Was this the most emotionally taxing episode of The Voice yet? You'd think for only an hour-long episode, the producers would have a pacing method down pat. Instead they had us ping-ponging from one emotional high -- a celebratory group performance -- to another emotional low with a nail-biting elimination announcement. (Jonny Gray and Josh Logan are heading home, while Kat Robichaud won the Instant Save and gets to stick around.)
It was like watching the 2013 Emmys again, sans all the celebrity deaths. I kept wondering, Is it safe for me to bop my head and enjoy this performance even though in only a matter of minutes one of those singers will get his dreams crushed like a bunch of innocent Concord grapes? I thought this was a safe space, NBC. On Tuesday night's episode, the usually supportive Voice stage morphed into a strange realm where Carson Daly was the grim reaper, social media was the savior, and audience purgatory was a bizarro "Confessionals" segment that felt like a series of Match.com testimonials. At least Cee Lo's brood of exotic pets made an appearance.
Favorite parts from the "Confessionals" portion, where the artists shared little-known tidbits about themselves:
-"There are no woodland creatures in my beard," said Cole Vosbury.
-Adam Levine cuddling a puppy
-Cee Lo in a glittery spacesuit with his menagerie of animals -- his bird, cat, dog, pig, and llama, oh my!
-Most adorable: Caroline can't whistle and Matthew was a bed-wetter until he was 7
Crazy outfit watch: What did you guys think of Cee Lo's cyborg glasses and lacy, mourning muumuu?
Onto the performances...
First up was a special guest. Sara Bareilles performed "Brave," supplemented by cameos from the remaining four female singers -- Kat Robichaud, Caroline Pennell, Tessanne Chin, and Jacquie Lee. It's hard to stand out in this power-belter song, especially since the gals were lumped in the end, but Tessanne's voice really ascended for the short time she was featured. Bareilles sang amid a smog of fake smoke in an ever-evolving Voice stage. Lately, anytime someone performs on that dynamic boxing ring stage, I can never get an accurate sense of how big the set really is. Each time, it's as if the set keeps getting bigger, like it would swallow me up in a way I always pictured the Super Aggro Crag mountain would in Global Guts. But before you fall into a nostalgia rabbit hole...
TEAM CEE LO: Kat Robichaud, Jonny Gray, and Caroline Pennell
The song: "Roam" by the B-52's
The performance: It's a disco Tetris-palooza! Their set reminded me of Stephen Colbert's Daft Punk "Get Lucky" spoof video plus the Saturday Night Fever dance floor. In other words: Photosensitive Seizure Warning! While it was great to hear Cee Lo sing such a fun song with his team, this group performance lacked some serious harmony. They didn't sound in unison, and I could hear Jonny's voice sharply skitting above the rest of the voices. In the chorus, at the "if you want too-oo" high note section, someone's voice was cracking and I couldn't pinpoint which singer it was.
Voting results: Prior to their performance, Carson announced America's first saves were Caroline Pennell and Matthew Schuler. You guys also saved Austin Jenckes and Tessanne Chin.
NEXT: It's raining male singers! Also, the mysterious "instant save"...