Thursday, January 7, 2016

Memorable performances from televised singing contests

I don't watch them all.  You know.  Those reality shows that are singing competitions.  I've missed the X Factors and America's (Australia's) Got Talent.  I've watched most American Idol seasons, a few seasons of The Voice (America & Australia), and the two Rock Star shows.  So, no, this is not a complete list. There is no Susan Boyle, Singing Nun, or any of the One Direction guys.  They all caused quite a stir, but I didn't see them. This list is completely my preferences and my favorites based on my viewing. 

I stuck to a rule.  They had to be memorable enough performances to me that I didn't have to go internet searching for help.  I pulled from my mental rolodex to compose my list.  Then, I used youtube to find video clips.  Join me for this musical journey, will you?  (There are 15 in all.  I seriously doubt you will join me for the entire post, but it would be fun to believe that you will.)  In no particular order....

1. Marty Casey (Rock Star INXS) - Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" - I liked Marty.  A lot.  And bought his Lovehammers music since this show's appearances.  If you like this performance, check out Marty perform Radiohead's "Creep" and Britney's "Baby One More Time".

2. Adam Lambert (American Idol) - Tears for Fears/Gary Jule's "Mad World" - Adam was know for his vocal theatrics.  In this performance, he was controlled, intense, and magnificent.

3. Carrie Underwood (American Idol) - Heart's "Alone" - If I'm not mistaken, Carrie is the Idol contestant that has sold the most.  This is the performance that caused Simon Cowell to correctly make that prediction. I have not purchased one song released by Carrie Underwood, but that doesn't mean that I don't respect her talent.

4. Jena Irene (American Idol) - Paramore's Decode - Most of the time, when I watch these shows, I ask myself "would I buy this person's album?" After seeing this performance, I decided I'd buy hers.  Sadly, I'm not sure she even made an album.

5. Mitchell & Steve (The Voice Australia) - Marc Cohn's "Walking in Memphis" - Two seasoned veterans who've probably played a lot of bars and pubs, been session musicians, and never quite made it.  Bless 'em for still chasing their dreams.

6. Dilana (Rock Star Supernova) - Nirvana's "Lithium" - Damn.  This chick rocked.  This performance rocked.  (side note: Butch Walker fans - you catch a glimpse of our favorite producer a couple of times in this)

7. Chris Daughtry (American Idol) - Fuel's "Hemorrhage" - The worst tragedy in the history of American Idol is that Taylor Hicks (who?) won his season.  But, Daughtry's career isn't worried about his loss.  I love this guy's voice.

8. Toby Rand (Rock Star Supernova) - Original! - Prior to this television venture, Toby's group, Juke Kartel, had a good fan base in Australia.  This was/is one of their songs.  Yep, this one is still in regular rotation on my ipod as well as Juke Kartel's "Save Me".  When I moved here in 2008, I saw them perform in a small pub in Sydney.  And, it was awesome!

9. Kelly Clarkson (American Idol) - Aretha Franklin's "Natural Woman" - Am I remembering this correctly?  She worked in Wal-Mart, right?  She is the epitome of what this kind of show is capable of doing for you.  Burleson, Texas y'all.

10. Matthew Garwood (The Voice Australia) - Phantom of the Opera's "All I Ask of You" - He didn't even make it past the battle rounds, but this performance gave me chills.  So good.  Plus, it is what makes that whole coaches don't get to see the singer until they turn around part about The Voice so much fun.  The judges reactions in this clip are priceless. 

11. David Cook (American Idol) - Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby" - I actually have this song on my work playlist.  It shows that a good pop song can be worked to be appealing to anyone (because I can't take Mariah Carey's version).  

12. Jordis Unga (Rock Star INXS) - David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World" - This song has been covered by many...most famously (is that a word?) by Nirvana.  You know what?  I like this version the absolute best.  Truth.  It is also on my work playlist.  Meaning, for the last five years, I've heard this song on repeat at least 3 times a day.  I still love it. 

13. Bo Bice (American Idol) - Badlands "In a Dream" - He was going up against the girl with the major pipes (Carrie Underwood).  He took a risk to show he could sing.  I'm not sure if any other Idol contestant has ever sang acapella.  I'm a sucker for a good ol' Southern boy singing a good ol' Southern rock song.  What can I say?

14. Gabriel & Cecilia (The Voice Australia) - Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" - These shows, judges, coaches, mentors are always talking about making a song your own.  This brother and sister duo did just that.  This is BY FAR the most unique performance of a cover song I've seen on any show.  They aren't necessarily my style of musicians, but I couldn't look past the musicianship and individuality.  Warning: it's a bit strange, but it's 2 minutes.  Give it a listen for the uniqueness of it.  You may hate it, and that's okay too.

To close this little collection of mine..............

15. Clay Aiken (American Idol) - Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" - That's right...judge me all you want...but don't judge without listening because this performance is really good.  I'm serious.  It gave me goosebumps then, and I just watched it again.  Goosebumps again.  That last note.  Wait for it.  It's less than 3 minutes of your time to give.

What did I miss?  If you watch or have watched any of these shows, share your most memorable performances with me.


  1. Adam Lambert's "Mad World" always gives me chills. I am SO HAPPY you included David Cook! He should've won that season! My husband and I love him- we saw him live a few year ago. He's awesome!

    1. Maybe... I thought it was David Achuleta or whatever... Hold on. I'm gonna Google it... :) You're right! Haha, whoops!

  2. I really only watched American Idol and The Voice (US versions), and even those just sporadically, but I totally agree with Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, David Cook, and DAUGHTRY! I bought Daughtry's album- so, so good. I also loved Melanie Martinez (The Voice, 2012)'s performance of Britney's Spears' "Toxic" and just her voice in general. And Cassadee Pope(The Voice winner, 2013)'s performance of Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn." There was one other performance done by a duo that gave me chills, but I can't remember it right now. I'll have to check my computer when I get home.

  3. Oh my gosh - I forgot about so many of these... I loved the whole Rock Star show... that had the best music! ... & Bo Bice - I LOVED him & was so mad when Carrie Underwood won - I was even madder when HE TURNED COUNTRY! NOOOO!!!!!
    Thanks for this post today - it made my day - I watched every one of these songs

  4. I don't remember many of these but I do remember Kelly. She has been a little MIA lately though. Jena signed a record deal in April 2015 so it may be coming. I googled it. ;)

  5. So glad you put Jordis's performance on this list because it SLAYED. I think it's the only performance on a singing show my husband and I have ever agreed on.

    Fun fact: We saw INXS with JD as the singer and Marty's band opened for them. It was pretty cool.

  6. I used to LOVE American Idol. I actually stopped caring the night Chris Daughtry got voted off. But yes! Your Clay Aiken/Bo Bice/Chris Daughtry selections are spot on!

  7. I loved Marty Casey's Wish You Were Here. Loved!!!
    Great list homie. xo

  8. Fun post! I just spent way too much time watching those clips. Carrie had some huge hair and Kelly was a baby! I only watched the first season of Idol but remember David Cook having a bunch of good covers!

  9. you missed Juliet Simms doing Roxanne.... that was incredible!

    adam lambert doing mad world by TfF was amazing as well (TfF is also one of my fav bands)

  10. i'd started going through my twitter list of folks i followed, because if there's an artist from the voice, i like to keep up with their progress. and there have been several i've appreciated: sawyer fredericks, jake worthington, kristin lee, jordis unga... so many, and i'd started making a list with their auditions, but then i remembered this one:

    from britain's got talent:
    susan boyle's audition: i dreamed a dream. this still gives me chills, and i've played it DOZENS of times. it's pretty damned perfect.

    1. i'm quite fond of amanda brown and trevin hunte's battle for vision of love, too.

    2. and paul potts:

  11. Erin you're basically forgetting the best performances that ever occurred on a talent show. One Direction, duh! Actually while they were adorable little buggers none of their performances from The X-Factor were jaw drop worthy, I just had to give you a tough time :)


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