The Voice Top 8 Results Recap: Did the Right Two Contestants Go Home? [Updated]

The-Voice-Top-8-Results-RecapRemember last summer when ABC aired the Kelly Clarkson-fronted reality competition Duets? [Cue sound of crickets chirping.] No? Well, the part of me that watches too much reality TV (aka my heart, soul, brain and spleen) likes to think the producers of NBC’s The Voice paid secret homage to their fallen rival during the Season 4 Top 8 results telecast.

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Yes indeed, while the main focus of tonight’s show was — as Carson Daly reminded us at the top of the hour — watching eight become six, there was nevertheless a parallel to the very best late-night infomercials via a “But wait, there’s more!” addendum. Said Easter eggs came in the form of a quartet of contestant duets — a couple of ’em quite terrific, two of ’em fairly inscrutable — that gave the Top 8 one more chance to shine before the guillotine got wheeled onto the stage.

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This was also the episode that proved you simply can’t predict who’s going home based on iTunes sales alone. While Holly Tucker, Judith Hill and Sasha Allen ranked as the week’s Bottom 3 sellers on the digital music service (with Sasha in dead last), only one of ’em saw her Voice journey reach its conclusion. Let’s get to the results, shall we?

Sent to Safety (in Random Order)
Michelle Chamuel
Danielle Bradbery
Sasha Allen (cue a complete Shakira freakout, and feelings of nameless dread from Sasha’s five not-yet-saved rivals)
The Swon Brothers

Final Four Left in Limbo
Holly Tucker
Judith Hill
Amber Carrington
Sarah Simmons

Final Two Saved
Amber Carrington
Holly Tucker (Whoa! That’s three country blondes — and the entirety of Team Blake — in the Top 6!)

Judith Hill
Sarah Simmons

To me, the week’s results and the overall arc of Season 4 says that risk-taking simply doesn’t get rewarded by Voice voters. Or, if we’re paraphrasing the Teachings of the Hare, slow and steady (and fairly predictable) might end up winning this race. Also: People love Blake Shelton, or at least they’re responding to his silly “Oh em gee you are the most IMPORTANT thing to happen to music” feedback to his trio of contestants.

A few other thoughts and theories before we get to letter grades for the duets:

* Judith definitely had the buzziest Blind Audition with “What a Girl Wants,” but taking a brutally hard look at her full Voice trajectory, I can’t say anything she did in the weeks that followed quite managed to match that eye-popping Christina Aguilera cover. This isn’t to say Judith deserved to go home before lesser talents like Sasha or Holly or The Swon Brothers, but momentum and the illusion of “growth” both matter in reality singing competitions, and Judith had neither of those advantages. Perhaps just as damaging: Judith’s outré hairstyles and fashion choices may have alienated voters who like to see a star bloom in front of their eyes — and reminded the world that as Michael Jackson’s former duet partner, she had the advantage of industry experience (and the ability to tap into said experience should she not make the finale).

* Sarah, meanwhile, looked like a serious contender during the early weeks of the competition, but Coach Adam did her no favors by not reining in her growing tendency to, um, “explore” the most unpleasant edges of her vocal tone. Last week’s “Mama Knows Best” was a screeching tirade, and Wednesday’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” suffered from intermittent pitch problems. (Plus, it’s one of those songs that really needs another few years on the shelf before the general populus wants it brought back out into the sunlight.) I know she had a decent iTunes showing this week, but I’m not entirely shocked or saddened to see her exit.

* Interesting that Blake yelled “bullcrap!” after Adam said at the top of the show that his own team wasn’t going to ever “play it safe.” Defensive much?

* Also interesting that Shakira started off the show by admitting that if Sasha got booted, “it’s because her coach made a mistake [in terms of song selection].” I’m not sure I agree with that contention — to me, Sasha overwrought style and tendency to go flat are far bigger issues — but it was nice to see Shakira’s lack of ego (on a show where coaches have, well, healthy sized ones).

* Michelle Chamuel biting into a head of iceberg lettuce like it was an apple: Rated Y…for Yikes! (She’s still just so lovely though, isn’t she?)

* Could Christina Milian please come up with a better question than, “How does it feel to be saved by America?” I mean, how does she THINK it feels? URGH!

As for grades for the night’s duets…

Michelle & Judith: “Sweet Nothings” | The verses may have been pitched a wee bit low for Michelle, and the vibrato may have gotten laid on a little too thick by Judith, but the song fit quite well with both of their vibes, and they soared nicely when it counted. Grade: B+

Sasha & The Swon Brothers: “Don’t You Wanna Stay” | From the airplane “delayed” graphics on the backdrop to Sasha’s gale-force riffing dominating the Swon boys like a cheetah with a field mouse, this was a deeply peculiar pairing — with dubious results. Grade: C+

Danielle & Sarah: “1,000 Years” | The good news is Danielle’s restraint seemed to be contageous, prompting Sarah to focus more on the lilting melody. The bad news? I felt the Lunesta butterfly circling overhead by the midway point. Grade: B-

Amber & Holly: “Does He Love You?” | It’s not easy stepping out of Reba’s formidable shadow, but this pair of power divas completely unleashed their beast-sized voices for a throwdown of Godzilla-vs.-Mothra proportions. Absolutely terrific! Grade: A

And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of Season 4 Top 8 results night? Did the right contestants get the boot? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality-related news, recaps, interviews and videos, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. NewKiddo says:

    Hopefully great things will come for Judith Hill. Before Michael Jackson, she preformed with Stevie Wonder, and has connection to many of the big names of the biz. So, it seems like she should be a star by now? Also, she was featured after the MJ demise, as the next star. Judith Hill was featured by ET/Entertainment Tonight as “the woman everyone is talking about” and “A Star Is Born”. Includes segments from ET aired on July 11, 2009 including interview and performance footage from ET and the Michael Jackson Memorial, as well as historical footage and descriptions from the original sessions for “We Are The World” (look on YouTube). Somehow, Judith fizzled and faded. No doubt, she is a pro and a great performer. Unfortunately, not much of demand. She was featured as the next star on the Brian McKnight show as well. I’m guessing that her career wasn’t going as well as she wanted. So, she did ‘The Voice’ thing. The Voice likely loved it. That’s why they promoted Judith as the front runner and all that stuff in the beginning until they realized she was always at the bottom end on iTunes. Not everyone who has a powerhouse great voice and performer will become stars. If so, then there would be thousands of them. There’s only that that handful on the level of Mariah, Britney Spears, Madonna, etc. Just by the way she sings and performs, I think her goal is to be on the same level as Christina A. But the reality for Judith is it appears she is just meant to be a role player, backup singer, etc. Hey, as long as you can make a living and pay your bills, nothing wrong with that! Now everyone can be a star.

  2. Catfish says:

    I don’t have a favorite in this race, but my observations of this season of The Voice =

    1. They have a better cast of singers/marketable performers with this top 6, than they have had in the past.

    2. Chances for post-show success in the business are a little higher than from previous Voice shows. They did a better job this time, of bringing-in the good, the different and entertaining, and the easy to watch and listen-to, type of talent – now in the top 6.

    3. The coaches/mentors do sometimes make dumb decisions on song choices; along with their contestants. The songs done however, are far more diverse and interesting than what was done on another talent show that just ended.

    4. The Coaches are more spontaneous and invested in the competition, not controlled by producer/Judge whims and games, as some other shows we could mention.

    Beyond all that, predicting a winner is hard to do without understanding who the actual voting base is. Not who watches, but who actually votes/ general age base and who downloads ITunes songs. Ability to sing a certain genre well, is only part of the puzzle, popularity and “specialness” is a big part as well. Note: I know and work with many in the teen age group on activities in the community – very few of them watch The Voice, and none of them watched the last few episodes of Idol. None.

  3. Simon Cowell Jr says:

    Good god! I just listened to that mind altering song #thatpower that Judith sung, the full studio version. Holy crap! That sounds like a broken record repeating the same verse over and over. It numbs your brain. She also said from an interview that’s the artist she wants to be? No wonder, she’s gone no where for the past 4 – 5 years. Good riddance! This folks, will be the last you hear from Judith Hill.

    • Catfish says:

      maybe she can sing back-up for Mariah or Nicki, as they just been booted from Idol. Judith will be appearing in some sort of documentary though, music related.

    • kaba says:

      Lord you’re rude as hell. I may say some nasty things too but I’ve never wished musical I’ll will on a contestant.
      Judith will be fine despite your piggishly rude statement

      • HTGR says:

        @kaba – weren’t you the one who said you hated a different contestant so much that you wished you could stomp on their neck, just sayin ;)

  4. TinLV says:

    I think the Voice had its best line-up of talent so far this year. I had a hard time deciding on my favorites and usually I make up my mind early on. As it winds down, I think the voters so far have made the right choices. I know Judith was probably the most talented and most likely to have a career, but I think that’s what hurt her with the voters; she was TOO professional and the voters want someone who’s career depends on winning this show. Judith’s doesn’t. She’s too good to be in the background forever and doesn’t really need this show to get where she’s going. I do miss having a rock-in-roller on the show this year, but that’s just the way it goes. The closest thing is Michelle and she’s hardly rock. But I do like her and vote for her. I also vote for Amber as she has the best pure voice of the three country females left. Danielle is really good too, but I think she’s too young and will be even better and more ready for a career in a few years. They have all been so good all year, I really don’t think I have a problem with whoever wins.

    • kaba says:

      All of the winners have had some musical triumphs in their backgrounds…
      Judith just seems over qualified because she was with Michael Jackson. But apparently Sasha being a background vocalist or even Jermaine Paul of season 2 doesn’t count either. Let’s not forget Cassadee and I believe even Amanda Brown had a background. Oh yeah, I and Javier Colon.. So the “over qualified” the excuse makes no sense to me

    • Danni says:

      There’s still variety on the show. Danielle is my favorite, I even bought a few of her songs on itunes. I normally don’t buy too many itunes. I really have a good feeling that Danielle will be a big hit post Voice. Michelle could do well, but I think she is like last years Nicholas guy with the beard. A unique act, but nothing really ready for the masses. I think the problem with Judith is her mass appeal, sure she has the vocals and stage presence down to a science. But somehow, the market for her is luke warm. She tweeted that her friend Stevie Wonder called to see if whe was ok after being eliminated. WOW! How many of us have Stevie Wonder as a friend? She’s been out there for awhile. If you don’t have the masses buying your stuff, Then you are not viable to a recording deal. Record companies are there to make money, not because, you can sing and perform the best. Kesha and Justin are not good singers, but they somehow connected to the masses. Being a star is like buying a winning lottery ticket.

      • kaba says:

        Nothing ready for the masses? I feel as though people never factor in maturity for such a lame assumption. From the portrayal of things, Danielle has no public singing background, and particularly to the masses.
        Michelle has been in an band/group for quite a long time and is no stranger to the stage.
        If anything I’d sooner think Danielle isn’t ready because she probably isn’t mature enough for it all

      • Sheilalala says:

        Ya becoming a star is difficult and rare. Danielle definitely has a great voice and stage presence but I think the reason so many of us are frustrated with #teamcountry is that we believe the Voice winner should be someone who has ‘THE Voice’, as in the best, most unique of all the contestants, and Danielle just does not. Her vocal range is limited, and although Blake has been brilliant in having her sing songs that people will buy, she doesn’t hold a candle to Amber, Sarah, Judith, Sasha or Michelle (or even Carrie Underwood for that matter) in terms of being a star. Like a lot of people that are p*ssed off, I think Danielle will win for the same reason that Holly and the Swons are still there-the country voting bloc loyally votes ‘country’ (or just hang off Blake Shelton’s every word) NOT based on the artist with the best voice. Meh, whatever. Amber is 10x the singer Danielle is, so if Danielle gets a song with any kind of difficulty and botches it and Amber continues with some jaw dropping performances, she may sway some voters and win. I wonder if Adam will play strategy and have her sing a killer country record?.All I know is that Sarah is working on a album right now, and I’m stoked.

        • NonBelieber says:

          You have great comments. You really know your stuff. Now that one of my favorites is gone (Judith), and I I think I’ll cheer for Sasha or Danielle. I would like to see Danielle sing a non-country song or even a Miley Cyrus song like ‘When I Look At You’, and the Swon Brothers sing ‘Living on a Pray’. Sorry to be long winded. Bye!

          • Sheilalala says:

            Why thank you @nonbelieber..good luck to your favorite, ya Judith is awesome,I don’t know why she got hate for the song-I thought it rocked..

        • Catfish says:

          I think it’s true that Blake Shelton/Miranda Lambert popularity is a significant factor that helped Jermaine Paul to win in season 2. Blake was on some of the talk shows promoting Jermaine toward the finale, and a lot of those viewers probably did not even watch The Voice until he made his pitch. …………

          At any rate, I think we tend to overestimate or underestimate the potentials of the top 8, now 6. Most of these people are not new to the business – Sasha Allen for instance, has been on YouTube videos with Whitney tributes and other songs with various bands well before The Voice. This just expands her name recognition and I suspect she will outlast The Swon Brothers and Michelle this next round………………………………………

          From Huff Post:::Triple threat talent Sasha is a singer, actress and classical pianist who has honed her talent on Broadway (Hair), cabaret (Joe’s Pub) and backup vocals

          • kaba says:

            Michelle was head of a semi popular band for a while… she and sasha are on equal footing

          • Sheilalala says:

            And that is one thing that bugs me about Adam-he doesn’t thank fans on twitter, nor drag past contestants on tour (or stage)with him (as far as I know). Fans really pay attention to things like that, and Blake seems to really go to the mat for his singers. Adam has a legion of fans he could mobilize a lot better IMO..

  5. GoSpurs says:

    I want to know what songs the top 6 are singing? I love all the Texas singers, Holly, Danielle, Amber. Country rocks! Most of you are non country people. It’s all right. Is it two more voted out for this week? I hope all the country people stays. Wouldn’t it be amazing if Holly, Danielle, Amber and the Swon Brothers are the top 4? GO Spurs GO!

  6. NonBelieber says:

    Why oh why did one of my favs sing a Bieber song? Judith, I think you are truly amazing. I love it that you are bi-racial too. Part Asian and black, like me and Tiger Woods. We are all in the same club. lol! I was hoping you would be the final two at least. Instead of a hashtag song of Bieber and will. You would sound amazing doing Luther Vandross – “Here and Now”. Wearing an outfit simliar to the ‘Feeling Good’ performance. You would of blown all the other people out of the water. Good luck.

  7. Catfish says:

    I don’t have a fav, so will be voting for the best combination -to my personal taste in music – of the song choice, delivery and interesting performance. ………………………………………

    The idea that this one or that one is the “best singer” is still a matter of whether you like opera or graty-voiced heavy metal over soft tender ballads vs folk songs with a message about something that connects with you. ……………………………………………………………….

    counting how many notes, sweeps and squeals someone can get out of each word in the song, is not what I look for.

  8. Chan Johnson says:

    I will not watch tonight or tomorrow night. The best vocalists this season were Judith and Sasha, so for me, it doesn’t matter who wins, from the vocalists that are left. I propose that the show add another category, and have them sing each other’s chosen song. If Danielle and Michelle were required to sing Judith’s and Sashas’ choice of song, and vice versa, it would be clear, as to who is the best vocalist.

    • Kaba says:

      You’re confusing strong powerhouse vocals with the ability to invoke the right emotion in a song.
      If Judith and Michelle switched songs they’d both do terribly though I think Michelle knows how to make things work in the best way for the audience better than Judith does. She has soul, but that soul didn’t reach the audience enough.
      Likewise with Sasha, she’s had tooo many weak performances that she ought to have done rather well with in the first place, I think her and Michelle switching would be the end of both of them. Though I think Michelle could do “Oh Darling” just as much justice.

      And Danielle switching with Judith wouldn’t make a difference because the solidness of her voice carries over into any song and she’d fare better.

      Having a powerhouse vocal doesn’t make you the winner, or else there would be no point in allowing tiny voices to audition in the first place.

  9. Lamar Grunst says:

    Mr. Elliott,
    Letters via USPS sounds so novel in the internet age even if it is an individual letter produced for many, nonetheless it doesn’t sound like a pen-pal relationship. Can a single write back towards the author in the letter?