The Voice: 25 Best Performances of Season 3

After three months of intense, sometimes amazing, sometimes frustrating competition, The Voice crowns its Season 3 champion tonight.

But before there could be a Top 3 of Cassadee Pope, Nicholas David and Terry McDermott, there were 64 talented acts who cleared the initial Blind Auditions hurdle (and one lady of a certain age who inexplicably did not). In honor of all those folks, I’ve put together a countdown of the 25 Best Performances of Season 3.

RELATED | The Voice Season 3 Performance Finale Recap: May the Best Woman Win [Updated]

Check out my picks below, then hit the comments and tell me which ones I got right, which ones have you questioning my taste level, and which omissions had you crying “blasphemy!”

VIDEO | Reality Check: Beatles Beaten on X Factor, Voice! Plus: Fifth Harmony’s Surge, Mario Lopez’s ‘But’

Oh, and for all my reality TV recaps, news, and interviews, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments (52)

  • I would have put Cody’s Jolene in there somewhere.

    Comment by Alienate – December 18, 2012 09:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Totally agree.

      Comment by Sara – December 18, 2012 08:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • oh most definitely on my top

      Comment by Ah ha – December 29, 2012 11:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • YES. I love that this is a love letter to Amanda Brown basically. Forever bitter about her too early vote off for the sake of mediocrity.

    Comment by Sam – December 18, 2012 09:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I totally agree! How did Amanda not make the finals much less WIN the whole thing????

      Comment by Curly Girly – December 19, 2012 07:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • She didn’t have the iTunes sales like the others.

        Comment by Flower – December 23, 2012 11:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I think she actually had better itunes sales than Trevin many weeks and better than Nicholas at times too and even than Terry at times, I think. Probably not than Cassadee. The one week though to get to top four her sales dropped down and Trevin’s shot up.

          Comment by HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy – December 23, 2012 03:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Suprised that Trevin’s blind audition did not make the cut.

    However, Amanda on 1 and 2, no argument about that.

    Comment by Daisy – December 18, 2012 09:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Where is MacKenzie?! He is my all-time (out of ALL the seasons) favorite singer. He should have won!!

    Comment by Becky – December 18, 2012 09:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

      (how is my trolling?)

      Comment by Ty – December 19, 2012 02:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Well, for X Factor it would have to be a top 5 performances list.

        Comment by teatime – December 19, 2012 06:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • That makes sense, I just think the thought of Michael trying to find 25 good performances from xfactor this year would be hilarious. How deep into the abyss would he have to go? One of Paiges audition numbers with those eyelashes that looked like they weighed more than CeCe?

          Comment by Ty – December 19, 2012 03:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree! Cody’s Jolene was excellent, and easily one of the best moments.

    Comment by Amy J – December 18, 2012 10:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Half of these were battles or blinds songs of people who lost with them or went nowhere. I guess the entire point of this list to is to demonstrate that Michael just doesn’t like the Voice. How can someone so involved with pop culture be so out of touch with the tastes and trends of everybody else watching? Have fun continuing to manically lament the demise of wanna-be rocker Amanda Brown.

    Comment by tvwillrotyourbrain – December 18, 2012 10:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Considering this is *his* top moments list, he can put whoever in whatever order he chooses. See, there’s this thing called taste. It varies from person to person.

      Comment by Ashley – December 18, 2012 11:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Please reread the post. At no point did I say he couldn’t have his own opinion. I did say I was surprised at how divergent his opinion was from the outcome of the show, ie, everybody else’s taste. He solely engages with pop culture you would think his “taste” would be more mainstream.

        Comment by tvwillrotyourbrain – December 18, 2012 11:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I disagree. Critics and bloggers alike were pretty much universal in their praise of Amanda Brown. It was the public that disagreed. That’s on them.

          Comment by josephrileyland – December 18, 2012 12:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Amanda had the best voice, but she couldn’t sell her music. I loved watching Amanda live, but couldn’t really get myself to download her songs. The only songs I ended up purchasing were Melanie’s.

            Comment by Flower – December 23, 2012 11:21 AM PDT  
          • That brings up another point. She was awesome on stage, but in the studio they tamed and blanded her down and her itunes tracks weren’t as good. So that may have unfairly hurt her. OTOH, Melanie tended to struggle having to sing live but her itunes polished her up and she sounded better there. I wonder if they should sell the live recordings like x-factor? They tend to sound better without all the loudness wars and other over-processing that gets done these days (although those versions are awfully short). Maybe they can sell both but only the live recordings count and the studio ones come out a few days later? I don’t know.

            Comment by HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy – December 23, 2012 03:41 PM PDT  
        • By “everybody else’s taste”, do you perhaps mean “the coaches’ taste”? Several of the artists on this list were left behind by the coaches[/producers], not America.

          Comment by bbl – December 18, 2012 12:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • No love for Kayla?

    Comment by kavyn – December 18, 2012 10:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Benji vs Sam James and Loren Allred’s You Know I’m No Good should be on the list! Loren blew Nicole away during that Knockout. Also Titanium Avery vs Chevonne was a great battle. Deborah’s who knew was a bizarre performance.

    Comment by A2 – December 18, 2012 10:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree, Lauren’s performance was surprisingly one of the best of the whole Knockout Rounds actually!

      Comment by Blair – December 18, 2012 12:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Avery’s and Trevin’s blind auditions performances should both be on this list.

    Comment by Michelle Keefe – December 18, 2012 11:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I thought Terry’s first “I want to know what love is” was amazing.

    Comment by MAS – December 18, 2012 11:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I really loved Nicholas David and Todd Kessler’s Battler Round on Hall & Oates’ “She’s Gone” and Cassadee Pope’s “Stupid Boy” as my two favorite performances.

    Comment by Mike N. – December 18, 2012 12:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Totally agree with Amanda’s Dream On being #1 over Cassadee’s Over You. However, I would take out a couple of those to make room for:

    Cody Belew – Jolene
    Lauren Allred – You Know I’m No Good
    Mackenzie – Pumped Up Kicks or Call Me Maybe
    Nicholas – Lean On Me

    Also I thought some of the group/duo performances were spectacular too including the recent Cassadee and Terry one and of course my favourite Rhythm of Love by Nicholas, Melanie, Terry and Cody.

    Comment by Blair – December 18, 2012 12:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ve been listening to 6 of Melanie’s performances on my phone. Cough syrup, toxic, seven nation army are my favorites yet don’t mind others mixed in. I

    Interestingly, when I listen to Melanie’s songs in succession as an album, they don’t seem so they are different enough so it isn’t the same thing song after song Her style was so different than the others that the side by side comparisons to them hid the variation she brought when listened to by themselves. Casadee’s and Nicholas’s songs don’t give me enough to chew on or they’re too similar to entertain me song after song or listen to going about daily living. Certainly we all have different moods and desires in what part of even our own collections we listen to most.

    The “best” performance thing is tough for me. I’d probably go with Casadee’s Over You and Nicholas David’s first Lean on Me highest as performances, but I don’t enjoy listening to them as regularly now.

    I’m big on the “what will I want to listen to later” way of ranking stuff rather than “how did it seem at the time” in the context of the show type of thing.

    But, we all have our own opinions and that we like any of the performances is a testament to the talent on the show. The kids proved they can entertain us with the gift of music.

    Comment by Tom22 – December 18, 2012 12:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The best non-Amanda performance of the season was definitely Stupid Boy (or maybe the group performance of Rhythm of Love).

    Comment by B.Rich – December 18, 2012 03:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree with the top 2 100% ;)

    Comment by Ryan (@RyanJames2298) – December 18, 2012 03:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I would have had Nicholas’ “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” in there, somewhere.

    Comment by Marianne – December 18, 2012 04:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m writing this before I read the article or see any comments. I’ve got to believe Dream On is hands down #1. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be every single person’s #1, just that I think it’ll get more votes for #1 than any other song.

    I’m also interested to see if Message In The Bottle gets any #1 votes. That’s my personal #1 for the season. Dream On is my #2.

    It’ll be interesting to go back & see what Michael and some of the other commenters think.

    Comment by Danny – December 18, 2012 05:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • How are Who Knew, Vision of Love, Dog Days, Love on Top down so low (especially with some that is above them)?
    Melanie seems too high a few too many times.

    Yeah Amanda does need to be #1 and #2 though.

    Man just hearing her for a few seconds tonight and once again it’s like why?!? WHY?!!!????? How is that not the winner? Sniped by a 10x bonus Trevin song I guess in the top five.

    Comment by HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy – December 18, 2012 06:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jolene by Cody, and Put your records on by Nicholas D. should be there as well, isn’t it?

    Comment by Lara – December 18, 2012 06:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • agreed. Amanda Brown should have won. Dream On was the best performance I have ever seen on a reality singing competition

    Comment by A – December 18, 2012 07:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Amanda Brown was my absolute favorite, so I’m glad to see her so prevalent here, but some other performances I’d have added would be:

    Gracia Harrison – “Cowboy Sweetheart” (I thought she was a definite finalist after this performance)
    Melanie Martinez – “Bulletproof”
    Kayla Nevarez – “American Boy”
    Bryan Keith – “It Will Rain”
    Brandon Mahone – “I Wish It Would Rain” (this one is probably just a personal preference, but seeing this made me think he could win it – and then he was promptly cut in the battle rounds)

    With runners-up:
    Loren Allred – “You Know I’m No Good”
    Adriana Louise – “Domino”
    Nicholas David – “Over the Rainbow”
    Collin McLoughlin – “Wild World”

    I wouldn’t have put Yolanda Barber in there, compared to some of the performances that could have been there instead. The De’Borah “Who Knew” was certainly nowhere near her best (I think song choice was her main issue, because it was hard to figure out who she was artistically), and I feel like she is just there as a soloist so the author’s love for her is represented; her duet of “Message in a Bottle,” though, is well-deserved. I love Melanie’s voice, but “Toxic” isn’t one of my favorites, and I couldn’t put anything by Dez Duron on this list when other far superior vocalists didn’t even make it. Overall, though, I agree with a lot of the choices.

    Comment by Malia – December 18, 2012 07:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It was pitchy in the live show, but Melanie’s ‘Crazy’ is one of the best recordings of the season.

    Comment by Lynnette – December 18, 2012 07:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Totally agree! I love her version of that song! Been listening to it over and over.

      Comment by Flower – December 23, 2012 11:27 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Agree. Wasn’t that impressed by the live version, but I can’t stop listening to the studio version. But then that’s true for a lot of her songs. Though I wasn’t a big Melanie fan during the show, I think I may be looking forward to her CD (or EP) more than any of the others.

        Comment by Don Viajero – January 2, 2013 10:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Just One Bryan Keith performance? I’d at least put ‘New York State of Mind’ or ‘Iris’ on there.

    Comment by Adrian Arciniega – December 18, 2012 08:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ummm… Trevn Hunte’s Listen?

    I’d also add Cody’s Jolene.

    Comment by macthemovieguy – December 18, 2012 09:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think you captured most of my favorites with one glaring omission: “She’s Gone.” That’s the song that put Nick on my radar – even though I grew frustrated with Nick’s performances later in the season (I wanted him to take more risks and break out of the 70s soul thing), he remained my favorite based on all the good will he accumulated with that one performance. Nick and Todd’s voices complemented each other so well – truly a perfect duet.

    Comment by Susu – December 18, 2012 09:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Agreed! “She’s Gone” was my favorite Battle Round performance, as much as I enjoyed “Vision of Love,” “Dog Days Are Over,” and “Message In A Bottle.” I’d even go so far as to say that duet should have been #2 or #3 (obviously behind “Dream On,” one of the best performances on reality TV ever).

      Comment by white lancer – December 19, 2012 12:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m just going to get this out of the way first, and say that I’m an unapologetically biased Amanda fan lol With that said, I personally think that her battle round with Trevin to “Visions of Love, “Someone Like You” and “Stars” are ranked too low. I can’t complain though, because I love seeing her name appear so many times on this list and I’m especially thrilled that she took both the #1 and #2 spots. It’s interesting and pretty nice to see “Paris (Ooh La La) at #2, as I feel that it’s an often overlooked performance of hers. I also liked seeing people like Bryan and Michaela on this list too, although I would’ve substituted Bryan’s performance of “Back to Black” with “New York State Of Mind.”

    Comment by Rebecca – December 18, 2012 11:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The “Vision of Love” duet should be #1 IMO. It was the turning point of the season, and the moment of reveal for Amanda Brown.

    I concur with others above that Nicholas “Girl put your records on” and Cody’s “Jolene” belong in the list, as well as at least 1 song by Loren Alred. Amanda & Loren were the 2 best female vocalists of the season (in terms of range, power, pitch, versatility, looks, command of stage, the complete package).

    For a reality singing competition, it was a fantastic season of stellar music and exciting artists. Not a bad performance in the whole season. Even the blind auditions were good, with many good performers not even getting 1 chair turned around for reasons of strategy, not quality.

    Comment by whosays – December 19, 2012 12:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think you missed a few. Blind audition by Aquile (your song) would be on mine. Blind audition by liz davis (here for the party). I would actually put benji in there too. I think Amanda had 2 of the best with dream on and Paris (ooh lala); agree with that. But a lot of good artists were lost early on before live playoffs because of bad decisions. Dude look like a lady by terry $ Blake. And Steve McQueen by cassadee & Blake.

    Comment by brett niemand – December 21, 2012 09:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by brett niemand – December 21, 2012 09:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Besides Cassadee Pope, she had one of the best iTunes sales week after week. I just loved her style of music. If Adam didn’t jeopardize her with that weird “dolphin and rainbow” song, her iTunes sales would have put her in the top 4. Sadly, I didn’t see Amanda Brown anywhere in the top 20 that week so I knew she was a goner.

      Comment by Flower – December 23, 2012 11:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Not necessarily in order except for Loren Allred.

    1. Loren Allred – “You Know I’m No Good”
    2 .Cody Belew – “jolene”
    3. Nicholas David – “Lean One Me”
    4. Nicholas David – “What’s Going On”
    5 -Nicholas David – “Put Your Records On.” ia Yacoulb
    6 – Côdy Belew – Crazy In Love
    7 – Nicholas David – You’re the First, the Last, My Everything
    8 – Nicholas David – “She’s Gone”
    9- Sylvia Yacoulb – The One that Got Away
    10 – Gracia Harrison – Cowboy Sweetheart
    11 – Terry – I Wanna Know What Love Is
    12 – Melanie Martinez – Too Close
    13 – Amanda Brown & Ne-Yo – Let Me Love You
    14- Nicholas, Melanie, terry and Cody – “Rhythm Of Love”
    15- Jocelyn, Sylvia, Loren, Adriana and Devyn – The Best Of My Love
    16 -Cody Belew, Nicholas David, Trevin Hunt and Amanda Brown – Anyway U Want It
    17 – Collin McLoughlin – “Wild World”
    18 – Suzanna Chofel – Landslide
    19 – Amanda Brown – Paris
    20 – Kelly Crapa vs. Michaela Paige: “I Hate Myself for Loving You”
    21 – Cody Belew vs. DOMO: “Telephone”
    22 – Gracia Harrison vs. 2 Steel Girls: “Sin Wagon”
    23 – Nicholas and CeeLo: “Play That Funky Music”
    24- Yolanda Barber, “Get Here”
    25 – Melanie and Nicholas – Criminal

    Comment by Leandro Cardim (@Bernardices) – December 22, 2012 09:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I generally agree with most of the performances you include, though not necessarily the order. My biggest disagreements are with including Bryan Keith’s “Back to Black” and Dez Duran’s “I’m Feeling Good” in the top 25 (let alone as high as you’ve put them). My Top 10 are:

    1. Amanda – Dream On
    2. Cassidee – Over You
    3. Amanda – Paris (Oh la la)
    4. Melanie – Toxic
    5. Amanda & Trevin – Vision of Love
    6. Melanie & Caitlan – Lights
    7. Trevin – And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going
    8. Cassidee – I’m With You
    9. Cassidee – Stupid Boys
    10. Nicholas – Lean On Me

    You include most of these somewhere on your list. As for the ones you didn’t, I thought “Lights” was one of the best battle round songs of the season, while “I’m With You” has long been one of my favorites and I thought Cassadee did it justice (the first time around when she sang it solo).

    Also, if we we’re also to include some of the groups songs from the results shows, I would have to add Nicholas & Melanie’s “Criminal” to the list.

    Comment by Don Viajero – December 22, 2012 06:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Shows how the writer was too much of an Amanda fan. While I do think she is a great vocalist, I do not think she stands out as much from the others as many of her online fans often write….if she were THAT great, she would have been picked up long ago…she is working in the music industry after all.

    I would add Terry’s I Want to Know what Love is, She’s Gone, Landslide, You know I’m no Good, You give me something,,,,and I wouldn’t put Someone like you as part of the best…I hated it….

    Comment by Josephine – December 29, 2012 07:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “Vision of Love” is 18?! That’s just crazy, Slezak! That was, indisputably, the song and moment of the season.

    Comment by MrTemecula – January 2, 2013 03:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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