The Voice: 35 Best Performances Ever

the voice best performances

Epic! Groundbreaking! Best-Ever! No doubt, Carson Daly will use those words (or similar hyperbole) on The Voice‘s two-part Season 8 finale (tonight and Tuesday, 8/7c on NBC).

Just because the buttoned-up host can be overzealous, though, doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Indeed, the last three months of competition have yielded some truly great moments — but the question now looms how they stack up against the best and brightest from the reality competition’s previous seven installments.

I scoured YouTube for definitive answers — the results of which can be found in my countdown of The Voice‘s 35 Best Performances Ever.

Check out the gallery below — or click here for direct access — then tell me where I got it right, where I misfired and which performances I egregiously snubbed!

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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60 Comments
  1. Gabriel says:

    Great list. Is easy to forget how many great artists were on the voice. I would only change Cassade song to ‘over you’.

  2. MC says:

    I would have a much different take on it, but there have been some very popular singers (on here and on AI) that just don’t move me at all. I’ll try to post an alternative list later tonight.

    • What about Nicholas David? His Bill Withers was soooooo good!

      • MC says:

        I only counted eleven selections on this list that would make my “Best Of” list. To be fair, MS is trying to represent as many different singers as possible. I would definitely choose multiple entries from at least a few individual singers.

  3. Riana says:

    Seriously the top 2 are Dia’s “Heartless” and Cassadee’s “Over You”. Cassadee still has the highest peak of any Voice contestant on the Hot 100 with that song.

    • kn1231 says:

      I actually looked through this whole list to see where Heartless was ranked…. and it wasn’t there. Definitely a miss there.

    • Christine says:

      I actually wouldn’t have ANY of Cassadee’s performances in my top 35!

      • Brian says:

        Yeah, me neither. But I’m just thankful there’s no off-pitch performance by that year’s obligatory rocker guy, what’s-his-name.

  4. Florence+TheMachineRules!!! says:

    YASSS!!! With Kimberly Nichole At #2!!! 😍😍😍

  5. Well Sawyer is performing “Old Man” By Neil Young, and Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts, so you might have to re-do that list after tonight. Oh and he is doing Ray lamontane, “Please” also! EPIC!

  6. lori says:

    Sarah Simmons?

  7. suesox says:

    I would have included Brittany Butler’s “Girl from Ipanema” and Anita Antoinette’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low” or “All About That Bass.”

  8. Christine says:

    Sarah Simmons – “Wild Horses”
    India Carney – “Earth Song”
    Troy Ritchie and Menlik Zergabachew – “Maneater”

  9. Christine says:

    Another overlooked one: Audra McLaughlin – “You Lie”

  10. Simon says:

    Wow, every single contestant in season 5’s top 6 made an appearance. I personally thought Tessanne’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and Matthew’s “Hallelujah” were better performances than the ones listed. As far as “Wrecking Ball” goes, Ricky Manning did it better. I also would have included Tess Boyer’s “Human,” Kristen Merlin’s “Foolish Games” (There are no Team Shakira performances here!), Anita Antoinette’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low,” Luke Wade and Griffin’s “Maybe I’m Amazed,” and Matt McAndrew’s “The Blower’s Daughter” instead of “Wasted Love” (I was at the taping for that one and it was amazing, and I wasn’t even a fan of his). I’m also surprised there are no appearances from Kat Perkins or Danica Shirey. Oh, and if it were up to me, I would scrap Sawyer from this list altogether. I find him incredibly overrated.

  11. Elizabeth Mirra says:

    I truly think James Wolpert’s Somebody To Love or Love Interruption should be near the TOP with his Case of You — His unique voice and performances still stand out as exraordinary. You can’t mistake his voice for any other. And, by the way, his new debut rock album, “The Entire City” is really awesome too! (On iTunes)

    • danin says:

      So glad you wrote this.I was just about to say Love Interrupted&Blue are in the top of my list. Along w/Josh Kaufman who had numerous top songs.And if Angie sees this she’ll take my head off.CausevI loved Kat Robichaud’s Sail.

    • H says:

      Love Interruption was awesome. James Wolpert might be my all-time favorite The Voice contestant.

  12. fiyah says:

    Whats the criteria though mr slezak? Is it no. of youtube views?

  13. lorie says:

    I don’t watch the Voice but it sounds like they have a lot more variety in songs than AI.

  14. Ron says:

    Did I miss something or was India and Clinton’s battle round of ‘Stay’ not on this list? Because their performance of that song was definitely better than several of those in this list.

  15. Brian says:

    Man, there are some legitimately compelling performances there. Not just good performances, but songs I’d actually feel in the mood to listen to again. That girl who did Losing My Religion, the one who did Come As You Are, Melanie… I wonder how they’re all doing now.

    I’m just not into all the performances that just feel like an obligatory verse that’s there to set up THE BIG MOMENT, all the whoa-whoa-whoas and melismatics and unnecessary vibrato, and there’s a lot of that on this show. But there’s also some serious quality and interesting arrangements accompanied by a crazy good band.

  16. Jill Moy says:

    None of this years singers (maybe Sawyer) are worthy of being on this list! Kimberly and (TBOFM) Meghan simply scream! Kim has a shrieking high pitched scream and (TBOFM) Meghan screams with that horrible twang! Mia Z (ZOMBIE) is a mush mouth (who can understand her…PERIOD! And the faces on these 3 can stop any clock! Oh I forgot, perhaps Koryn should make the list! But those 3 ug mugs on the list, is a joke!

  17. danin says:

    I tried commenting 3or 4 times.This is really tiresome.

  18. Shannon says:

    “Roxanne” by Juliet Simms should be on here somewhere!

  19. Meg says:

    Amber Carrington had at least 4 that should make the list. Cannot understand why Adam did not take her under his wing and make sure she had an album pronto.

  20. jw says:

    This list shows why The Voice is the more vital vocal reality competition program, and has been for years. The song choices, the performances….everything about these performances is memorable, moving, incredible. And there are probably as many songs that could be on such a list….though “Dream On” will always be on the top.

  21. Cocoliner says:

    I’m thankful to see Amanda Brown in #1, but her ” Vision of Love” performance with Trevin ranks as one of the top 10 performances for me, not #35 (Raelynn ranks higher than this?!?)

  22. Hols says:

    So many good performances… a few of my favs didn’t make it – but the absolute best of all is definitely Amanda Brown – Dream On.. I was so bummed she didn’t win that season! Girl had it all – the looks, the voice, the attitude.. Even Steven Tyler had to be rolling over that version!

  23. A says:

    Totally agree with Amanda at the top. That was an insanely amazing preformance.

  24. Susanne says:

    Sigh…Amanda Brown. She was and is the best of the best from The Voice. No one has really come close. I’d also vote in Sasha Allen for her performance of Before He Cheats. Juliet Simms was fantastic too, but she had a lot of what Meghan is dealing with now – difficulty being “likable” enough (plus she was ill during her last performance).

  25. tealeaves says:

    Great list!
    Beverly from season 1 should have made the list somehow.

  26. Angel says:

    This list is automatically rendered invalid by the fact that it is missing THE BATTLE that basically led to the INVENTION of the steal.

    The Best Battle Ever: If I Ain’t Got You – Jesse Campbell and Anthony Evans

    Other than that, it’s a good list.

  27. Regina Knudstrup says:

    I’m so glad that Michelle Chamuel made your list. She was such a unique personality and owned that stage.

  28. Mara says:

    Amanda Brown is my all-time number 1 — I wish she had a new song out right now!!

  29. lee says:

    Anthony Evans & Jesse Campbell – If I Ain’t Got You

  30. Timmah says:

    Caroline Pennell’s The Way I Am was pretty great. Not enough of those understated kind of performances on these shows.

  31. Julien says:

    Where in the world is Sasha Allen’s “Ain’t No Way” or her duet with Amber Carrington on “Try?”

  32. Susan Getchell says:

    nicole nelson singing hallelujah.

  33. Bulmaro Cruz III says:

    Where the hell is India Carney or Sasha Allen? Mess at their exclusions. Good list though.

  34. Sheila Harsh says:

    So proud of you Sawyer !!!! Glad you won. Have a great career. Wish you the best !!! God Bless You !!! The Voice was great tonight !!
    The judges were awesome !!!

  35. Viajero says:

    My Top 12 (assuming only one song per artist):

    12. Matt McAndrew – The Blower’s Daughter (Season 7)
    11. Terry McDermott – Maybe I´m Amazed (Season 3)
    10. Kimberly Nichole – What’s Up (Season 8)
    9. Jacquie Lee – I Put a Spell on You (Season 5)
    8. Cassadee Pope – Over You (Season 3)
    7. Jamar Rogers – Seven Nations Army (Season 2)
    6. Michelle Chamuel – Grenade (Season 4)
    5. Christina Grimmie – Hold On, We’re Coming Home (Season 6)
    4. Amber Carrington – Stay (Season 4)
    3. Koryn Hawthorne – Make it Rain (Season 8)
    2. Juliet Simms – It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World (Season 2)
    1. Amanda Brown – Dream On (Season 3)

  36. Viajero says:

    Treating them as a separate category, my favorite all-time The Voice battle round duets:

    5. Vedo vs Jessica Childress – Locked Out of Heaven (Season 4)
    4. Vicci Martinez vs. Nicci Dawson – Perfect (Season 1)
    3. Caroline Pennel vs. Anthony Paul – As Long as You Love Me (Season 5)
    2. Hannah Kirby vs. Sarah Potenza – Gimme Shelter (Season 8)
    1. Amanda Brown vs. Trevin Hunte – Vision of Love (Season 3)

    • lee says:

      My favorite battles :
      8. Kimberly Nichole vs. Lowell Oakley – Hound Dog (Season 8)
      7. Mia Z vs. Ashley Morgan – Put the Gun Down (Season 8)
      6. Cody Belew vs. Domo – Telephone (Season 3)
      5. De’Borah vs. Nelly’s Echo – Message in a Bottle (Season 3)
      4. Trevin Hunte vs. Amanda Brown – Vision of Love (Season 3)
      3. Kris Thomas vs. C. Perkins – It Will Rain (Season 4)
      2. India Carney vs. Clinton Washington – Stay (Season 8)
      1. Jesse Campbell vs. Anthony Evans – If I Ain’t Got You (Season 2)

  37. Viajero says:

    And finally, my favorite coach-contestant duets:

    5. Blake & Jermaine Paul – Soul Man (Season 2)
    4. Blake & Terry McDermott (ft. Adam in a wig) – Dude Looks Like a Lady (Season 3)
    3. Ceelo & Nicholas David – Play that Funky Music (Season 3)
    2. Christina & Beverly McClelland – Beautiful (Season 1)
    1. Ceelo & Vicci Martinez – Love is a Battlefield (Season 1)

  38. Ruth says:

    Are you kidding me? America definately voted for the wrong person this kid Sawyer can’t sing! There were much stronger singers like Korhyn Diana Megan what the hell happened?

  39. W says:

    Years later, I still can’t get over Tony Vincent’s performances. He delivered every time.

    Or Tony Lucca singing “99 Problems.”

  40. Kathy says:

    Where is Nicholas David? He was my all time favorite, but Sawyer was incredible at the finale. Great night. I was pulling for Josh all the way, but Sawyer was so good! Awesome!!

  41. I disagree with your choice for Matthew Schuler. Wrecking Ball was ok, but Cough Syrup or Hallelujah were better. I forgot how badly Christina screwed him with the song choices.

  42. Brian says:

    I also remembered Amanda Brown’s Dream On performance as being one of the better ones I’ve seen on The Voice, but after rewatching it so many years later I’m changing my mind. I think I initially gave it too much credit because she pulled off the screamed “DREEEAM ON!” bits pretty well, but throughout the rest of the song there are lot of pretty flat notes and just not as much energy as there is in the version by whoever recently performed it.

  43. Miguel says:

    I think Jermaine Paul -I Believe i can fly should be number #1 no one can replace that.

  44. Miguel says:

    How about Jermaine Paul – I Believe i can fly ??