nasal (which is a good thing). I mean, it’s a little hard to compare the songs, because van Pelt’s is supposed to be a sort of “crooner” love song and hence has a more interesting and honey-like melodic line than “In Christ Alone.” (Sorry, I have a bit of a bias against the melody of “In Christ Alone.”) But yeah, if I had to say, I’d say Erika has the prettier voice.

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