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'American Idol'-'Voice': Jessica Sanchez better than Jermaine Paul?

May 11, 2012 |  4:17 pm

Jermaine Paul
“The Voice” ended its run this week, crowning Jermaine Paul the winner of Season 2. Over at "American Idol," Hollie Cavanagh got the boot, leaving finalists Jessica Sanchez, Phillip Phillips and Joshua Ledet  to do their hometown visits and vie for the big prize.

Although “The Voice” is over, our "Idol" vs. "Voice" rankings continue, taking the singers from both shows and putting them head to head each week. I'm still choosing my top five performers from among the two shows, along with Times music writers Todd Martens and Chris Barton, and you can cast your votes too, at the bottom of this post.

Below are my picks for the week. To see what my co-judges have to say and to view the performances, click below.

INTERACTIVE: Who's the best? "Idol" vs. "The Voice

1. Jessica Sanchez, "American Idol"

Jimmy Iovine predicted that Sanchez's performance of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from "Dreamgirls" could seal the "Idol" win for her, and if Phillip Phillips and Joshua Ledet hadn't also had strong performances this week, it likely would have done so. Sanchez funneled into the song all the fury and frustration she felt after her near-elimination earlier this season and solidly, passionately landed every note, every word, every nuance. It felt cathartic. And when she sang "And you, and you, and you, and you … You're gonna love me," she left viewers no choice but to surrender.

 2. Phillip Phillips, "American Idol"

This take on Damien Rice's "Volcano" was perfect, pure Phillip Phillips: intimate, contained, intense, with so much hot emotion roiling beneath the surface of his pebbly voice. He showed a range, melodic command and vocal ease he had not before and brought the song a lava-like sizzle that was also … cool. No herky-jerky moves, no jimmying legs, you could barely see Phillips' profile in chiaroscuro. Steven Tyler was spot-on when he said it was the kind of song he could imagine listening to on headphones over and over and over again. I'm ready to replay it –- yet again -– right now.

 3. Jermaine Paul, "The Voice"

Paul tucked the "Voice" win under his wing and lifted off as a solo artist with R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly." He sang with soul and style, passion and power, emotion and elegance. Now he'll be able to crow about a win (though he seems so humble, it's hard to see him doing that), feather his nest with $100,000 and sing like a bird on his own record. May he soar high and go far.

 4. Joshua Ledet, "American Idol"

Ledet went all in on James Brown's textured "It's a Man's Man's Man's World." At points, he seemed to be attacking the song through gritted teeth. And how could you not love that stage full of female musicians? Though it didn't pack quite the emotional punch and the added irony of Juliet Simms' triumphantly furious recent take on it on "The Voice," it had standing-o-worthy soul to spare (that "ahhh-hooo" moment especially). If Ledet keeps this up, who knows? It may be a Man's Man's Man's "Idol" again this year.

5. Juliet Simms, "The Voice"

Though she was apparently ill, Simms carried off Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird" like the rock star she's poised to become. She's a bird we don't want to change –- and it will be interesting to see how she launches from her second-place perch. The incredible Erte-esque costume –- that fiery red dress with the filmy cape that at one point shot up in the air like a flame –- didn't hurt either. Lighters aloft to that!

"American Idol" vs. "The Voice"

Each week our experts and readers rank the best of the best between the two blockbuster singing competitions. Last week, readers put "American Idol's" Jessica Sanchez just slightly ahead of "The Voice's" Juliet Simms on top. Who will be the favorite this week? Vote below and check out this week's performances and see what our judges had to say at


'The Voice' finale recap: Jermaine Paul wins Season 2

'American Idol' recap: Hollie Cavanaugh ousted, three remain

Jermaine Paul wins and Christina Aguilera mends fences [video]

— Amy Reiter

Photo: Jermaine Paul won it all on "The Voice." Credit: Mitchell Haaseth / NBC.