Multi-platinum recording artist Jason Derulo stars in episode three of YouTube’s bold new original series, “Best.Cover.Ever.” which aired on Nov. 20. In it, the “Talk Dirty” singer works with series executive producer and rap icon Ludacris to choose one winner from two finalists to perform a collaboration which will air on YouTube. “Best.Cover.Ever.” is giving unknown and emerging artists a chance to make their music dreams come true via the social media platform that helped launch careers for artists like Justin Bieber, Alessia Cara, and more. SPOILER ALERT: Winners are revealed in this recap.
Choosing the Top 2 Acts
After thousands of submissions from all over the world, Jason Derulo chose his Top 2 favorite covers of his Billboard Hot 100 Top 20 single, “Trumpets.” The first group, Undecided Future, hails from California and met at Orange County School of the Arts. Members are Matisse Passillas, Cole Frederick, Matt Issac, Nick Stone and Hayden Lyskoski. Hayden is battling testicular cancer. So, Kendrick Park stepped in to play bass for the episode while Hayden was receiving chemo treatments. The stylistically eclectic band projects a funk, R&B vibe.
Jason’s second finalist, Aspen Haught (aka Aspen), hails from Huntsville, Alabama. The indie pop teen singer boasts a soulful flair and distinct tone. Jason told Ludacris he thinks Aspen's submission displayed “star quality.” She’s been singing and performing since the age of 12.
The superstar “surprise” appearance part of this series is so fun. These acts all think they’re performing for an artist’s producers. Then, the artist pops out to surprise the contestants and reveal they’re performing for them instead. In this episode, Jason pretends to be a behind-the-scenes barista and then makes his grand entrance. Everyone is pumped as he greets them. They’re excited and understandably nervous as he tells them they’re going to perform a cover in front of him.
The acts perform “Swalla” and Aspen is up first. She has a pretty, sultry tone that seems beyond her 19-years. However, her nerves show, and she never makes eye contact with Jason or Ludacris. Still, they really like her unique sound. Ludacris says her voice is “dope.” Jason recognizes her “quiet confidence” and tells Aspen he wishes she would turn her nerves into energy.
Undecided Future hits the stage, pledging to win it for Hayden. They put a unique spin on the song by playing a bunch of different instruments and they ultimately deliver a fun, high-energy rendition of the song. “Swalla” is arguably a tough song to tackle. Jason doesn't like their take on Nicki Minaj’s part of the track. But, he really likes the arrangement and overall delivery of the song.
The Winners Slay “Want to Want Me” with Jason
Jason ends up choosing Undecided Future as the winning act. We’re happy to see Jason and the group do a video chat with Hayden (who reports he's doing well following his treatment) in the triumphant moment. The boys work with the BCE team, which includes iconic producer and series music director Rickey Minor, to work out their collaborative arrangement on Jason’s UK Singles Chart No. 1 track, “Want to Want Me.”
Their final performance is brilliant. These guys blend really well into Jason Derulo’s stylistic lane. At the same time, they bring something fresh to the track. Big props must go out to all the BCE emerging artists who have risen to the challenge by performing so well, almost instantly, under what must be unimaginable pressure.
In each of the three series episodes that have aired, Ludacris reveals a final surprise at the end. This time, he contacts Undecided Future post-show and tells them Jason is flying the group all expenses paid out to the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, for them to gain exposure. The group is thrilled, and we sense big things for their future.
Overall, “Best.Cover.Ever.” continues to deliver a fun, fast-paced new singing competition series which is focused on discovering untapped new talent. The series is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. brands and is also produced by Ryan Seacrest Productions, Endemol Shine North America, and Columbia Records. You can watch the entire "Best.Cover.Ever." third episode in the attached video.