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09.19.13

The Best (and Worst) Rihanna Covers: Jared Leto, Vin Diesel, Selena Gomez, More

Jared Leto and his band Thirty Seconds to Mars recently performed a stellar rendition of the Rihanna ballad “Stay,” but does it hold a candle to Vin Diesel’s version? See our ranking of the best (and worst) Rihanna covers.

1. Vin Diesel – “Stay”

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Actor Vin Diesel’s heartfelt cover of “Stay” tops this list based on boldness (and strangeness) alone. Diesel posted his version of the song to his Facebook page on Valentine’s Day as a gift to his girlfriend, Paloma Jimenez, which sees the Fast and the Furious star performing the tune at what appears to be a karaoke bar. He later posted an edited version of the video contained close-ups on his face, revealing just how much he was emoting throughout his performance. And watch him go for those high notes. The man is fearless.

2. Jared Leto – “Stay” 

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Thirty Seconds To Mars performed a great cover of “Stay” at the BBC Live Lounge this past Tuesday. With every crack in his voice, Jared Leto made the song his own and, were it not for the video, you wouldn’t know he was reading the lyrics off of a music stand. Leto even knows he killed the performance, cooly uttering, “There you go...” at the end.  Added points to Leto for not taking off his mirrored sun glasses throughout the whole thing.

3. Adam Lambert – “Stay”

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While on American Idol, Adam Lambert proved he knew how to take another artist’s song and make it his own. So it comes as no surprise that his cover of Rihanna’s “Stay” is amazing. Lambert first covered the song in a video he posted to his Keek on Feb. 11, the night after Rihanna performed it on Grammys. He then performed “Stay” in its entirety in Seoul, South Korea. on Feb. 17.

4. Coldplay – “We Found Love”

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During a performance at the BBC Live Lounge in Oct. 2011, Coldplay performed an acoustic rendition of Rihanna’s 2011 hit “We Found Love.” The British band’s version strips Rihanna’s song of all its over-stimulating electro elements and turns it into a moving ballad.

5. Jessie J – “We Found Love”

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One year later, British songstress Jessie J (real name: Jessica Ellen Cornish) stopped by the BBC Live Lounge to perform a stripped-down rendition of Rihanna’s dance hit “We Found Love.” Playing with the song’s tempo, she really made it all her own.

6. Demi Lovato – “Stay”

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The first two-and-a-half minutes of Demi Lovato’s cover of  “Stay” are pretty standard. However, once she arrives at the bridge, her voice soars into the stratosphere. Lovato performed her rendition during Kiss 108's Kiss Concert 2013 back in May in front of thousands of screaming fans.

7. Ed Sheeran – “We Found Love”

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The redheaded British singer-songwriter stopped by SiriusXM Hits1 to perform an acoustic version of the Rihanna dance smash “We Found Love,” transforming the high-octane stomper into a soothing lullaby.

8. Jamie Cullum – "Don't Stop The Music"

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British crooner Jamie Cullum released this jazzy version of Rihanna’s 2007 hit “Don’t Stop the Music” on his 2009 album The Pursuit. His cover definitely makes the song a lot more accessible to older listeners. It is a shame, however, that he did not find a way to work in the “Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa” part that RiRi borrowed from Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin Somethin” in the original.

9. Rebecca Black – “Stay”

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Surprise, surprise: Rebecca Black and Drake Bell impersonator Dave Days’s cover of Rihanna’s “Stay” is not terrible. However, it's still pretty far from good. The overall performance is rather boring and does very little to convince us to listen to her cover en lieu of the original. On the bright side,  Black does prove that she can sing something other than her grand opus, “Friday.”

10. Selena Gomez – “Birthday Cake”

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Selena Gomez tagged on a short cover of “Birthday Cake” to the end of her song “Birthday” during a concert in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Aug. 19. Unfortunately, Gomez’s cover comes off as nothing more than karaoke. Additionally, hearing the “Birthday Cake” lyrics come from Gomez’s mouth makes for a pretty awkward experience.