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Take Cover: Maroon 5’s ‘Payphone’ feat. Wiz Khalifa

Rolling Stone’s Jenny Eliscu grades the YouTube stars covering today’s hot songs

Wiz Khalifa, Maroon 5, Adam Levine, payphone, cover, pay phone

Patrick Smith/Getty

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.

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Joseph Vincent

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.

Presentation: C+

Performance: B+

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Tiffany Alvord

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."

Presentation: B

Performance: B-

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