By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
Over the past five years, Jake’s Take has covered some of the best talent shows on the planet!
My blog has covered nine seasons of The Voice USA, five seasons of both America’s Got Talent and American Idol, three seasons of The X Factor USA (please bring back this show, FOX & Simon Cowell) and one season of Rising Star. I also casually have watched Asia’s Got Talent, Britain’s Got Talent, and The X Factor UK via YouTube.
In honor of Jake’s Take’s fifth anniversary, I will be unveiling the greatest performances from the past five years of my favorite talent competition shows in a three-part series.
#30: Dalton Rapattoni, “Bird Set Free” (American Idol, 2016)
Friend to the blog, Dalton Rapattoni, made a splash during American Idol’s final season! By giving new life to “The Phantom of the Opera,” Hopelessly Devoted to You,” and “It’s Gonna Be Me,” Dalton Rapattoni transfigured himself as a potential frontrunner for the Idol crown and became an inspiration to millions across the country. But, it was his personal and powerful performance of “Bird Set Free” which kicks off our countdown. I was personally at CBS Television City watching backstage with my fellow press corps members, and we all got chills when he covered Sia’s heart-wrenching track. I am very grateful that I got to interview Dalton twice this year (at Idol and previewing his School of Rock tour), and I know he has a bright future ahead of him.
#29: Alisan Porter, “Somewhere” (The Voice USA Season 10, 2016)
From the moment Alisan Porter hit The Voice stage and belted out Linda Ronstadt’s “Blue Bayou,” I knew that she would be one of the last artists left standing at the end of Season 10. Her performance of the West Side Story anthem, “Somewhere,” was her golden ticket to the title and also marked Christina Aguilera’s long overdue victory as a winning coach! While previous performers such as Idol winner Candice Glover and friends to the blog, The Forte Tenors, either brought the song to R&B and operatic new heights, Alisan’s fantastic vocal range turned the song into a beacon of hope for viewers struggling to find their place in the world.
#28: Moya Angela, “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” (America’s Got Talent, 2016)
I am still ticked that America voted off Moya Angela from AGT! This former Broadway actress and Las Vegas teacher blew everyone away when she covered one of the most technically challenging songs in the Celine Dion songbook. I got chills when she first opened up her mouth! This was the best Judges’ Auditions performance this year, and I pray that someone gives Moya the chance to shine “bright like a diamond.”
#27: Jeff Gutt, “Dream On” (X Factor USA, 2013)
While I loved The X Factor USA, it took me years to realize why FOX and its Powers-That-Be canceled the program (the talent went to Idol, AGT, and The Voice). But, for one of my favorite rockers, Jeff Gutt, he chased his X Factor USA dreams for two seasons and after being painfully eliminated during the Bootcamp portion of Season Two, he came back stronger and made it to the finals during the show’s last season. Of all the performances that Jeff did over his two years on the show, I had to pick “Dream On.” This presentation was the accumulation of the countless years that he spent never giving up on his dream. It was also a plus seeing his mentor, Kelly Rowland, rock out!
#26: Diamond White, “Because You Loved Me” (X Factor USA, 2012)
Another X Factor USA contestant who had a breakout moment on the show also made it to my countdown. Season Two alumni and Britney Spears’ protégé Diamond White delivered one of the best Celine Dion covers I have heard in years as she paid homage to her mom during the show’s “Giving Thanks” week. The vocal control that Diamond had during that performance was unbelievable, and I believe that it was probably the best “young singer” performance from all three seasons.
#25: Sam Bailey, “Skyscraper” (X Factor UK, 2013)
I hope that you grabbed your passports because I am taking you to the United Kingdom for a talent tour! Up first, the Wembley Arena in London, England, where Sam Bailey was crowned the first female Over to win the UK talent competition! Over the tenth anniversary season of The X Factor UK, Sam blew the judges and audiences around away with her spectacular voice. But, it was her performance of her winner’s single, “Skyscraper,” that cemented her future in the recording industry. Her bombastic vocals filled up the entire room, gave everyone chills, and made mentor Sharon Osbourne weep with pride.
#24: Jack Pack, “My Way” (Britain’s Got Talent, 2014)
One of the best male vocal groups to appear on the Got Talent franchise was United Kingdom-based quartet Jack Pack. The original line-up (Adam Chandler Diplock, Sean Wolf, Alfie Palmer, and Andrew Bourn) rekindled the vocal swing genre with their classic covers of the Great American Songbook. When they performed the Sinatra standard, “My Way,” the guys gave an impeccable vocal performance that showed off their outstanding four-part harmony and would have made The Chairman of the Board very proud.
#23: Melanie Masson, “With A Little Help from My Friends” (The X Factor UK, 2012)
Our final stop in our UK tour takes us once again to The X Factor UK, where the woman who saved the Overs category closes out our trip. Up until Melanie Masson auditioned for the ninth season, the Overs category was filled with either joke acts or polarizing vocalists. That changed when this mom of two’s astonishing rock voice shook the category up for the better and made it possible for people like Sam Bailey, Ben Haenow, and Fleur East to audition for the series. By summoning the spirits of Janis Joplin, Hair, and Woodstock, Melanie Masson’s X Factor UK live debut remains one of the best high-octane vocal performances in any X Factor franchise’s history.
#22: Will Champlin, “At Last” (The Voice USA Season Five, 2013)
Back in the fall of 2013, my friend and mentor PopWrapped Founder/CEO Zachary Jaydon advised me to keep an eye on Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Will Champlin when I watched The Voice’s fifth season. It turns out; he was right! Will delivered impeccable vocal performance after vocal performance even as he ping-ponged back and forth between Team Adam and Team Christina. I had the opportunity to be in attendance for his first case to be the Season Five winner-his excellent cover of the late Etta James’ “At Last.” Will’s impeccable stage presence and superb vocals gave the Universal Studios Hollywood audience chills and gave one of the best male Voice performances in the show’s first five seasons.
#21: Branden James, “You Raise Me Up” (America’s Got Talent, 2013)
Longtime friend to the blog and America’s Got Talent alumni Branden James closes out part one of the countdown with his performance of Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up.” Branden transformed the hopeful anthem by taking the track to operatic heights. His beautiful voice filled and lit up Radio City Music Hall, made Heidi Klum cry and brought hope to viewers of all ages.
I do not own any of the clips that are featured in this article. They belong to the following media groups:
- American Idol: FOX, FremantleMedia North America & 19 Entertainment
- America’s Got Talent: NBC, SYCO Entertainment & FremantleMedia North America
- Britain’s Got Talent & The X Factor UK: ITV, SYCO Entertainment & Thames
- The Voice: NBC & United Artists Media Group
- The X Factor USA: FOX, FremantleMedia North America & SYCO Entertainment