"The Voice" 2014 saw its contestant pool shrink dramatically at the close of the May 6 top eight results show on NBC, as a whopping three hopefuls were sent home just a week shy of the season six semifinals. So which celebrity coach's team suffered the most painful cut of all?
The first contestant to earn a spot in the top five was Team Usher's only remaining hopeful, Josh Kaufman. The talented, bespectacled singer scored his second iTunes vote multiplier of the season with his May 5 take on the Bonnie Raitt classic "I Cant Make You Love Me."
After a break, show host Carson Daly turned to the super star mentors for their take on the evening's pending elimination. Adam Levine said he wasn't sure of April 29 Twitter Instant Save recipient Kat Perkins' chances, but opined that "she deserves to move ahead" and he's at peace.
Daly then turned to Shakira to ask about her only remaining hopeful, the aspiring country singer Kristen Merlin. The international star hoped that her consistent success on iTunes would buy Merlin a spot in the semis. Usher was thrilled with Kaufman's number two iTunes chart placement, and thanked Adam Levine for cutting him so he could add the singer to his squad. Finally, Blake Shelton took a pot shot at Levine's new blonde locks by calling him Zach Morris and noted that one of the two of them would lose at least one contestant.
Daly then wasted no time in calling the hopefuls forward yet again for another big reveal. When he called Merlin's name, both the contestant and Shakira looked shocked and delighted.
The week's confessional featured the cast talking about their moms and what made them great. Shelton joked that his mom entered him in pageants, while Perkins said thinking of her mom while performing calms her down and Usher said he wouldn't have been the man he is today without her influence. Daly and his mom finished up the segment with a touching embrace.
Even more results followed as the contestants trooped back on stage yet again. Moments later, Team Adam's YouTube sensation Christina Grimmie, who earned an iTunes bonus for her remix of Lil' Wayne's "How to Love," was saved to sing again.
A multi-team group performance followed as Kaufman, Grimmie, Team Adam's Delvin Choice, and Team Blake's Sisaundra Lewis joined forces to sing "Latch." Then seconds after the last note was sung, the remaining five hit the stage and learned that Team Blake's Jake Worthington had claimed the last automatic spot in the semifinals. Left to sing for the coveted Twitter save were Team Adam's Choice and Perkins, and Team Blake's Lewis and Audra McLaughlin.
Lewis kicked off the save-me performances with the classic "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman." Usher praised her as "amazing" and "talented" while Shakira called her being in the bottom four "a little unfair." Levine eschewed the use of the term "bottom four" and called her "amazing," while coach Shelton admitted he was shocked to see her in danger. He pressed America to vote for her.
McLaughlin followed with "Done" by The Band Perry. Shakira was impressed by her new "fierce" attitude and said she'd love to see her stay in the competition, while Levine repeated that all four of the competitors were excellent performers. Shelton told her he was sorry to see her in peril, and told America that she's a "world class vocalist" and begged country music fans to save her.
Perkins performed next, singing Heart's "Barracuda" for her second save. Usher assured Perkins that he adored her and called her "an amazing vocalist" who deserved to stick around. Levine called Perkins and Terry McDermott the best rocks singers to ever appear on "The Voice."
Up last to sing for his life was Choice, who performed "Young Girls" by Bruno Mars. Shakira called him one of her favorites and said she'd been "secretly rooting" for him, while Levine said "nobody in galaxies far beyond this one... sounds like Delvin" and pressed America to tweet in his favor.
While America tweeted, Shelton and Levine spoke to their hopefuls. Shelton thought both of his hopefuls "sang their hearts out" and said he'd had a lot of fun getting to know them both. Levine said he was "overwhelmed" seeing Perkins and Choice in danger and pressed America again to vote for them, vowing to do "something crazy" if America would save one of them.
After the five-minute Twitter save window expired, Daly addressed the nervous quartet. For the first time in show history, a previously saved contestant was saved for a second time as Perkins earned the last spot in the top five.
"The Voice" 2014 resumes May 12 on NBC with the top five performance show. The results will follow on May 13.