For most of my life, I have watched talent competition television shows.
I loved seeing ordinary people chase their dreams and become music superstars.
In this new Jake’s Take: Fifth Anniversary series, I will salute the fine men and women who were discovered on Reality TV and made an impact on popular culture.
I spent countless hours looking at footage from American Idol, America’s Got Talent, Asia’s Got Talent, Britain’s Got Talent, Rising Star, The Voice USA, The X Factor UK, and X Factor USA and narrowed the field down to 60 singers (30 women and 30 men).
Over the next three weeks, I will be saluting the 30 women whose careers were made possible by Reality TV.
#30: Diamond White (X Factor USA: Season Two)
I have greatly disagreed with producers of numerous Reality TV shows with the age limit. However, over the years there have been some talented ingénues who have made an impact in the singing competition world and one is Diamond White. Nearly five years ago, she blew the judges away with her take on James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s World” and her vocals matched her namesake as she soared each week in the competition. Diamond used X Factor USA as a platform that has taken her to film (Boo! A Madea Halloween), TV (Girl Meets World, The Lion Guard, and Sofia the First), and YouTube success.
#29: Cassadee Pope (The Voice USA: Season Three)
Several singers have used Reality TV to launch a new chapter in their career. Former Hey Monday singer Cassadee Pope auditioned for The Voice: Season Three as a solo artist and her version of “Torn” caught the attention of all four coaches. Under Blake Shelton’s tutelage, she soared above the competition and her covers reached the iTunes Top 10 for five straight weeks! She became the first female winner of the singing competition and went on to success as a signed artist with Republic Nashville Records.
#28: Rachel Potter (The X Factor USA: Season Three)
While she had Broadway experience in her repertoire, friend to the blog, Rachel Potter always wanted to pursue a career in the country music industry. Her take on Queen’s “Somebody to Love” proved that she had the tenacity and vocals to make it far in the industry. Despite being eliminated in the week three of live shows, she continued to persevere in the music industry by releasing her solo album, Not So Black and White, and formed rising country group Steel Union with Donny Fallgatter and Josh Matheny.
#27: Saara Aalto (X Factor UK: Season 13)
If it was not for Finnish singer Saara Aalto, the recent series of X Factor UK would have been horrid! Of all the singers in the competition, Saara’s incredible voice made me look forward to watching this season on YouTube. She mastered every song that her mentor, Sharon Osbourne, and the X Factor UK team threw at her, plus she survived the Bottom Two sing-off twice with charisma, character, and spectacular vocal performances. I pray that North America hears her voice because Saara could give several American singers a run for their money.
#26: Sharon Irving (America’s Got Talent: Season 10)
In my humble opinion, Sharon Irving was the one artist that got away during America’s Got Talent’s tenth anniversary season. I was immediately impressed with her voice when she sang the hell out of Hozier’s “Take Me to Church, ” and I was ecstatic when she became Mel B’s Golden Buzzer act. Sharon was one of those rare acts that commanded the Radio City Music Hall stage and always made the show a lot brighter because of her vocals.
#25 La’Porsha Renae (American Idol: Season 15)
American Idol discovered one of its greatest voices during its final season. 23-year-old La’Porsha Renae’s Idol journey started out with her haunting cover of Radioplay’s “Creep,” and she immediately impressed all three judges. Her velvet vocals made Season 15 one of the most memorable seasons in the past four years as she impressed Idol royalty such as Fantasia and guest judge Kelly Clarkson. At the end of the season, La’Porsha was the show’s final runner-up and was signed to 19 and Motown recording contract.
#24: Alisan Porter (The Voice USA: Season 10)
Just fellow Voice winner Cassadee Pope, former child actress Alisan Porter came to The Voice for starting a recording career. Her bombastic vocals caught the attention of all four coaches, but she chose the show’s reigning queen, Christina Aguilera, to mentor her. Throughout the tenth season, Alisan blossomed as a singer and stunned America week in and week out with knockout performances that placed her at the top of the iTunes Song Charts and helped secured a win for her divalicious mentor. I cannot wait for Alisan’s brand new chapter.
#23: Judith Hill (The Voice: Season Four)
Eight years ago, I was watching Michael Jackson’s This is It at a Boulder, Colorado movie theater. I remembered watching The King of Pop duet with this beautiful backup singer, and I fell in love with her voice and thought: “She’s going places.” It turned out that the singer was Judith Hill. Four years after the death of her mentor, Judith auditioned for the fourth season away and blew everyone away with her interpretation of “What A Girl Wants.” While she placed in the Top Eight, Judith advanced her career as she was featured in the 2014 Oscar-winning documentary, 20 Feet from Stardom, and collaborated with John Legend, Josh Groban, and the late Prince.
#22: Tessanne Chin (The Voice: Season Five)
2013 was a great year for The Voice! Both seasons were filled with outstanding female singers. One of the show’s greatest singers (and possibly one of the best Team Adam artists in show history) came from Season Five. Tessanne’s amazing performances during the fifth season raised the standards for future seasons and well deserved winning the crown. Besides releasing her 2014 debut album: Count on My Love, Ms. Chin performed at the White House with a bill that includes Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Melissa Etheridge, and Ariana Grande. Tessanne stated that she is in the process of making a new album.
#21: Juliet Simms (The Voice: Season Two)
It is hard to believe that next month marks my fifth anniversary of covering The Voice. The former Automatic Loveletter frontwoman hoped that The Voice would kick start her career even further and her performance on the Beatles’ “Oh Darling” caught the attention of Adam, CeeLo, and Christina and she chose The Lady Killer to be her coach. With her raw vocals and spellbinding stage presence, Juliet became the second season’s runner-up and paved the way for rockers to appear on the show. After her appearance on the NBC singing competition, Juliet released two extended plays and recorded with Black Veil Brides, Simple Plan, and her husband, Andy Black.
I do not own any of the clips that are sprinkled throughout the article; they belong to the following broadcasting companies: 19 Entertainment, FOX, FremantleMedia North America, iTV, MGM TV, NBC and Syco Entertainment.