Wiz Khalifa performs with Maroon 5 at the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19th, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.
YouTube Channel: JuliaSinclairMusic
Sinclair gives the tune a bit of the KT Tunstall treatment, with her rapid-fire strumming and her quirky, soulful delivery. The set dressing, multiple cameras, art direction and mic placement add polish, but it's Sinclair's confident interpretation that carries the clip.
YouTube Channel: Banda Supertoy
The Brazilian punk pop band emos up "Payphone" and it mostly works – the crunchy guitar part and heavier rock beat balance the singer's shaky falsetto and fringe. They seem to be playing along with pre-recorded audio, which feels especially goofy when the clip cuts to the bassist looking awkwardly into the camera from his perch on a couch the band appears to have inherited from one of their grandmas.
YouTube Channel: hoorahjencar
The San Fernando-based singer-songwriter's jazzy timbre makes the song even smoother than it was for an otherwise faithful rendition – complete with his pal Toestah delivering the Wiz Khalifa verse that many other cover artists omit. Vincent deserves credit for shooting on a set that's easy to ignore, with professional sound gear, but the picture-in-picture effect is totally gratuitous.
YouTube Channel: TiffanyAlvord
Opening with a shot of the nineteen year-old Los Angeleno singing into a payphone that she never quite lets touch her head — those things are petri dishes, you know! — Alvord's elaborately produced video does little to distract from how boring and soulless her rendition actually is. She sings a perky interpretation of the clean version of the song ("stupid love songs" instead of "fucking love songs") and has her pal Jervy Hou's rap a verse while she occasionally punctuates it with a dorky "yeah."