The Voice: 25 Song Suggestions to Make the Season 5 Semifinals Surprising (and Delightful)

With Season 5 of The Voice reaching the semifinal round this Monday (8/7c on NBC), the competition seems more evenly matched than in any prior incarnation.

And that means that over the next fortnight, song selection will be crazy critical for Jacquie Lee, Tessanne Chin, James Wolpert, Cole Vosbury and Will Champlin.

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To help ensure that the artists continue to choose ditties that suit their voices and musical styles — without veering into “been there, heard that” territory — we’ve cooked up five out-of-left-field song choices for each and every one of ‘em.

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Click through the gallery below for our unsolicited advice, then hit the comments and share your own dream set lists for the Top 5.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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43 Comments
  1. Timmah says:

    Doll Parts would be epic.

  2. Tedi says:

    I’m Jamaican and I have been team Tessanne for years! Her first breakout song here was called ‘Hideway’ and trust me it got the entire country to love her and her style. Most of the country hopes that she will get the chance to perform it on The Voice. Any Team Tessanne people look it up on youtube, you’ll fall in love with her all over again =)

  3. Gerry says:

    I’d love to see Tessanne takle some hallowed ground, and have fun with some attitude. I believe she could pull off some Aretha with “Think” or “Respect”

  4. Chablis says:

    Your best choices were for James. Rest were good but eclectic. America doesn’t vote eclectic often, they vote familiarity.

  5. GTS says:

    I feel like everthing this season has been expected. Caroline got prematurely sent home because she sang the same thing every week (and if you’ve heard her EP, she can do a wide variety of songs, including powerful emotional ones).

    I’m most excited to see Michelle Chamuel return!

  6. jazzy says:

    I just don’t think there’s a future star in this years line up. Jacqui has the pipes, but as Simon Cowell would say “it’s all a bit too screechy” then he would add a cat metaphor. Slezak you have been so off the mark this season, you always root for the quirky underdog, who may be great vocally, but cannot sell albums. They have to be the whole package and then some.

    Love the idea of James singing The Bangles. That was the only choice in there that was pure brilliance. I would love to hear any guy do that song. That would be super heartfelt and sexxxxy.

    • Kate says:

      Funny that you talk about jacquie “not having the entire package” out the 5 she is the only one that I can see being successful outside the shows. I mean she has a nice voice, good stage presence (not boring) and her youthful personality is a plus. There is a reason why she has more followers even if she is singing classics.

  7. Ashbash says:

    I want to see jacquie lee sing some jojo maybe too little too late or leave(get out). Jojo’s songs are age appropriate and she was also a teen with a big voice so jacquie lee will get to do all her yells and what nots. As for Tessanne I want to hear her sing some Beyonce she needs more fun music

  8. JM says:

    I’d love to see Tessanne tackle something like Tracey Chapman’s ‘Talkin Bout a Revolution’.

  9. Sergio says:

    Will should sing Metallica’s Nothing else matters in piano version… Unfortunatelly they cannot play metallica songs :(

  10. Jeremy says:

    I think We Belong Together is a better fit for Jacquie.

  11. It WOULD surprise me if Tessanne sang a Donna Allen song. Lol.

  12. I also agree with Jacquie Lee singing Minnie the Moocher…that would be a FANTASTIC choice. As for James Wolpert, I still really want to see some early Tori Amos.

  13. Tyler says:

    I like the song choices for James and Will. Not so much for the others. I think James should do a Bangles tune and Will should do a Timberlake tune. Otherwise, I wouldn’t mind seeing James doing a Beatles or a Lennon song. I think it would suit his voice. Because Will is a soulful vocalist, I would like to see him do something from Stevie Wonder–anything from the Songs in the Key of Life. I would like to see Cole do Neil Young–maybe Heart of Gold. I would love to see Tessanne do anything from U2–maybe Pride or One Tree Hill.

  14. Mark says:

    I was hoping for a thread like this. Those suggestions are mostly crap. Here’s what I would like to hear:
    Tessane – Always Alright (Alabama Shakes)
    Jacqui – I’m Only Happy When It Rains (Garbage)
    Cole – What Makes A Good Man (The Heavy)
    Will – Pablo Picasso (Citizen Cope)
    James – The Reason (Hoobastank)

    • Harris says:

      Your pick for James is perfect.

      • Joel says:

        Cole Vosbury – Gale Song (The lumineers), Blackbird (Beatles)
        Will Champlin – Mirrors (Justin Timberlake)
        James Wolpert – Blower’s Daughter (Damien Rice), We are young (FUN), Open Your Eyes (Alterbridge)
        Jacquie Lee – Run (Leona Lewis)
        Tessanne Chin – Clown (Emeli Sande)

        • Mark says:

          I love “Blackbird” for Cole. If he sings that at the finale, and plays the guitar, he wins. But all my guitar playing friends tell me that song is HARD to play.

        • danin says:

          James doing The Blowers Daughter would crush.

          • mikezenti@live.com says:

            James had longterm in mind. Of Legal age, and so and still pure. So he told me that he thought instantly that it was a sign from a higher power if he was able to get her attention and win her heart over.

  15. 1humbleopinion says:

    My Advice to the Coaches on The Voice:

    No standards. No 80’s flashbacks. No oldies. No Aretha — or any other interpretation of a Diva. No 70’s Rock Anthems. No hits from more than 20 years ago. No More White Stripes!! No Songs that have ever been sung on The Voice or American Idol Before!!! Please give your artists contemporary music and well crafted songs. And let you artists return to the styles and performances we fell in love with to begin with.

    Cole: I agree with Michael here. We want a soulful and simmering like maybe even “Lost Without You” by Robin Thicke. Or slightly bluesy like “Freedom” by Amos Lee, or “Gravity” by John Mayer.

    Will: His cover of Gavin Degraw’s “Not Over You” was mind blowing. Give us more like that. How about “Change of Season” by Sweet Thing.

    Tessanne: Love the reggae vibe, but it’s now been there done that. How about something by Annie Lennox’s Bare album.

    Jacqui: The 16 year old belting oldies is at risk of turning into a bit cartoon, karaoke embarrassment. We have no idea what kind of contemporary artist this young girl has a shot at becoming. And as soon as she stops belting and actually sings, the vocals start to fall apart. How about “Party In The USA” by Miley Cyrus. It’s young, fun, upbeat, and relatively current. We need to see if she can play in that kind of lane.

    James: I agree with Michael here. go back to the acoustic singer/songwriter vibe that blew away everyone on the Joni Mitchell cover. Or at least a dramatic performance with an arc. My vote is for “Madness” by Muse.

    • abz says:

      Thank you for this comment. So sick of watching this show and having them sing songs from 20-40 years ago (the majority of which myself and I’m sure many others my age have never heard of). It’s getting annoying!
      Why can’t they at least make them sing songs from the after the millennium or at least from within the last decade. So sick of hearing them sing classics and oldies. If I never hear, it’s A Man’s World, Respect, Think, I Will Survive…..(the list could continue forever) I’d be very happy!

      • danin says:

        And herein lies the conundrum. The oldies are boring often for young people and over done.The newer songs sound like junk to the older audience as well as their not being familiar with them

        • Dan Hetland says:

          You are exactly right danin. This broadcast covers many viewers other than the teenagers and early 20 year olds. Why do you think Blake is guiding Cole towards Country music? It is because there are a lot of country music fans who watch the show and also vote. And, in case you didn’t notice, he has won the contest for the past three years. You may not be a fan of Country music and someone else may not particularly like “…a Man’s World.” but you can rest assured that it there are countless fans who do enjoy it and they have the same voting power as you and everyone else,

        • abz says:

          That’s fine. I realize this show has a wide range of viewers, but the thing is maybe they should try and at least have some sort of balance. Lately this season it has just felt like the majority of their song choices are oldies and classics. They do get boring because you hear them so many times on these singing competitions. Just like you think they should continue to appeal to older viewers they should make the same effort for younger ones; That’s why I love the Blind Auditions. It’s not the coaches thinking that they should sing or put the 100th spin on a classic. It’s the contestants choosing their own songs and what they liked and ones typically appropriate for their age. Also, if they want to sing oldies and classics then at least pick songs that haven’t been sung to death on every single singing competition show more than a dozen times. Current music doesn’t have to mean singing only songs from 2012 and 2013. Songs from the last decade are fine.

    • Daw Johnson says:

      Completely disagree on Jacquie. Her best, most successful performances HAVE been the oldie/soul/diva ballads.

      Songs like “Party in the USA” are way too light for this show. They only work if you do a stripped or emo arrangement, and that’s not Jacquie’s thing.

  16. Low says:

    Tessanne should do “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood

  17. Rex Master says:

    Cole Vosbury – Gangnam style
    Will Champlin – I’m Sexy And I Know It
    Tessanne Chin – Call Me Maybe
    Jacquie Lee – Friday (Rebecca Black)
    James Wolpert – The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)

  18. Don Viajero says:

    I saw in your interview with Caroline Pennel that she had wanted to do Christina Perri’s new single, Human. After listening to the song, I think it could actually be a better choice for Jacquie, who I think could hit those big strident notes at the end much better than Caroline could have. The nice thing about that song though is that most of it is much softer, somewhat similar to the beginning of The Voice Within, which I thought Jacquie did quite well on. The song would be a challenge for Jacquie and thus a bit of a risk, but if she nailed it, she would well deserve making it to the final.

  19. Harris says:

    James Wolpert – Permanent by David Cook, Carry On by Fun, The Man who can’t be moved by the Script.
    Cole Vosbury – House by the Sea by Moddi, Give me one reason by Tracy Chapman,Hey Soul Siter by Train.
    Will Chapmlin – Numb by Linkin Park, Stop and Stare by One Republic, It Will Rain by Bruno Mars.
    Tessane Chin – Any power ballad will do I guess.
    Jacquie Lee – She would scream anything anyway .. not that I mind nor I care.

  20. sg54 says:

    I agree with some of the comments above that claim that Jacquie isn’t current enough. As a young 16 year old girl, she needs to find a way to be current or she’ll literally fall into obscurity as soon as the show ends! But not too generic stuff, she needs to attach herself to a more creative artist, i.e. caroline wanting to christina perri. Her inability to sing softer ballads is really hurting her at this point, because where are the screamers on the radio? It’s unfortunate, but today’s radio is not necessarily about the big, talented voice, its about creativity and how your relevant to your audience. copycats won’t make it. why did lorde come about? cuz she was something new.

    • Lee says:

      Yeah–but how long will someone like Lorde last? Unless she changes it up a bit, I think she’ll be another flash in the pan. I’ve seen artists like her before. They come out with something new and original and then people get bored with it.

      • Timmah says:

        I think what sets apart the ones who make it big — Adele, Bruno Mars, etc. — aside from being talented, is their ability to write really good material that is uniquely suited to their style. Most people on these competition shows are only good at singing stuff that other people have made famous.

        • MC says:

          Exactly. You said a mouthful. The transition from cover artist to original artist is often a very rocky one, especially if you’re not going into country music.

        • Mark says:

          I have far more respect for singers who write their own material, but you would be amazed at the number of top selling artists who do not. Perhaps you’ve heard of some of them. Elvis, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, One Direction, Nikki Minaj, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, Celine Dion–the list goes on and on. In some cases they get song writing credit, but contribute very little to actually writing the song. The credit just helps them collect bigger royalty checks down the road. In other cases they have written actual songs, but not the hits that made them famous. Writing ones own songs is not a prerequisite to stardom.

  21. steve says:

    I agree with Jacquie i want to see her do something along the lines of Stompa as that has been my favorite performance of hers

  22. Woodmeister says:

    Jacquie – “What if God was One of Us” – Joan Osbourne, “You Don’t Own Me” – Leslie Gore
    Cole – “Fortunate Son” – Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Smuggler’s Blues” – Don Henley
    Will – “Closer” – Tegan and Sara, “It Will Rain” – Bruno Mars
    Tesanne- “Killing Me Softly” – Fugees version, “Domino” – Jesse J
    James- “Drift Away” – Dobie Gray, “One Week”- Barenaked Ladies

  23. Quinn Carson says:

    I think Tessane should do Friday and Jacquie does Call Me Maybe. Either way, that’d be one hell of a show.

  24. Will Champlin – Vision of Love by Mariah Carey.

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