First of all, let’s get this out of the way: the best version of ‘Shallow’ is the one Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper just did at the Oscars, right before they won Best Song for A Star is Born‘s unstoppable hit.
The sheer chemistry on that stage blew basically everything else out of the water. It melted the internet and we all floated away on an ocean of sploosh.
Here it is in full:
For every other version of this song, though, there’s only one moment that matters: the moment before the chorus, about a minute and a half in, where you have to try and do whatever Gaga does with that run of notes:
HAAA AH AH AH AH, AAAH AAAH, AH AH AH AH HAAA
Let’s see how the pros handle it, shall we?
There’s the pure and perfect straight take opted for by Rachel Zegler, AKA Maria in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming West Side Story remake.
She sounds like a Disney princess, but there’s still power behind it – and her control heading into the chorus is *infinite 100 emoji*.
Kelly Clarkson goes for her own mix of croon and belt, but it feels more Cranberries than full diva – but she gets points for absolutely nailing the tricky first note of the chorus.
Nick Jonas: doesn’t even attempt. NO POINTS. POST A FULL COVER, YOU COWARD.
Kate Hudson doesn’t get as far as the HRAAAGH either, although we have total confidence that she could nail it while planking for a full minute, because holy wow:
Alicia Keys crushes the notes in this parody version, of course, but loses points for letting James Corden join in. Not on the actual HRAARGH bit or anything, just in general.
You can barely hear Lea Michele’s vocals in this fan-shot video, but I think she actually puts more notes in?
Ultimately, though, the best version of ‘Shallow’ is the one you do in your shower, your car, or when you’re the last one left in the office – and you can let your power really rip, from the biggest belter notes to the quiet but very horny ones.
Here’s to keeping it hardcore.