By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
Missed Part One? Click here to read it!
Here’s a little fascinating fact about the artists that are featured in part two of my Top 30 Greatest Reality TV Performances of All-Time. I have interviewed ALL of these excellent performers!
#20-Sharon Irving: “Glory” (America’s Got Talent, 2015)
Sharon Irving kicks off part two with her superb cover of John Legend & Common’s Oscar-winning anthem: “Glory.” What I loved about Sharon’s performance is that you could feel the presence of her grandfather and his fellow Civil Rights leaders who walked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her powerhouse vocals brought Radio City Music Hall to its feet, and it was the performance fans remember the most from the final Howard Stern season of AGT!
#19-Clark Beckham: “Georgia on My Mind” (American Idol, 2015)
Friend to the blog and Professor Emeritus of Blue-eyed soul at American Idol University Clark Beckham was the best male singer of Season 14! Throughout the season, he gave master classes in artistry, showmanship, and musicality. On the final performance night of Season 14, Clark paid homage to one of his musical heroes, the late Ray Charles, with his reprisal of “Georgia on My Mind.” His vocals gave me the strong case of the goose bumps and showed that his future in the music industry is bright and full of hope.
#18-Kimberly Nichole: “The House of the Rising Sun” (The Voice USA Season Eight, 2015)
Kimberly Nichole is probably one of the most bombastic artists that The Voice USA ever discovered! Since her Blind Audition, Kimberly Nichole’s fiery vocals and presence took her season to a whole another level of excellence. It was very hard to pinpoint her best performance, but I kept coming back to her cover of “The House of the Rising Sun.” Everything between Kimberly’s commanding stage presence and her strong vocals blew me away, and fans have never seen Christina Aguilera and Pharrell Williams (Kimberly’s mentors) so excited in all of their respective seasons on the NBC singing competition. One year later and I am still scratching my head in frustration on why she did not win her season!
#17-Jesse Kinch: “I’ve Put A Spell On You” (Rising Star, 2014)
Rising Star may have only lasted one season on ABC, but it introduced viewers to the future stalwart of rock and roll: Jesse Kinch. From the first note that he sang of the blues-rock standard, I knew that Jesse was unique. His husky and raw vocals tore through the television and shook America’s living rooms to their core. What made Jesse stand out from his competitors and why he won the only season of the show was his innate ability to breathe new life to some of music’s greatest hits and interpreted them so that different generations of music lovers could bond.
#16-La’Porsha Renae: “Diamonds (finale)” (American Idol, 2016)
I believe with all of my being that La’Porsha Renae was the last great vocalist that American Idol discovered. I had the privilege of seeing La’Porsha perform in person and also had the privilege of interviewing when I visited the American Idol this past March, and she is one of the nicest artists I have ever had the privilege of interviewing. When she chose to revisit “Diamonds” on Idol’s final performance night, La’Porsha perfectly summed up the reason why American Idol stayed on the air for 12 years and became the only singing competition where ordinary people were transformed into household names.
#15-Emily West: “Nights in White Satin” (America’s Got Talent, 2014)
AGT: Season Nine’s Top 12 night remains one of my all-time favorite episodes from the NBC talent competition. Three performances from that epic night are sprinkled throughout the countdown. Up first, Season Nine runner-up Emily West’s brilliant interpretation of the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin.” Emily’s velvet vocals hypnotized the Radio City Music Hall audience and transported them into a Great Gatsby-like night club, where she became “The Queen of AGT.”
#14-Sons of Serendip: “Ordinary World” (America’s Got Talent, 2014)
Sons of Serendip is probably the best band to has ever appeared on AGT. Longtime friends and Boston University alums Micah Christian, Cordaro Rodriguez, Mason Morton, and Kendall Ramseur became instant fan favorites with their interpretation of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know.” But, the quartet made their mark on the competition on Season Nine’s fabled Top 12 night where they tackled Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World.” Their haunting arrangement enchanted Radio City Music Hall, gave fans chills and earned them a place in the Season Nine finale.
#13-LeRoy Bell: “Angel” (The X Factor USA, 2011)
At the age of 59-years-old, LeRoy Bell became the oldest person to successfully audition and advance towards the live rounds of an American-based singing competition. For the show’s first “Giving Thanks” week, he dedicated his second-to-last performance to his late mother. LeRoy transformed Sarah McLachlan’s tearful pop classic into an R&B/gospel hymn worthy of a $5,000,000 recording contract with his velvet vocals and his giant heart.
#12-Chris Mann: “You Raise Me Up” (The Voice USA Season Two, 2012)
If any artist finds themselves on The Voice’s live shows and wants to deliver a performance that guarantees them the opportunity to find success after their appearance in the series, I would highly recommend watching former Team Christina finalist and current Phantom of the Opera star Chris Mann’s final performance. While it has been nearly four years since Season Two’s finale, Chris’ superb vocal control and ability to take Josh Groban’s classic song into the vocal stratosphere still leaves any viewer in awe and might find themselves crying like Chris’ divalicious coach.
#11-The Forte Tenors: “The Prayer” (America’s Got Talent, 2013)
The second incarnation of the Forte Tenors (Josh Page, Fernando Varela, and Sean Panikkar) concludes part two of my series. For the Season Eight finale, the trio revisited the song that gave Josh the idea to form the pop opera group: Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion’s “The Prayer.” With the help of America’s Got Talent Creative Director Brian Burke, the Forte Tenors transformed Radio City Music Hall into a stadium filled with 5,000 “glowing stars,” an orchestra, and a choir which resulted in one of the best finale performances in AGT history.
I do not own any of the clips that are featured in the article. They belong to the following media companies: