I’m back this week to continue my series of the best performances from the first five seasons of The Voice in the lead up to the Season 6 premiere on April 24.
Note that I have chosen to include only one performance per contestant, so I get more of a spread of performances from different contestants and seasons.
30. Danni Da Ros vs. Sarah Lloyde – Mariah Carey’s Hero (Season 1, Battles)
I’m not really a big fan of overly ambitious diva-type contestants singing overdone pageanty ballads. But the combination of Sarah’s sheer vocal horsepower, precise pitch and creative melodic liberties make this a good exception. She didn’t win however, and joins the club of Season 1 Battle Round victims who could’ve done with the Save that was introduced the following season.
29. Luke Kennedy – John Farnham’s Please Don’t Ask Me (Season 2, Top 16)
Often on The Voice, we see these classical singers with perfect pitch and amazing technical ability, but with little artistry, emotion or risk-taking. They do what they do, and they do it well, but the result can feel a little sterile. However, this performance had an emotional and conversational quality, while allowing Luke to showcase his great sense of dynamics, incredible range and elegant phrasing.
28. Ben Goldstein vs. Mitchell Steele – Ed Sheeran’s Give Me Love (Season 2, Battles)
Delta Goodrem’s song choice for this Battle worked to great effect for both of them. Ben took the edge with his smoky tone, and showcased more vocal control and ability to emote than in his Blind Audition and Showdowns performances. Mitchell, on the other hand, brought great pitch and intensity. From memory, he was apparently sick in this performance, but didn’t go down without a fight.
27. The Koi Boys – The Chords’ Sh-Boom (Season 5, Blind Auditions)
* I linked to this video, rather than the shortened clip on The Voice Australia YouTube channel. (Speaking of which, here’s hoping that they’ll start uploading full performances to the channel again)
One of the best Blind Auditions across all five seasons, The Voice Australia’s first ever trio The Koi Boys brought so much energy to the stage. They had everything you could want in a Blind Audition performance – perfect pitch, precise harmonies, singing in the pocket, and of course their signature synchronized dance moves. All, might I add, while having a tonne of fun.
26. Karise Eden – Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah (Season 1, Semi-Finals)
Some people might think I’m absurd for putting inaugural winner Karise reasonably low on my list. However, I wasn’t the biggest fan of her, due to the combination of the excessive ‘pimping’ she got in her season, and her technical shortcomings and lack of restraint. In all honesty, we kind of see that in her Hallelujah cover. But I can’t deny that she brought such unbridled passion to this performance that just sends a shiver down your spine.
25. Cath Adams vs. Fem Belling – Jessie J’s Mama Knows Best (Season 4, Battles)
Mama Knows Best is just one of those songs that starts at 11, and only goes up from there. These two underdog contestants, with very different approaches to the song, both straight up killed it. There were some insane scats from Fem, and incredible runs and melodic choices from Cath. There was so much power, sass, and just all around holleration from both ladies that I can’t help but wave a gospel hand in the air.
24. Nazzereene Taleb vs. Maddison McNamara – Parson James’ Stole The Show (Season 5, Battles)
This Battle instantly made Nazzereene one of my favourite contestants for Season 5. Unfortunately, she was eliminated in the following round. But this performance showcases her incredible runs, power and her insane whistle notes. Maddison is nothing to scoff at in this Battle either – she matches Nazzereene note-for-note with power, and arguably has a more distinct tone than her opponent.
23. Mikaela Dean – Jess Glynne’s Take Me Home (Season 5, Top 16)
This performance is a primary example of what the perfect song choice can do for a contestant. This song allowed Mikaela to show off heretofore unseen restraint, incredible vocal control, range and power. She was immediately catapulted from the middle of the pack to front runner status, and was even Saved by Coach Jessie J to advance to the next week based on this performance.
22. Harrison Craig – Bread’s If (Season 2, Top 8)
We often see young contestants on The Voice Australia unable to draw upon real life experience when tackling more adult, emotional lyrics. But the juxtaposition of Harrison’s rich tone, with the way he caressed the lyric and approached the song with wide-eyed romanticism made this his pinnacle performance of that season.
21. C Major – Robin Thicke ft. T.I. & Pharrell Williams’ Blurred Lines (Season 3, Showdowns)
The Voice Australia has seen many contestants unsuccessfully tackle uptempo songs. There are countless examples of performances where a contestant will flounder trying to keep up with a current radio hit’s fast tempo, or struggle to stay in tune. Even successful attempts don’t translate well to the show’s viewers, who tend to reward Harrison-Craig-or-Karise-Eden-singing-a-ballad kind of moments (even though these kinds of ballads don’t usually do well on commercial radio). So it’s refreshing to see a contestant like C Major commended for tackling a challenging upbeat track (albeit kind of a bad one, admittedly), nailing the vocal and having fun, while working the stage like a boss. Highlights from the performance include them body rolls, that sky-scraping falsetto note, and the fact he actually sang the word ‘bitch’ on national television.