The Voice recap: The Importance of Ear Wiggles

America gets it right with the bottom three—but did we get it right with the Twitter save? (Yes, yes we did.)
Ep. 20 | Aired Apr 29, 2014

Tyler Golden/NBC

Last night’s polarizing episode—which featured season standout moments for Audra McLaughlin and Christina Grimmie, and low performances for Bria Kelly and Jake Worthington—leads us to tonight’s inevitable results, much like sun leads to moon or Chipotle leads to self-doubt.

Carson opens by telling us what we have already learned: Gwen Stefani and Pharrell are joining The Voice in season seven, and deals are sealed for returning coaches Adam Levine and (!!!) Christina Aguilera. I don’t know if I can fully articulate how excited I am that Christina will be back—even though it’s not until season eight next spring, it’s a damn lovely surprise. If there’s anything missing from this season of The Voice, it’s the wacky, amazing, entertaining mess that is Xtina, who ought to be just as much fun to watch next year as she has been in past seasons, with her little hats and crazy cleavage and everything. I love you, Xtina, and your kooky fashion choices, too.

Back to this year. It’s an elimination night, which means that we’ve got some coach performances to deal with before we get to the real results. Usher kicks things off with Bria Kelly and Josh Kaufman joining him on Lenny Kravitz’s “Always on the Run.” Josh is debuting a lovely un-fedora’d haircut while Bria is in yet another leather jacket. For what it’s worth, voices sound pretty well-suited for the song and it’s a total funk-rock fest—so much better to kick off the night than those Rixton boys!

Result #1: From Team Adam, America saves Christina Grimmie. Phew. After one of the best performances of the night (which shot up to #4 on iTunes, by the way), that’s welcome news for the spunky lil’ Grimmie. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure we hear her scream with excitement right before the commercial break, and as I said last night, that scream’s got to go.

Result #2: From Team Blake, America saves Sisaundra Lewis. That’s a little more of a surprise—not because she doesn’t belong in the Top 8, but because I consider her to be more of a wildcard as the competition wages on.

Result #3: Team Shakira’s Kristen Merlin moves on. Rock solid performance last night, rock solid momentum going forward.

Result #4: America also saves Team Usher’s soul daddy Josh Kaufman, who looks like the hottest guy in Munchkinland tonight and should have nothing to worry about going forward. If Josh doesn’t make it into the Top 4, I’ll be shocked—unless he performs a satanic ritual on stage next week and upsets the conservative vote.

Shakira takes the stage once again with Kristen Merlin and Tess Boyer for an all-gal power trio. I’m actually surprised how well their voices blend, though I definitely don’t overlook the three back-up singers who are joining in…so there are six ladies singing? I can rock with that. Shakira sounds fantastic (see, everyone? I do like her!) and I’m very taken with Kristen. Tess seems to fade into the background, but her gyrations and beat-for-beat choreography prove that she’s practiced this in her mirror a multitude of times. And Kristen’s finally not wearing a vest! Huzzah—progress for everyone!

We have some confessionals to peruse after the performance. Everyone’s revealing something that America doesn’t know about them: Bria would eat only cheese; Usher cooks in his underwear; Blake wishes they would make all-marshmallow Lucky Charms; Shakira hates the sound of alarm clocks; Jake can wiggle his right ear; Blake had a mullet. In truth, I laugh during this entire segment because it’s downright hilarious. The winners of this montage are very obviously Jake, for his soothing ear wiggle; Delvin and Sisaundra, for that Tina Turner hilarity; and Adam, for his pitch-perfect impression of Shakira’s terrified manservants.

Result #5: Audra McLaughlin moves on for Team Blake, and rightly so, because she was downright wonderful last night. Audra’s another performer who should easily sail through next week and into the Top 6.

Result #6: America also gives the go-ahead to Team Adam’s Delvin Choice. Good choice. I would say Delvin also gave one of his best performances last night, but I don’t want to throw all my weight behind that because I think his true masterpiece is yet to come.

The family montage is tearful, and it’s another reminder why Jake is the realest person on this show. Oof. I’m just so enamored with him and the personality he manages to convey that I want to cut him up into little pieces and put him in my cereal. In another life, I might even buy his album. That’s why it’s such a relief when Jake is finally saved in Result #7. Saving his safety for the seventh slot was cruel, but I suppose we needed to at least pretend that he might not have made it through, right?

That means it’s Bria, Tess, and Kat in the bottom, which is exactly what I predicted last night, despite plenty of arguments otherwise. They each take the stage for their last chance—Bria wails her way through Heart’s “Crazy On You,” which she absolutely should have sang last night because it wasn’t half awful (even if she still sounds like she’s playing Riff Raff at a midnight screening of Rocky Horror). Tess sings a Pink song, much to no one’s surprise; even though that’s her wheelhouse, could we at least get her trying to sing something that isn’t by Pink or Kelly Clarkson? And finally, Kat finishes up the last chance songs with Grace Potter & The Nocturnals’ “Paris (Ooh La La)” and she is SERIOUS about staying around this competition. I’ve never liked Kat more than this performance, which is a huge testament to her and her lovely leopard jacket (see what happens when we add COLORS, KAT??).

America uses its Twitter save for Kat, meaning that the well-intentioned Tess Boyer and my muse Bria Kelly have been eliminated from the competition. Well. I can’t say I’m too upset about losing Bria—and I’m sure she’ll perform on the finale just to spite me—but it’s a shame Tess couldn’t show off another segment of her skill set and stick around. Still, if life ever finds her performing with a Pink cover band somewhere, I will definitely consider watching the YouTube video of it.

That’s it for this week—next week, the Top 8! Did your favorites make it through? Are you as relieved as I am to be rid of Bria? Who’s got the furthest to go before the Top 6? Sound off!

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