Jake’s Take’s Fifth Anniversary: Top 30 Greatest Reality TV Performances of All-Time-Part Three

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

Missed part two of my countdown? Click here to read it!

This is it!

Here are the ten greatest Reality TV performances of all-time:


(Photo property of FOX's Michael Becker)

(Photo property of FOX’s Michael Becker)

#10-Candice Glover: “Lovesong(American Idol, 2013)

2013 was a year of lasts for American Idol. It was the last year that Randy Jackson was on the long-running FOX singing competition’s judging panel, and it was the last year that America crowned its last female Idol. That winner was Candice Glover! Her win was a conclusion of an Idol journey that started in Season Nine, continued in Season 11 and ended during Season 12! All throughout Season 12, Candice delivered impeccable vocal performances, but it was her cover of the Cure’s “Lovesong” that I believe won her the competition five weeks early! Candice’s velvet vocals shook the CBS Television City audience to its core, and the performance ended with then judge Mariah Carey throwing glitter at her. This was a pure vocal masterclass performance.


(Photo property of iTV, Syco Entertainment & Thames)

(Photo property of iTV, Syco Entertainment & Thames)

#9-The Collaborative Orchestra: “Don’t Stop Me Now(Britain’s Got Talent, 2016)

I hope you have your passports handy because it is time for one last trip across the pond! This year, Britain’s Got Talent (BGT), celebrated its tenth-anniversary series. To commemorate this anniversary, the Collaborative Orchestra took the flash mob concept to a whole another level for their audition. Pianist Nicholas Bryant started out on the piano laying out the foundation by playing the primary notes of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” and then one-by-one other sections were introduced, which accumulated with their choir and their guitarist’s excellent solo.  In all my years of watching the Got Talent franchise, this outstanding performance remains one of the best and most original auditions of all-time! It is a shame that they did not receive the Golden Buzzer for this epic performance.


Cor Glanaethwy Britain's Got Talent The Prayer

(Photo property of iTV, Syco Entertainment, & Thames)

#8-Cor Glanaethwy: “The Prayer(Britain’s Got Talent, 2015)

Wales-based all ages choir Cor Glanaethwy delivered one of the most spectacular performances in BGT history last year.  The over 160-member choir put their unique twist to Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion’s “The Prayer” during the BGT Semifinals by singing the powerful hymn in their native language, Welsh, and Italian. Their performance gave me chills and made me weep. Make sure that you listen to the chorus, because the power of their blended voices will make you get the strongest case of the goose bumps.


Emil & Dariel I Don't Want to Miss A Thing AGT

(Photo property of NBC, FremantleMedia North America & Syco Entertainment)

#7-Emil & Dariel: “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing(America’s Got Talent, 2014)

One of my all-time favorite Aerosmith songs of all-time is “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing!” Many talent competition contestants perform this song, but none of their covers hold a candle to Emil & Dariel’s version, who have become friends to the blog. Over the course of Season Nine, Emil and Dariel showcased the magic of blending rock and classical music together. During Season Nine’s Top 12 night, Emil & Dariel beautifully delivered an inspiring performance using their cellos, band and (following then judge Howard Stern’s advice) a choir. This cover will make your heart sing in delight and because of their efforts, young performers are dominating this season of AGT.


Amanda Brown Dream On

(Photo property of NBC and MGM Television)

#6-Amanda Brown: “Dream On(The Voice USA Season Three, 2012)

If I had to name the best Voice USA performances of all-time, friend to the blog and Team Adam alum Amanda Brown’s cover of “Dream On” would be one of the first performances I mention. During Season Three of the NBC singing competition, Amanda became a fan-favorite artist with her innate ability to tackle any musical genre that was thrown in her direction. When she tackled Aerosmith’s “Dream On” during the Live Playoffs, she owned the Universal Studios Hollywood soundstage with her epic vocals and showcased why she had one of the best combination of vocals and stage presence of any artist during the first few seasons of The Voice.


 (Photo property of 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America & FOX)

(Photo property of 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America & FOX)

#5-Joshua Ledet: “It’s A Man’s World(American Idol, 2012)

After both Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul had left American Idol and Season 10’s roster of lackluster male vocalists, I was left wondering if there were any talented guys left in the country that was not stolen by AGT, The Voice, and The X Factor USA. Enter Joshua Ledet! The Louisiana native was one of the many stars that Season 11 produced. Like The Voice’s Kimberly Nichole, it was actually hard to pinpoint which performance to feature.  But, time and time again, I came back to his astonishing performance of the Godfather of Soul’s anthem, “It’s A Man’s World.” Joshua’s velvet vocals oozed out R&B perfection and delivered one of Idol’s greatest moments of all-time. I was so happy that former Idol Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe ask him to reprise this outstanding performance during the American Idol series finale.


(Photo property of FOX, FremantleMedia North America & 19 Entertainment)

(Photo property of FOX, FremantleMedia North America & 19 Entertainment)

#4-Jessica Sanchez: “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going(American Idol, 2012)

One other star that the eleventh season of American Idol discovered and a friend to the blog is runner-up Jessica Sanchez. Every time Jessica took the stage, her bombastic vocals blew her competition, the judges (Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler) and the audience away. Of all of the impeccable performances Jessica gave over the season, I honestly believe that Jessica earned her place in the Season 11 finale with her performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.”  Jessica’s impeccable vocal control and high octane vocals were on full display as she covered the song that made fellow Idol great and Season Three alum Jennifer Hudson an Academy Award winner. This performance also guaranteed Jessica a bright future in the music industry and why she is one of her generation’s premiere vocalists.

Jordan Smith Somebody to Love

(Photo property of NBC & MGM Television)

#3-Jordan Smith: “Somebody to Love(The Voice USA Season Nine, 2015)

In all of the seasons of watching The Voice USA, I never have seen any male vocalist dominate a season from Blind Audition to Season Finale like Team Adam alum and Season Nine winner Jordan Smith.  His one-in-a-kind vocals brought life to the lackluster Season Nine, and almost every one of his performances landed on iTunes’ Top 10 charts. When he covered Queen’s “Somebody to Love” for the Live Semifinals, I thought it was the Live Finals because of Jordan’s omnipresent vocals and the way he easily scaled up his vocal range.  This performance is not only the greatest Voice performance of all-time but also the best male Reality TV performance of all-time!

(Photo courtesy of Gerphil-Geraldine Flores)

(Photo courtesy of Gerphil-Geraldine Flores)

#2-Gerphil-Geraldine Flores: “The Impossible Dream(Asia’s Got Talent, 2015)

Surprise! Get out your passports, we have one final stop to make before we reveal the number one performance of all-time! We are heading over to the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore where friend to the blog and David Foster’s Golden Buzzer act Gerphil-Geraldine Flores stole the inaugural season’s finale with her powerful cover of The Man of La Mancha’s “The Impossible Dream.” I always found this aria to be boring, but Gerphil’s inspiring and octave-defying cover will give the listener chills. Gerphil’s “The Impossible Dream” remains the best performance from any Got Talent franchise.


Stacy Francis performs Purple Rain

(Photo property of FOX, FremantleMedia North America, and Syco Entertainment)

#1-Stacy Francis: “Purple Rain(The X Factor USA, 2011)

The X Factor USA’s first season was the first television show I ever recapped and during that season, there was one performance that made an impact on me. Stacy Francis’ tribute to Prince was the first time any contestant took me, the reviewer/critic, to church. Between her dominant notes and showmanship to impressing mentor Nicole Scherzinger (who weeped openly during her performance) and her guest advisor Enrique Iglesias, Stacy’s “Purple Rain” became the golden standard that I used for the last five years of talent competition critiques and had earned its place at the top of the Reality TV singing competition pantheon.

I do not own any of the clips that are featured in this article. They belong to the following:

  • American Idol: FOX, FremantleMedia North America & 19 Entertainment
  • America’s Got Talent: NBC, FremantleMedia North America & SYCO Entertainment
  • Asia’s Got Talent: AXN Asia, FremantleMedia Asia & SYCO Entertainment
  • Britain’s Got Talent: ITV, SYCO Entertainment & Thames
  • The Voice USA: NBC, MGM Television & Warner Bros. Television Distribution
  • The X Factor USA: FOX, FremantleMedia North America & SYCO Entertainment
Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar