Here's how you tell a new coach from an old coach: Count how many times they say the word "vote" throughout the course of a live playoff round. I love Shakira and Usher, and I'm sure there are some statistics that say it's helpful to remind America to dial in, but at this point, I understand that this show is in the hands of America. Oh, and as a backup, count how many times they say "America."
But let's get right to the hot stuff, shall we? With a packed house and a broken A/C (that does not affect Shakira's flawlessness), the Top 12 live playoffs show is definitely action-packed. First and foremost, Carson is much more talkative and unpredictable with a little sweat on his brow. His jacket's on, his jacket's off. He's making jokes about Blake's hair, he's going off script. Does anyone else kind of love this Carson?
And this heat brings more than just a super-fun version of Carson Daly. With it, we get our first glimpse at Usher's bare biceps and the potential threat of a power outage, which, if Usher has anything to say about it, will create a "cool party." I'm telling you: Add a little sweat into the mix, and these people get crazy.
But enough about the heat, here's what you need to know: From this point on, America's votes determine everything, and every week, the bottom two go home, no matter which team they're on. No more saves and hopefully no more voting debacles. Time to hit the stage!
TEAM USHER: VEDO
The song: "Rock With You" by Michael Jackson
The performance: This week, Usher brings in his personal choreographer to work with his team members, which is fun. However, asking for smooth dance moves on a Michael Jackson song is like asking somebody to sing a Whitney Houston song... oh wait. The end result is entertaining, and Vedo's vocals are decent, but I just really want to smooth out this boy's jerky moves. What he needs is some Shakira hip-movement coaching, because right now, they're distracting. You know what else is distracting? That he's wearing a leather jacket in this heat. Take it off and smooth it out. That's all I'm saying.
The feedback: Shakira uses the word "vibey" and comments on what a nice guy Vedo is (bad sign). Blake claims that Vedo's moves didn't affect his vocals and that he, in fact, also moves like that (which I might believe), and Usher comments on how Vedo is a full entertainer and how this performance will win him "votes."
TEAM BLAKE: HOLLY TUCKER
The song: "Broken Wing" by Martina McBride
The performance: Too-much-to-handle hairpiece aside, Holly's performance is spot-on. All McBride fans know that song, and they know how hard it is, but Holly hits every note. My only critique is that I would've liked a little more emotion. As a Virginian born and raised, this is not my first McBride rodeo, folks.
The feedback: Usher thinks that anyone who ever doubted her talent is a "freakin' idiot," and Shakira borrows another line from Blake -- this one goes a little something like, "Gosh dang girl!" Ugh, her accent is so cute when she does that. Adam restates his love for Holly, and Blake thinks she did Martina justice with her best vocals yet.
Heat update: Carson has removed his jacket and is being fanned by Adam Levine.
NEXT: Garrett takes on a pop hit, Sarah rocks out