Week of Dec. 15-21

The X Factor’ vs. ‘The Voice’

On “The X Factor,” country singer Tate Stevens won Season 2, edging out teenager Carly Rose Sonenclar and the girl group Fifth Harmony. On “The Voice,” pop-rock singer Cassadee Pope emerged as the Season 3 winner over Scottish rocker Terry McDermott and Minnesota soul singer Nicholas David. And in our nonscientific reader survey, readers picked Carly Rose Sonenclar as their favorite.

Has America made the right call? See what our experts had to say about how “The Voice” and “X Factor” contestants compared.

Roll over the photos below to watch the performances. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Chris Barton

Music Writer

Todd Martens

Music Writer

Amy Reiter

Television Writer

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10,147 votes

Who's the best singer? Our experts and you rank 'American Idol' and 'The Voice' contestants

‘The Voice’ ensemble

A poignant pause

These shows aren’t known for subtlety, but there was a moving beauty in this understated tribute to those we lost in the Sandy Hook shootings. One tasteful choice was focusing on the names of each victim, making the voices we heard no longer matter. Because they didn’t.

Terry McDermott

Owning the '80s

"BROKEN WINGS" Mr. Mister gave us one of the most catchy yet absurdly serious songs of the '80s with this ballad, and McDermott owns every minute of it, right down to the light saber mic stand. He doesn’t have the broadest palate, but what McDermott does he does well.

Cassadee Pope

Together as one

The most fun part about this performance was trying to discern the difference between the nondescript eventual “Voice” winner and the onetime pop star who needs to appear on a singing competition for a career boost. Avril’s the one in the woodland creature eye makeup, right?

Nicholas David

Up in smoke

Poor Nicholas. You had so much promise earlier in the competition with your Starsky and Hutch lapels and booming voice, only to fall short. His pyro-themed performance had great energy, but ultimately didn’t generate any new heat

Fifth Harmony

Finally, surrender

Remember when Paul McCartney re-released “Let It Be” without Phil Spector’s production to sound more understated? This was the opposite of that. On the bright side, this atrocity captured everything overblown, empty and absurd about the show. Kudos, Fifth Harmony.

'The Voice' cast

The tribute

Reality shows aren’t necessarily where we turn to for solace, but in the wake of the unspeakable horror in Connecticut, “The Voice” managed to puts its competition in perspective with a moving memorial.

The judges

The real reason we watch

The judges are the stars, and missed next season will be Christina’s disinterest in anyone not on her team and Cee Lo’s championing of unlikely heroes such as Nicholas David. Oh, and Cee Lo’s exotic pets.

Nicholas David

Stylishly out of date

David seems dropped in from another era. He can’t hit the high notes that Smokey can here, but he complements his partner like wood paneling on tube TV.

Tate Stevens

The Nashville contingent

Cassadee Pope won “The Voice” after Blake Shelton nudged her toward country, but it felt more a strategy than a makeover. The husky Stevens no doubt has more tales to tell.

Fifth Harmony

Eye candy

“X-Factor” is giving the gift of bland with its final three, and the Swarovski twinkle of this girl group was the only sprinkle of fun this week. One problem: Demi Lovato outshined them.

Nicholas David

Heating up the competition

After the show's heartrending tribute to the victims of Sandy Hook, David had to do something to change the temperature of the room, so he set it on fire with this high-energy Jerry Lee Lewis/Jimi Hendrix mash-up, bringing us much-needed joy in sad times.

Cassadee Pope

Some things we'll never get over

In light of Sandy Hook, this exquisitely poignant song, written by Pope's mentor, Blake Shelton and his wife, Miranda Lambert, seemed to have new emotional resonance, reminding us that we never really recover from life's deepest losses -- our own or those we share as a society.

Carly Rose Sonenclar

An angel with the voice of a goddess

Sonenclar looked and sounded like an angel singing this Leonard Cohen anthem, rescuing it from overuse and giving it gorgeous new life. This 13-year-old can do things with her voice -- gently caressing some notes, sending others soaring -- that leave listeners breathless.

Terry McDermott

Dude can out-sing his mentor

McDermott rocked out on this Aerosmith duet with mentor Blake Shelton (and shirtless Adam Levine on guitar) yet made it seem effortless. Shelton struggled to keep up, underscoring that, if McDermott makes it look easy, it's only because he is so dang good.

Tate Stevens

Nice to see him havin' a good time

When Stevens kicks back and allows himself a little boot-scooting fun, as he did in this duet with Little Big Town, it's a joy to watch. It was nice to see him smile and sweet to see him blush when the women in the band got close. His wife of 15 years was watching, after all.

Carly Rose Sonenclar

3,021 votes

@BrookeALash123: "Watching all of Carly Rose's performances, HOW DID SHE NOT WIN!? She even got a standing ovation!"

@Lann_11: "Ok so I just now watched #CarlyRose. That girl is unbelievably amazing. She has me in tears. Shocked."

Cassadee Pope

2,797 votes

@stephenstohn: "Huge congratulations to @CassadeePope on winning The Voice... YAY!!!! Of course we all remember her fondly in Degrassi Goes Hollywood!!!"

Terry McDermott

1,749 votes

@ReaganLawler: "Terry McDermott from The Voice will always be my favorite"

‏@debralynnlazar: "Terry McDermott deserved to win. By far. Disappointing. #thevoice"

Nicholas David

1,471 votes

@charlavail: "Not Terry. Nicholas David. Looks like Heath in Lords of Dogtown."

@nwjerseyliz: "Loving Nicholas David (@thefeelin). So much genuine soul. #TheVoice"

Tate Stevens

675 votes

@Harry_Styles: "Congratulations @tatestevensctry you deserve it!! Such a nice guy... Great to see him win."

@marygabs17: "@tatestevensctry congrats!!!!!! You totally deserve it! And you're so lovelyyy I'M SO HAPPY FOR YOU 😃 ❤ 🎉 🌾 🎤 "

Credits: Photos: Jeff Lipsky / Fox; Paul Drinkwater / NBC. Design and interactivity: Lily Mihalik. Interactivity: Armand Emamdjomeh

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