WHY DON'T YOU STAY? The Swon Brothers made a not-so-strong case to stick around on their duet with Sasha Allen, but all three avoided the axe.
AMERICA SAVES: Sasha Allen
Shakira is so happy that she's not kicked out of the competition that she runs to the stage, yelling with joy. And for our last duet, Amber and Holly tackle the Reba McEntire/Linda Davis song "Does He Love You," which I've always liked better when it was sung by one person and called "Stay." Tonight, both singers are stationed at separate pianos and made to sing at one another, a piece of staging that doesn't account for the lack of requisite vamping necessary to make this work. Much better to just let Holly and Amber move about the stage (they do, eventually). Amber is good because obviously. But! Holly is also good -- even as good -- matching her forceful note for forceful note.
AMERICA SAVES: The Swon Brothers
Carson says, "I'm nervous." Only women remain on the chopping block: Holly, Amber, Judith, and Sarah. (Also the Top 4 in our Voice power rankings a few weeks back. Good taste isn't irony-proof.) Blake sinks deeper into thought/his chair with each second. No one looks at Shakira and Usher, who are probably unnecessarily happy.
AMERICA SAVES: Amber Carrington and Holly Tucker
AMERICA ELIMINATES: Sarah Simmons and Judith Hill
Like I said at the top of the recap, the first really bloody elimination is an inside-out nadir for every reality show -- simultaneously making you hate it and yourself. Why do I care so much about a show that doesn't care about me? Why doesn't America like the people that I like? (Holly is usually so boring, yo.) Is there something wrong with me? Is there something wrong with America?
This is the reality: Sarah and Judith were two of the season's best performers, illustrating two of the most tried, most true competition tropes (the hidden gem and the ringer). Neither has given a bad performance and both have given great ones, which can't be said for some of their remaining teammates. The Voice will almost certainly be less for losing them. My all-caps blogging will almost certainly be more obvious.
Tomorrow: more analysis and nostalgia (I'm already more sad-angry than angry-sad) from me and fellow Voice-er Samantha Highfill.
Tonight: Mourn those we lost, appreciate those we still have (Amber, Michelle, Adam's polos), and thank heavens the sound mixing was finally as good as the night was sad.