Fans of The Voice took up residence on the edge of their seats Tuesday to learn which of the Top 8 would be advancing to the finale. (Pro tip: pillows on the floor. Learned that one the hard way.)
You already know who I thought would make the cut — though in my heart of hearts, the singers I wanted to see reach the Final Five were slightly different. I was rooting for Team Legend’s Joshua Vacanti over Team Ariana’s Jim and Sasha Allen and Team Blake’s Paris Winningham over teammate Lana Scott.
Did I — did any of us — get the results we were hoping for? Before we found out, we were treated to performances of “You Deserve It All” by John Legend (no doubt playing on a loop in Santa’s workshop), “Come Back as a Country Boy” by Blake Shelton (as smooth and polished as a brand-new bowling ball, with enough pyrotechnics to qualify as a fire hazard) and the snooze-y “29” by Carly Pearce (coming to us basically from the Yellowstone living room).
Then, in the moment(s) of truth…
SAVED BY AMERICA’S VOTE (in Chronological Order)
Wendy Moten (Team Blake)
Girl Named Tom (Team Kelly) — the first trio ever in a Voice finale, per Carson Daly
Paris Winningham (Team Blake)
Hailey Mia (Team Kelly) — damn, not Jershika… grr! Damn, damn, damn!
WILDCARD INSTANT SAVE
Lana Scott (Team Blake), “Things a Man Oughta Know” — Grade: B+ | I like Lana. I’d buy a well-mixed album by her. And here, she demonstrated what she’s like at her best even without studio sweetening. Her vocal was as sweet and stretchy as bubblegum. Where was this Lana when the band was turned up to 11? Maybe she struggled when she had to fight to be heard over more bombastic numbers.
Joshua Vacanti (Team Legend), “My Heart Will Go On” — Grade: B | This should’ve been a slam-dunk for Joshua. But his Celine Dion cover started a bit “meh.” He definitely hit his stride, though, and eventually reminded us of what a powerful vocalist he is. Still, Kelly seemed eager to prepare him for a loss, encouraging him to please do musical theater. Dunno — this felt like a seven when he needed to deliver an 11.
Jim and Sasha Allen (Team Ariana), “Rich Girl” — Grade: C- | Aw, I love this father/son duo… as a father/son duo. But as a vocal act, nah, sorry. Time to go. This was fun — two nice people having fun singing at best OK. But they didn’t even belong in the same auditorium as someone like Jershika, much less on the same stage. Yeah, yeah, I know I’m betting on GNT to win, but Jershika has my heart.
Jershika Maple (Team Legend), “Break Every Chain” — Grade: A+ | No pressure, Jershika, but I was counting on you to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you never should have had to sing for the Instant Save. And holy crap, did she. She sang with a forcefulness that made my sofa rattle. This was less a performance than a [bleeping] accusation, as if to tell viewers, “How the [bleep] did you put me in the bottom!” [Bleeping] spectacular. No wonder she was in tears, spent, when she was done. She left more on that freakin’ stage than maybe even she knew she had.
SAVED BY AMERICA’S VOTE | Jershika Maple (Team Legend) — OMG! Viewers got it right! OMG! OMG! OMG!
ELIMINATED | Jim and Sasha Allen (Team Ariana), Lana Scott (Team Blake), Joshua Vacanti (Team Legend)