The Voice: 25 Best Performances of Season 5

It’s down to Tessanne Chin, Jacquie Lee and Will Champlin when The Voice airs its Season 5 finale tonight (9/8c) — but dozens of other vocalists played vital roles in making this the most competitive installment in the history of NBC’s reality singing juggernaut.

To celebrate three months of fantastic music, we’ve taken on the almost impossible task of choosing the 25 Best Performances of Season 5, and then upped the level of difficulty by ranking ‘em, too.

RELATED | The Voice Performance Finale: I Know What You Did With Idol‘s (Overdone) Songs in the Dark

So click through the gallery below for our pre-finale countdown, then hit the comments to tell us which ones we overrated, which ones we undervalued, which performances we egregiously snubbed and (hopefully) a few we got exactly right.

VIDEO | Reality Check: Who Won The Voice Semi-Finals –Jacquie, Tessanne or Will? Plus: Has The X Factor Earned a Fourth Season?

And for all my Voice-related recaps, news, videos and interviews, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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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71 Comments
  1. Sean says:

    Fail. ‘Hallelujah’ is too low, and ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ isn’t in the top 25 performances of the season?

  2. Timmah says:

    The Way I Am is #1 for me.

  3. Kaba says:

    ….What?
    What the…what the hell?
    The fact that Hallelujah isn’t #1 disturbs me.
    Nonetheless, hope Slezak’s ready for the hell that is about to be unleashed for the amount of Jacquie Lee performances that topped this season.
    Though I’m not disagreeing that “I Put a Spell On You” isn’t at least in the top 6 of the best.

    • LLL says:

      Maybe everyone is worn out from unleashing hell over last night’s recap. 😊

      • Kaba says:

        God no. They’re still unleashing hell now. All thanks to Slezak to be quite honest. Had he been a lot more objective about his review of the night people wouldn’t be so moved to literally verbally destroy that poor girl as though she’s personally wrong each and every one of them.

        • Dan (Haleyloonie) says:

          I actually stopped looking at comments in performance and results night (but not in this type of article) because so many were just screaming their opinions and insulting contestants.

          • Kaba says:

            The comments section isn’t even worth bothering with anymore. The amount of people acting like Jacquie personally found their homes and just belted the highest note she could manage into their ear for hours on end is ridiculous.

          • LLL says:

            I just checked out the comments again. There are over 500 now. I have to say that Jacquie isn’t my cup of tea, but I can’t understand the over-the-top bashing. I suppose it goes with the territory of becoming a public figure, but my heart breaks at the thought of Jacquie stumbling across the site and reading so many hateful comments.

          • S. says:

            We don’t need to be lectured. If a singer demands the airwaves to take time out of my enjoyment of a show for themselves, I get to complain. They’re the ones who wanted attention and our money to have a career off of aren’t they? I complained about Lazaro, I complained about Restless Road, I’m complaining here. Stumbling across the site? Don’t act like she’s gonna walk around the corner and run into people having a negative conversation about her. It’s kinda obvious when you go looking at this article it’s about The Voice and ranking things, and everybody knows the kinds of things said in comments sections. If she looks herself or the show up and reads the comments, it’s her own fault. She’s 3rd for me and frankly wouldn’t have been that high if the finishing order were mine to control because I thought better singers went sooner. It’s a matter of personal taste and she’s not mine. I don’t wish her ill, I just won’t be buying her album. I couldn’t stand “I Put a Spell On You.” The tone really threw me and when I went back to relisten to make sure I wasn’t being unfair, I had to stop. If she can have a career and it doesn’t require my listening to her, good for Jacquie. I wish her lots of success and money and fans. Just leave me out of it.

          • LLL says:

            Sorry, S. I didn’t mean to lecture. As I said before, Jacquie isn’t my cup of tea. In fact, she was probably my #7 or #8 when more contestants were still around, and I have complained about her in several comment sections over the past month or so. However, I think last night’s comment section took on a life of its own. As much as I dislike Jacquie’s voice, there is no way she deserved so much bashing. People were clearly upset over Slezak’s subjectivity and she got caught in the middle.

  4. Dan (Haleyloonie) says:

    A few I absolutely disagree with, but there are many others that are absolutely right (TESSANNE! JACQUIE!)

  5. LLL says:

    Caroline is #1 in my book.

  6. Kimbo says:

    Can I just say this season was absolutely confusing? I’ve never felt so underwhelmed by such a large batch of potential.
    James never had a standout live performance after “A Case of You”
    Tessanne’s memorable performances all started at the top 6.
    Matthew had 2 standout live performances, 1 standout knockout, and thankfully he had the most memorable song of the season
    Will has “At Last”….and maybe “When I was Your Man”
    Cole did great with “Let Her Go” but I don’t think any of his songs were powerful enough to leave an impression
    Kat…Sail
    Caroline didn’t leave an impression on me with any of her live performances
    And Jacquie’s performances are so polarizing that it’s hard to constitute if she had any memorable performances or standouts aside from “I Put a Spell On You”
    ____
    As far as I’m concerned (so, agree or disagree as far as I care) this season consisted of just…wasted talent coming into the live rounds. :/
    Season 4 was better in my opinion, fewer outstanding talents, but they had more impressionable performances.

    • a_lex89 says:

      I wouldn’t completely disagree with you, but….Season 4 of ”The Voice Country” was just painful to watch when the live shows started. It’s true that this season wasn’t quite ”consistent” with the performers of this very talented pool of talent, so I’m gonna have to agree about feeling like wasted talent when the live shows started (once again)…

      • kavyn says:

        Season 4 was a train wreck in terms of its final 12. Grace Askew, Christian Porter, and Caroline Glaser (just off the top of my head) were all robbed (two of them in favor of the Swan Bores who miraculously made it to the final 3). I was also incredibly upset at what they did with Amy Whitcomb, but that may be more for selfish purposes since I was a fan of her group on The Sing Off (NBC’s other singing show).

  7. Dan M. says:

    It’s clear that you do not consider things like vocal range, hitting notes on key, or vocal dynamics as important. While I agree that the blues should be evaluated differently than opera, I think that songs that were originally sung should be evaluated by how they were sung. What is your basis?

  8. I’m having a major “I miss Caroline moment.”

  9. Lux Landon says:

    When I read the title of this thread I thought to myself “Hmmm, wonder which Jacquie Lee song is going to be number 1″ Whatever Michael. The fact that the most popular song of the season, Hallelujah isn’t #1 speaks to your bias on Screech. Matthew’s performance was transcendent.

  10. evejill says:

    Jacquie is rated way too high… while you were busy throwing your shoes at her this season, i tossed her a dirty flip flop … *SMDH*

  11. Evan says:

    As I scrolled closer and closer to #1, I knew Jacquie was coming out on top. Lordy lordy…not a worthy pick of the best performance of the season. So many other picks in the rest of that top ten deserve it.

  12. Tom22 says:

    1 ) Adorn – Cole — so cool, such a good voice, such a great song where the orginal was in a style I don’t really relate to exactly(sometimes yes, but not without more edge else smoother like Cole)

    2) Stompa – Jaquie ( didn’t know the song… it is a good song and it fit her and her voice,a age and … less of that slightly shrill high notes that put so many people off too — and more her age.. all helps — but ..Mostly I like listening to it.

    3) Man in the Mirror – Josh ( I agree he should have been sent home that night because of his past performances and the impression he gave that he didn’t like restraining himself in the way that made the great performance

    4) Nick – Blurred Lines — I’ve bought the Robein Thicke oringal and the remix with Kendrick Lamar and Nicks is still my favorite Guilty pleasure like “Come on Aileen” ? absolutely

    5) Home – Ray … so cool. The way he sets such a firm candence and intepretation let the band have a lot of room to work with him (because of what he brought, he let step two happen)

    Band… really they are crtical in my list. I really loved the arrangments and the execution of the members and vocalists on all of the above.

    I’m judging performances in terms of the end result product.. not judging them based on “which singer ?deserves credit”.

    A great performance is one I’d want to hear on rotation whether or not I knew it was from a TV competition show.

    • Tom22 says:

      Ooops… wish I can edit. Everyone is entitled to decide there own terms. I meant to put a “for me” in the last sentence.

      Everyone can happily pick their own criteria ! Other people will definitely focus on things like how much they enjoyed watching the singer themselves and be indifferent to whether they wanted to hear it later. T

    • scott says:

      Blurred Lines ruined Nick. I cannot disagree more with your list.

  13. evejill says:

    Preston Pohl “Electric Feel” is nowhere on there…

    • Scamp says:

      Which makes his list MEANINGLESS.

      • Maymay says:

        exactly.

        • Zoo says:

          An irritating Slezak lost his mind this year and no doubt the interest of many readers. Listening to Preston Pohl’s ELECTRIC FEEL over and over again was the most exciting obsession for me this season. Jeff Gutt’s amazing CREEP was excellent, too, and the only other song I played on repeat. These kinds of performances that I can’t resist watching over and over again are RARE and quite delicious to discover and consume.

  14. DeeKayTee says:

    I’m sorry I don’t understand all of the Jacquie Lee hate! I absolutely adore that little girl! Such a big voice out of such a young person. It is amazing to see her growth and can only imagine what she will do in a few years. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE Tessane as well but I am personally pretty happy with either of them winning the whole thing.

    • Dan M. says:

      I don’t read hate, I read negative reaction to bad evaluations. Jackie Lee does very well for a 16 year old, and she has great potential if she doesn’t damage it by stressing it by trying to push before she’s properly trained in how to get a big sound without damaging her voice (my daughter spend years at college and at the SF conservatory learning how to use and safeguard her voice.

      The problem is not Ms. Lee, if she is properly trained she has a great potential. Without good technique, she can be washed up by 20, with damaged vocal chords. But, to use the example of the song the three contestants sang: Tessane had a phrase where she hit notes over three octaves in perfect pitch and complete control. That was a jaw dropper. She was spot on with her final solo. Jackie did a “junior” version of her song, with the hardest notes removed, and she still misvocalized notes and was off pitch from time to time.

      Having said that, she also hit some notes right on, with power and feeling. So, her performance was pretty good. But, Tessane’s was outstanding. She was clearly the better singer. And, while one might have argued that she started a little technical, and without feeling in the first rounds, she nailed the feeling of her final song. I think it’s harder for most of the audience to identify with her than Jackie, but I don’t think that’s going to make Jackie the winner. Finally, I think we need to remember it’s OK to not be the best. Calling someone second best among top people isn’t an insult. Remember, in every field, half the people are below average.

      • Madison says:

        Well said/summarized Dan! I agree with your definition of better singer. Tessanne, definitely is a better singer, and I think should have ranked higher. Personally I think Jacquie should not have made it to top 6, so I don’t agree with her with so many performances in top 25. To me loud doesn’t mean better. If we are going for loud/powerful, I would take Grey over Jacquie any day, better quality of voice. I also thought there was a lot talent lost in the knock out rounds. And I have to admit, Matthew’s Hallelujah was the only song I felt compelled to download on iTunes. But otherwise, I also felt he screamed a bit too much.

  15. adreyesatl says:

    i know it’s most likely disqualified due to the fact a coach is performing in it, but this season’s best performance was Team Christina with their Janet/Michael Jackson medley.

  16. smdh says:

    Can’t even take you seriously anymore.

  17. Sigh says:

    No Black Cat from Matthew, Jacquie and Xtina? It says performances, not contestant performances.

  18. guiaoshi says:

    I like Jacquie, but I would have I´m Teliing You on the list of the worst of the season.

  19. nhf7170 says:

    “Love Interruption” should be at least top 10.

  20. ….. I disagree with too much here

  21. meeee says:

    umm what about Cole on Let Her Go?? how is that not in the top 25, it was one of the best, if not THE best performance of the season.

  22. Gale says:

    Where is Try (blind auditions) by Tessane? I think Jacquie is rated too high – she over sings.

  23. what about the Tessanne/Caroline “Royals”? that was amazing – really annoyed it is not on itunes

  24. OMG, I totally agree with your top 25!! I’ts like I did the list!

  25. cns101 says:

    michael, i love you, but this countdown is absolutely ridiculous. i love will, but how his performance of when i was your man is higher than matthew’s cosmic love is absurd. plus, no battle round performance of radioactive between will and james?! and i get that you have this thing for jackie, but good god, she is on here way too many times, and with really odd choice of ranking her various song choices. i really wish you would be more subjective with this season michael.

    • Bri says:

      You want him to be more subjective? Wow.
      To each their own I suppose

    • Zoo says:

      You don’t mean subjective. You want Slezak to be more objective. Next season, Slezak should practice some discipline when writing about his personal favorites. And what a small man he was about Jeff Gutt’s perfection on the last night of the X-Factor competition. Slezak was so scared SCARED skeered that A&S would lose to Jeff, that he didn’t give Jeff his due. That’s how a writer of this type loses his credibility, by being subjective. Play “Dream On” by Steven Tyler, Jeff Gutt, and Danny Gokey and then read what Slezak wrote when he should have written that Jeff Gutt excelled! Jeff was amazing. I love Steven Tyler, but Jeff’s performance was amazing. Slezak shouldn’t even have brought up Danny. It was a transparent, weeny put down by Slezak.

      • Dillon says:

        See…what it appears to be is:
        Whenever Michael has an unpopular opinion, he’s lost his mind.
        Whenever commenters have one it’s not as big of a deal.
        This is silly, brains don’t process sounds the same and one will like something more than the other.

      • Scamp says:

        Mom!!! You’re being a little too opinionated and kind of fresh with your last two comments on Michael Slezak – this isn’t our livingroom!!!!!

  26. AmyP says:

    I usually agree with Slezak- not so much this time! As long as you love me, let her go, electric feel, Hallelujah and adorn are my top 5. At least those are the ones I keep listening to. This finale has made me realize how much I miss almost all of the contestants- Cole, Matthew and Caroline especially. Song choices ruined a lot of people I think- so much wasted potential! :( the top 3 bore me, to be honest.

  27. Quinn Carson says:

    Hallelujah, At Last, Bridge Over Troubled Water, When I Was Your Man, I Put a Spell on You, I Have Nothing, Sail… Some of the season highlights for me.

  28. Ayelet says:

    I actually agree with most of this. The only thing I would change is to put A Case of You higher and put Bridge Over Troubled Water and Cry Baby on the list.

  29. Karrah says:

    “A Case of You” is my #1. I also think James’ blind audition of “Love Interruption” should be in there.

    • Maymay says:

      I agree that Love interruption should really be on there. But I’m not at all surprised Michael left it out.

      • Adam says:

        Agreed with both of you. Obviously every list like this is going to be different because it’d be based on personal opinion, and to each their own, but how Michael overlooked Love Interruption and Bridge Over Troubled Water (which he gave an A-) while putting the Anthony Paul/Caroline battle #3 is beyond me.

        • Adam says:

          Had to figure my own completely biased list out for myself, but I wimped out and did a top 30. Think of 30-26 as “honorable mentions”.

          30. Juhi, “Mercy”
          29. James Irwin, “Losing My Religion”
          28. Cole Vosbury, “Rich Girl”
          27. Kat Robichaud, “I’ve Got the Music in Me”
          26. George Horga Jr. vs. Juhi, “Best I Ever Had”
          25. Caroline Pennell, “The Way I Am”
          24. Kat Robichaud, “You Oughta Know”
          23. Caroline Pennell, “We’re Going to be Friends”
          22. James Wolpert, “Somebody to Love”
          21. Donna Allen, “You Are So Beautiful”
          20. Jacquie Lee, “Who’s Lovin’ You”
          19. Tessanne Chin, “Underneath It All”
          18. Matthew Schuler, “Cosmic Love”
          17. Jacquie Lee, “Stompa”
          16. Jacquie Lee, “Love Is Blindness”
          15. Tessanne Chin, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
          14. Cole Vosbury, “Adorn”
          13. Matthew Schuler, “Wrecking Ball”
          12. Preston Pohl, “Electric Feel”
          11. Kat Robichaud, “Sail”
          10. Matthew Schuler, “Cough Syrup”
          9. Tessanne Chin, “Redemption Song”
          8. James Wolpert, “Love Interruption”
          7. Jacquie Lee, “And I Am Telling You That I Am Not Going To Write A Longer Song Title Than This”
          6. Will Champlin, “At Last”
          5. Tessanne Chin, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
          4. Jacquie Lee, “I Put a Spell on You”
          3. James Wolpert, “A Case of You”
          2. Matthew Schuler, “Hallelujah”
          1. Tessanne Chin, “I Have Nothing”

    • This. A case of you should’ve been at least top 3

  30. Jeremy says:

    I would have replaced Who’s Loving You or even And I Am Telling You with Stompa, Underneath It All with Bridge Over Troubled Water.

  31. My Top 10:
    1. Underneath It All
    2. Who’s Loving You
    3. As Long As You Love Me
    4. At Last
    5. Sail
    6. Case of You
    7. Cosmic Love
    8. Don’t Know Why (Stephanie Anne)
    9. You Are So Beautiful
    10. No One (Tamara)
    Though, if I was doing more than one song per artist, I Have Nothing and I Put A Spell On You would definitely be in there :)

  32. Maymay says:

    I think Love interruption and Electric feel should definitely be there.
    I would replace Juhi’s audition with her duet with George on You’re the best I’ve ever had.
    I also think Shelby Z deserves a spot for those bodyrolls and overall great performance of Last name in the Knockout round.
    .
    Just because Caroline had a great stand out moment in As long as you love me I don’t think the whole thing deserves a 3rd place?!? I’ll have to go listen again.

    Everything else is reasonable I guess (even if I would not give Jacquie nr.1 but this was expected of Michael), showing clearly that many talents like Amber Nicole, Tamara, Preston, Jonny and Kat, and even that Matt Cermanski kid, have gone wildly unexploited. Stephanie-Ann and Josh too, although in their case they have themselves to blame for oversinging their songs.

    For some of them I really wish I could see more. I hope they end up making some good music that really showcases their talents unlike this crazy show with all the weird song choices.

  33. Angie_Overrated says:

    As soon as I saw Kat was ranked, I stopped scrolling. No. Really. No. I’m sure one could successfully put together a top 100 list and still be Kat-free

  34. John says:

    Jacquie and Briana “House of the Rising Sun”
    Cole Vosbury “Let Her Go”
    Preston Pohl “Electric Feel”
    James Wolpert “A Case of You”
    * Jacquie’s “Angel” was better than “Love Is Blindness”

  35. Don Viajero says:

    I sort of agree with your Top 13 in the sense that they would all make my Top 25, but you left out entirely several that would have made my Top 25, including

    Preston – Electric Feel
    Tessanne – Bridge Over Troubled Waters
    Cole – Let Her Go
    Jacquie – Stompa
    Jacquie – Angel
    Amber & Timyra – Listen

    My Top 10 are:

    1. Tessanne – I Have Nothing
    2. Jacquie – I Put a Spell on You
    3. Matthew – Hallelujah
    4. Preston – Electric Feel
    5. Mathew – Wrecking Ball
    6. Jacquie – And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going
    7. Tessanne – Bridge Over Troubled Waters
    8. Cole – Let Her Go
    9. Caroline & Anthony – As Long as You Love Me
    10. Jacquie – Love Is Blindness

  36. Jaluhn says:

    My “Oh why didn’t Caroline do just as good as she did during the battle and knockout rounds” are coming back full force. I do have to say though I agree that Antony’s and Coraline’s “As long as you love me” is at the right part. And also I don’t get what the over praise of Hallelujah. To mean he lost the whole feeling of the song. It sure might have been popular, but that doesn’t mean it was the best.

    • Dillon says:

      Really? I don’t think think any rendition encompasses the feeling of the song like Matthew’s did aside from KD Lang’s. This was amazing.

  37. lynn says:

    I agree with Slezak. Jacquie was fantastic this season. Some may not like her tone, fine. Christina may have chosen to make Jacquie a mini xtina towards the end, instead of keeping her in the rock/blues genre. But the girl had many fantastic performances.

    After 13 years of these shows, you’d think that fans would want something a little different. Or no, WGWG and Divas are still the preference?

    The one thing I will say is that Matt’s Hallelujah is too low. It would have been #2 for me.

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