Ali Caldwell The Voice

The Voice Top 20 Performance Recap: Who Survived the Brutal Eliminations?

I will not use the words “rigged” and “election” in the same sentence this week — GACK! JUST DID! — but nevertheless, I suspect history won’t look too kindly on The Voice‘s “historic” decision to use real-time voting (and same-night eliminations) for Season 11 Top 20 performance night.

Do I think Mark Burnett and the good folks at NBC decided to shake up the format in order to favor heavily promoted front-runners over dangerous dark horses? There’s no real evidence to support that theory.

But with presidential election results pouring in Tuesday night, it (apparently?) left no room on the Peacock net’s schedule for a second set of performances or even a quickie results telecast — even though, historically, the Live Playoffs consisted of two performance shows plus a Wednesday results special. (Hmmm… so why didn’t we have 20 performances on Monday, and eliminations on Wednesday?!)

In any event, what we wound up with was a decision to pack into a mere 120 minutes all of the following: 20 individual performances; real-time voting (which left half the nation weighing in without the benefit of hearing a single contestant); eight nerve-wracking ousters; and, inexplicably, an approximate 37 minutes of Carson Daly stall tactics.

The entire affair proved as rushed as a Trump supporter stealing an “I’m With Her” sign off a suburban lawn.

“This is happening too fast!” exclaimed Blake Shelton, speaking for all of us. “I can’t wrap my head around this.”

I can’t either, dude! And thus, all I feel comfortable doling out are my letter grades for each performance — and a recap of the final public/coaches’ choices. (Next week, I’ll get back to the business of offering more detailed performance reviews, I promise!.)

TEAM ALICIA
Christian Cuevas, “Yesterday” — Grade: B
Kylie Rothfield “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” — Grade: C+
Wé McDonald, “Home” (from The Wiz) — Grade: C+ (a surprising stumble from a teen who’s been flawless all season — I’m glad she moved on, but she can’t afford to be this consistently sharp again)
Josh Halverson “Cupid” — Grade: B
Sa’Rayah, “I’d Rather Go Blind” — Grade: A-
Saved by America (Top 2 Vote-Getters): Christian, Wé
Saved by Alicia: Sa’Rayah
Eliminated: Kylie, Josh

TEAM BLAKE
Dana Harper, “Maneater” — Grade: B-
Austin Allsup, “I Ain’t Living Long Like This” — Grade: A-
Jason Warrior, “One Dance” — Grade: B+
Sundance Head, “Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Grade: B
Courtney Harrell, “It Must Have Been Love” — Grade: C+
Saved by America (Top 2 Vote-Getters): Sundance, Austin
Saved by Blake: Courtney
Eliminated: Dana, Jason

TEAM MILEY
Sophia Urista, “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” — Grade: B+
Darby Walker, “Those Were the Days” — Grade: C-
Aaron Gibson, “Round Here” — Grade: C+
Belle Jewel, “Runaway” — Grade: D+
Ali Caldwell, “Times Have Changed” — Grade: A
Saved by America (Top 2 Vote-Getters): Aaron, Ali
Saved by Miley: Darby (say what now?)
Eliminated: Sophia, Belle

TEAM ADAM
Brendan Fletcher, “To Love Somebody” — Grade: B-
Simone Gundy, “Diamonds” — Grade: A-
Josh Gallagher, “Colder Weather” — Grade: B+
Riley Elmore, “Luck Be a Lady” — Grade: D+
Billy Gilman “Crying” — Grade: A
Saved by America (Top 2 Vote-Getters): Billy, Josh
Saved by Adam: Brendan (this really should’ve gone to Simone)
Eliminated: Riley, Simone

What did you think of The Voice‘s action-packed, real-time Top 20 telecast? Which elimination stung the most? Which save left you most baffled? Vote for your faves on each team in our polls below — then expand on your thoughts in the comments!