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"American Idol" vs. "The Voice": Who's the best singer? Vote here.

"American Idol" vs. "The Voice": Who's the best singer? Vote here.

Week of March 19 - March 26, 2012

"American Idol" vs. "The Voice": Our judges (and you) sound off on the best performances of the week.

Will stars emerge out of this season's "American Idol" and "The Voice"?

Cast your vote for the top performers each week, and see how readers' choices stack up against rankings from Times music and television writers.

Roll over the photos below to watch the performances and read what our judges had to say. Tell us whom you voted for and why. Your comments could end up featured alongside our expert panel.

Full coverage: "American Idol" | "The Voice"

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Who's the best singer? Our experts and you rank

Chris Barton

Music Writer

Jermaine Paul,

Jermaine Paul

"the voice"

This week's song:

'Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car'

Who doesn't love a hat toss?

With his experience backing Alicia Keys, it feels almost unfair to pick Paul, particularly against ALyX, whose name looks a little like a chemical compound. Certainly the most stylish contender, Paul cruised through "Get Out of My Dreams" with enough assured, genial soul to make the '80s soundtrack staple sound fun again. — Chris Barton

Play performance

Joshua Ledet,

Joshua Ledet

"idol"

This week's song:

'She's Got Away'

A subtle vulnerability

His stiffly spread-legged posture in a chair was a weird way to start, but there's an endearingly understated quaver in Ledet's voice that hit like a soothing wave (particularly after the paint-peeling assault of Skylar Lane). And while his performance's addition of a backing choir initially looked like an ambush, it shifted his voice into a higher place. — Chris Barton

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Elise Testone,

Elise Testone

"idol"

This week's song:

'Vienna'

The brassy belter

The only singer of the week to be backed by an accordion, Testone's voice is framed by the raspy howl of a barroom belter. She doesn't need the lounge act trappings of evening gowns and the zig-zagging flourishes that drifted into her closing, but her ability to wring emotion from "Vienna" lifted her above the week's flashier outings. — Chris Barton

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Phillip Philips,

Phillip Phillips

"idol"

This week's song:

'Movin' Out'

Growling in gray

Like a rumpled hybrid of Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews engineered in some lab outside Ithaca, N.Y., Phillips' mumble-mouthed rebel shtick will grow tiresome eventually. But even with that curious six-stringed contraption and a delivery reminiscent of an overbearing light-rail busker, his cathartic take on "Movin' Out" stood out. — Chris Barton

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The Shields Brothers,

Shields Brothers

"the voice"

This week's song:

'What's Love Got to Do With It'

A rock in a weird place

Ranked in protest of their loss to Erin Martin, who seemed engaged in a surreal crusade to twist coherent syllables into squealing, balloon-animal shapes. Somehow she beat these goofy Brothers, who weren't much better with their power ballad harmonies. But one of them looks like the host of "Man vs. Food," which made me vaguely hungry. Evocative! — Chris Barton

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Todd Martens

Music Writer

Jermaine Paul

Jermaine Paul

"the voice"

This week's song:

'Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car'

The early front-runner?

No one has made the early rounds of either of these vocal competitions look easier than Paul. The former singer for Alicia Keys, in fact, is so at ease on stage that he has time to adjust his hat between verses. This is how confidently he maneuvered through Billy Ocean's "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car": Someone unfamiliar with the lyrics could have mistaken him for ad-libbing. — Todd Martens

Play performance

American Idol

Elise Testone

"idol"

This week's song:

'Vienna'

A versatile performer

By tackling a lesser-known Billy Joel song in "Vienna," Testone chose a cut that allowed her to show off her range and versatility. At the start, she had the poise of a jazz vocalist, and built it to a rock 'n' roll rasp that seemed to come surprisingly natural. Whereas others try to growl themselves silly, Testone prevailed largely because one still had the sense she was holding back. — Todd Martens

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Erin Willett,

Erin Willett

"the voice"

This week's song:

'We Belong'

Steady and stern

She was saddled with a song in Pat Benatar's "We Belong" that easily lends itself to melodramatic, cellphone-in-the-air theatrics. How refreshing, then, that Willett avoided a sad-eyed reading of the song. She wasn't here to plead, she was here to demand. Ultimately, she may run the risk of overpowering a song, but thus far she's shown she can build to make the notes count. — Todd Martens

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Heejun Han,

Heejun Han

"idol"

This week's song:

'My Life'

Welcome comic relief

Diddy said he didn't know if Han was an actor or a con man, but a good pop artist is probably a little of both. That doesn't mean Han is - gasp - good (let's not get carried away here), but his clean vocals are better than he seems to be getting credit for, especially since he seems planted here largely for comic relief. For now, he brings much-needed life and levity to these ballad-heavy proceedings. — Todd Martens

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Erin Martin,

Erin Martin

"the voice"

This week's song:

'What's Love Got to Do with It'

In need of Cee Lo's magic

This was so off-the-wall that I honestly can't decide yet whether I loved it or hated it. I've watched it multiple times, trying to make sense of what, exactly, Martin is doing. She doesn't appear to be singing so much as torturing the words, squeezing them until the pain seems to force her to yelp. She gets a vote here, if only because I'm curious to see where Cee Lo will take this excitable mess. — Todd Martens

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Amy Reiter

Television Writer

Phillip Philips,

Phillip Phillips

"idol"

This week's song:

'Movin' Out'

What's not to love?

His earnest smile, scruffy good looks, the way he punches out each lyric with his whole body, his humble confidence: All of that and more came through when Phillips moved in — growl and all — on Billy Joel's "Movin' Out." — Amy Reiter

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Jessica Sanchez,

Jessica Sanchez

"idol"

This week's song:

'Everybody Has a Dream'

Turning the beat around

After semi-stumbling last week, Sanchez came back strong with Billy Joel's "Everybody Has a Dream." She also proved she could control her vibrato, holding it in check and then unleashing its fury at the right moment. — Amy Reiter

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Jermaine Paul,

Jermaine Paul

"the voice"

This week's song:

'Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car'

Worthy of the spotlight

Facing off against the irritatingly named ALyX on the Billy Ocean song, Paul took mediocre '80s pop and used it fully to his advantage, giving more voice, energy and personality to it than many of us thought it was worth. — Amy Reiter

Play performance

Elise Testone,

Elise Testone

"idol"

This week's song:

'Vienna'

Gaining some respect

Though she has seemed like the Rodney Dangerfield of "Idol," she showed vocal nimbleness and onstage confidence in "Vienna" that we had not previously seen from her.
— Amy Reiter

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Colton Dixon,

Colton Dixon

"idol"

This week's song:

'Piano Man'

Tailor-made

I can appreciate his musical talent, but his performances generally leave me cold. Still, sitting at that shiny red grand piano this week, Dixon slid into Billy Joel's "Piano Man" as if it were a bespoke hipster jacket with military-ish details (and natty buttons on the sleeves).
— Amy Reiter

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Your Favorites

Poll closed as of 1:15 p.m. Mar. 26

Katrina Parker,

Katrina Parker

"the voice"

This week's song:

'Bleeding Love'

Unique voice

"Katrina Parker. Hands down the best performance of the week. Best performance on The Voice all season," Amy Lochmoeller via latimes.com

"Katrina Parker gets my vote all the way! In terms of vocal distinction, hers is distinct and truly a unique VOICE," Ryan Black via latimes.com

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Jessica Sanchez,

Jessica Sanchez

"idol"

This week's song:

'Everybody Has a Dream'

'Nailed it again'

"Jessica Sanchez sang the roof off this week," Dion Richardson via latimes.com

"Jessica Sanchez IS theee Voice and the American Idol all in one. No one can touch her skills. Pure Natural Talent....Star in the making :)," Aileen Cyndee via latimes.com

Play performance

Chris Mann,

Chris Mann

"the voice"

Latest song:

'The Power of Love'

Big voice gains fans

Late Friday, classically trained Chris Mann became the first "The Voice" contestant to make it into the top five reader favorites.

"Chris Mann is awesome! His talent is only just beginning to be shown. Keep your eye on him!" Cheryl Renee Wilson Lipman via latimes.com

Play performance

Phillip Phillips,

Phillip Phillips

"idol"

This week's song:

'Movin' Out'

'I'd buy that version'

"I never tweet about American Idol. But Phillip Phillips just blew up (in a good way) Billy Joel's I'm Moving Out. I'd buy that version" @blockgreg via Twitter

"Josh, Jessica and Colton are the best voices, but Phillip Phillips is the album we'll buy!" Rita Gregory via latimes.com

Play performance

Colton Dixon,

Colton Dixon

"idol"

This week's song:

'Piano Man'

'Already a star'

"This kid Colton Dixon should win idol. He is already a star. purely awesome voice. I feel about him like i felt about Chris daughtry." @hoogs via Twitter

"Colton Dixon is a star! I can't wait to see what he does with his career!" Denise Beilowitz via latimes.com

Play performance

Photos: "American Idol" contestants / Michael Becker/Fox | Photos: "The Voice" contestants / Mitchell Haaseth/NBC.

Design and interactivity: Lily Mihalik. Interactivity: Armand Emamdjomeh/@emamd

Use the poll below to vote. Make your case in the comments. Poll remains open until Monday. Check back daily for new results.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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