But long before the Oscars, “Shallow” proved to be a timeless duet: artists of all genres have delivered countless renditions of the powerful ballad, including Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas and Lea Michele and Darren Criss.
There’s no pair quite like Gaga and Cooper — as proven by their Internet-breaking performance at the Oscars — but any cover of “Shallow” is affecting, thanks to its dynamic power notes and beautiful harmonies. Though some artists have dared to take on the song solo, even without two voices, “Shallow” is one hell of a striking song.
Now that “Shallow” has earned Gaga her first Academy Award, Billboard decided to honor her latest masterpiece with a roundup of some of the best covers.
During the Green Bay, Wisc. stop on her Meaning of Life Tour on Feb. 15, 2019, Clarkson took her love for A Star Is Born to the next level with her own version of “Shallow.” “I don’t have a Bradley Cooper here, so I’m just holdin’ it down,” she joked before humbly quipping, “I hope I don’t suck, and if I do I hope [Gaga] doesn’t see it.” Though she slipped up one lyric, her powerhouse voice certainly made up for any flubs.
Lea Michele and Darren Criss
The former Glee stars sang “Shallow” together on the second leg of their co-headlining LMDC Tour, performing it for the first time in Las Vegas on Oct. 26, 2019. Criss’ rich tone and Michele’s belting ability made for a perfect emulation of Cooper and Gaga’s voices. The cover also marked a special moment for Michele, who captioned a video of their performance, “This was my dream.”
Jonas whipped out an acoustic guitar for his version of “Shallow,” which he posted on social media “in honor of Oscar weekend” on Feb. 21, 2019. Thanks to Instagram’s minute-long video limit, fans were only able to hear 60 seconds of Jonas’ cover. But his smoky vocals are so entrancing, you could easily put that minute on loop for hours and never get sick of it.
Jimmie Allen and Abby Anderson
“Shallow” got a country twist from two rising stars of the genre. But instead of making the song twangy, Allen and Anderson made it more of a breakup tune, creating a lovelorn music video to go with it. Despite the heartbreaking take, their voices came together for some of the best harmonies of any “Shallow” cover yet.
Tori Kelly and Ally Brooke
The singer-songwriter brought out the former Fifth Harmony member during her tour stop in Los Angeles on Feb. 28, 2019, turning “Shallow” into a girl-powered duet. Though Kelly let Brooke handle the belt-outs on the chorus, she harmonized even higher, making for a bone-chilling rendition.
Boyce Avenue and Jennel Garcia
YouTube stars Boyce Avenue can always be counted on for a great cover, and their “Shallow” rendition is no different. The group’s singer teamed up with fellow singer-songwriter Jennel Garcia for the duet, singing along with just an acoustic guitar that brought their flawless voices to the forefront.
Sam Tsui and Kurt Hugh Schneider
The singer and pianist offered up perhaps the most original cover of “Shallow” yet, switching up the order of the song by dropping in a chorus after Cooper’s verse and ditching the undulating bridge. The new version doesn’t take away from the song’s vigor, though, as Tsui incorprates both power notes and falsetto moments.
Brian Justin Crum
The America’s Got Talent alum took on the song himself, opting for only a piano to back his vocals. He uses whispery falsetto for the high note on the first chorus, but then gives it his all for the second chorus, making for a mighty finish.
Considering the way “Shallow” immediately connected with fans, it was only a matter of time before an artist took it on in BBC’s Live Lounge. Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi was that artist, adding an electric guitar, gravelly vocals, and a group of background singers that gave the song a super unique feel.
Not only is this cover impressive because it’s a girl playing guitar on a street corner by herself, but what makes it even more awe-inspiring is that the singer is only 13 years old. Sherlock, an Ireland native, drew a huge crowd with her raspy tone and capitvating guitar skills, and her busking has now gone far beyond the sidewalk: Her “Shallow” cover has more than 5.7 million views on YouTube.
Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers
The indie rock pair, known collectively as Better Oblivion Community Center electrified the crowd with their cover of “Shallow” at a 2019 April Fool’s Day show in NYC. With Bridgers on electric guitar, the duo delivered a howling, spare version of the song, with Oberst adding new harmonies on the final chorus and instrumental support from Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Check out footage via BrooklynVegan below.
Lizzo dropped by the SiriusXM studios while promoting her third full-length LP, Cuz I Love You, to deliver a soulful, solo take on Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s smash duet. Deviating from the song’s well-trod melody with plenty of ad libs, Lizzo’s quavering vocals were accompanied by just an acoustic guitar.
Pentatonix unveiled their version of “Shallow” on May 31, 2019 along with a breathtaking black-and-white video. Their a cappella rendition brings five voices to the duet in striking fashion, with Scott Hoying taking on the role of Jackson Maine and Kirstin Maldonado handling Ally’s vocals as Kevin Olusola, Mitch Grassi and Matt Sallee harmonize. Grassi tackles the dynamic bridge with ease, and with Olusola’s stunning cello to boot, it’s easy to argue that Pentatonix knocked this one out of the park.
“Shallow” is a pretty mature song to take on, but don’t let these nine kids fool you into thinking they weren’t up for the challenge. Acapop! KIDS embraced the ballad Nov. 21, 2019 with just as much might and windpipes as any major artist covering Gaga and Cooper’s instant classic. The four main singers have standout solos, which are only enhanced by the “ahs” and “dum-dum-dums” of their backing vocalists.
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood
Country’s beloved couple put an acoustic spin on the Gaga/Cooper duet (that even Yearwood herself couldn’t help admitting was her “fantasy”) during a quarantine edition of #GarthRequestLive on March 23, 2020. Unsurprisingly, Brooks and Yearwood did the song major justice with their heartfelt vocals — but mostly, their adorable glances at each other on those harmonies.
Garth Brooks and Kelly Clarkson
Garth Brooks reprised his cover of the hit in December 2020 on The Kelly Clarkson Show, this time with host Clarkson standing in for Trisha Yearwood. “Sorry, Trisha!” the talk-show host teased. “You’re not here, and if you were here, I’d sing three-part.”
The Voice contestant Deion Warren tackled both parts of the duet during the fourth round of Blind Auditions on the March 9, 2021 episode. So how’d he do? See for yourself below!
This article has been updated.