The 20 Best Reality TV Performances from 2013

By: Jacob Elyachar,

As the hours of 2013 fade away into the sands of time, Jake’s Take wants to recognize the incredible performers from both sides of the pond, who delivered some amazing performances on Reality TV this year!


Donna Allen You Are So Beautiful

Donna Allen’s cover of “You Are So Beautiful” sent chills up my spine during “The Voice: Season Five” Blind Auditions. (Photo property of NBC)

20. Donna Allen: “You Are So Beautiful” (The Voice: Season Five)

The phenomenal Donna Allen kicks off our countdown with her cover of Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful.” Ms. Allen’s pitch-perfect performance not only caught the attention of both Adam and Christina but also moved viewers.

19. Cami Bradley: “Believe” (America’s Got Talent: Season Eight)

Cami Bradley’s haunting acoustic cover of Cher’s greatest dance hit helped her go all the way to the AGT finale.


Midas Whale's cover of "Folsom Prison Blues" was one of the best highlights from "The Voice: Season Four" Blind Auditions. (Photo property of NBC)

Midas Whale’s cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” was one of the best highlights from “The Voice: Season Four” Blind Auditions. (Photo property of NBC)

18. Midas Whale: “Folsom Prison Blues” (The Voice: Season Four)

Utah folk rock duo Midas Whale will go down in Voice history as the group that got away! Their superb cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” caught the attention of all four coaches and carried them to the show’s Knockout Rounds.

17. Curtis Finch, Jr.: “I Believe I Can Fly” (American Idol: Season 12)

Gospel singer Curtis Finch Jr. showed audiences why he was the show’s top guy of Season 12 with a powerful gospel-infused cover of the R. Kelly classic.

16. Hannah Barrett: “Satisfaction” (X Factor UK: Season 10)

Hannah Barrett channeled both Mick Jagger and Tina Turner with her sultry take on the Rolling Stones’ “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”

15. Jonathan Allen: “The Impossible Dream” (America’s Got Talent: Season Eight)

Jonathan Allen became a fan-favorite act when he sang “Time to Say Goodbye” at his initial audition. However, his cover of “The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha cemented his status as a future opera superstar.

14. Sasha Allen: “Bad Girls” (The Voice: Season Four)

Team Shakira’s last artist standing paid homage to the late Donna Summer with her incredible take on the Disco anthem.  


Alex & Sierra's cover of "Say Something" topped the iTunes charts. (Photo property of FOX, FremantleMedia North America & SYCO TV)

Alex & Sierra’s cover of “Say Something” topped the iTunes charts. (Photo property of FOX, FremantleMedia North America & SYCO TV)

13. Alex & Sierra: “Say Something” (The X Factor USA: Season Three)

The Season Three winners began their climb to victory with a passionate cover of A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera’ hit duet.  

12. Jeff Gutt: “Hallelujah” (The X Factor USA: Season Three)

“Hallelujah” was covered multiple times on different Reality TV shows this year. However, I have never heard anyone infuse the Leonard Cohen classic with hard rock until Jeff Gut sang his cover! Jeff, you delivered an outstanding cover and gave me chills!

11. Michelle Chamuel: “Time After Time” (The Voice: Season Four)

The Voice: Season Four runner-up’s amazing cover of “Time After Time” not only delivered her into Season Four’s finale…but made Cyndi Lauper proud.


Angie Miller shined tonight during the "Sudden Death" round and was one of the girls that made it through to America's vote.  (Photo by FOX's Michael Becker)

Angie Miller shined tonight during the “Sudden Death” round and was one of the girls that made it through to America’s vote. (Photo by FOX’s Michael Becker)

10. Angie Miller: “You Set Me Free” (American Idol: Season 12)

It is always a risk to perform an original song during a crucial round of a Reality TV show.  But Angie Miller’s fiery “You Set Me Free” received a standing ovation from all four judges and set her on a path to the season’s Final Three.

9. Judith Hill: “What A Girl Wants” (The Voice: Season Four)

Former background singer Judith Hill stepped into the spotlight with her tour-de-force cover of coach Christina Aguilera’s sophomore single.  Her amazing vocal runs caught the attention of all four coaches and instantly made her a fan-favorite artist.

8. Amber Carrington: “Skyfall” (The Voice: Season Four)

Many artists who go onto shows like Idol, Voice or X Factor always run risks when performing Adele songs.  Amber Carrington took on “Skyfall” and delivered not only one of her best vocal performances but in the show’s history!


Classical crossover singer Branden James stole America's hearts when he appeared on "America's Got Talent" earlier this year. (Photo property of NBC's Virginia Sherwood)

Classical crossover singer Branden James stole American hearts when he sang “You Raise Me Up” earlier this year. (Photo property of NBC’s Virginia Sherwood)

7. Branden James: “You Raise Me Up” (America’s Got Talent: Season Eight)

Branden took Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” to operatic new heights during the first live show at Radio City Music Hall.  He received a standing ovation from the audience (and three of the judges) and brought Heidi Klum to tears.

6. Will Champlin: “At Last” (The Voice: Season Five)

I remembered watching Will perform this song live on The Voice soundstage and giving him the “I’m not worthy” bow four different times throughout the performance.  He defied the laws of vocal gymnastics and I believe that Etta James smiled on him from heaven during the performance.

5. Matthew Schuler: “Wrecking Ball” (The Voice: Season Five)

Matthew Schuler made us forget Miley Cyrus’ controversial antics as he transformed “Wrecking Ball” into an Indie pop anthem.


Sam Bailey stood on "The Edge of Glory" and became this year's winner of "The X Factor UK." (Photo property of SYCO TV & ITV)

Sam Bailey stood on “The Edge of Glory” and became this year’s winner of “The X Factor UK.” (Photo property of SYCO TV & ITV)

4. Sam Bailey: “The Edge of Glory” (The X Factor UK: Season 10)

Throughout the tenth anniversary season of X Factor UK, there has been one performer who was consistent and delivered moving performances…that woman’s name was Sam Bailey. The former prison officer made her mentor, Sharon Osbourne, proud when she belted out Lady Gaga’s biggest hit from Born This Way at Wembley Arena.

3. Tessanne Chin: “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (The Voice: Season Five)

Tessanne’s cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” cemented her place in this season’s finale! I thought no one would have been able to touch Clay Aiken’s master class version but her powerful final notes and elegance throughout the song made this performance…the best from this year’s two editions of The Voice.

Positioning the last two performances in my countdown was no easy task. But, thanks to the insight from my friend, PopWrapped Co-Founder Zachary Jaydon, I was able to reach a decision!

2. Forte: “The Prayer (Finale)” (America’s Got Talent: Season Eight)

The powerhouse opera supergroup reprised their version of “The Prayer” for the eighth finale of America’s Got Talent.  Backed by a choir, orchestra and thousands of cell phones, Forte delivered a goose-bump inducing performance that sailed into fans’ hearts.


Candice Glover I Who Have Nothing

The third time was the charm for “American Idol” winner Candice Glover as she won the crown during Randy Jackson’s final season. (Photo property of FOX, FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment)

1. Candice Glover: “I Who Have Nothing (Finale)” (American Idol: Season 12)

Three different women have sung the song, “I Who Have Nothing,” on the Idol stage.

While Jordin Sparks honored the song’s tradition and Haley Reinhart delivered a dramatic-stalker cover, Candice’s a cappella opening and her incredible display of vocal runs was not only the best version of this song on the show, but also the greatest performance from a Reality TV Show this year.

I do not own the clips that are featured in this article.  They belong to their respective networks and production companies.


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