On Tuesday night, The Voice revealed the results of America’s third vote for Season 6, and narrowed down its Top 8 all the way down to the Top 5. Here are a few things that we took away from the results show, as we prepare for next week's semifinals. That's right, we're already just two steps away from crowning a new winner.
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen Tuesday’s live eliminations show yet, read no further, because we’re about to tell you exactly who got knocked out of the competition.
01) Someone finally broke the curse of the Twitter Instant Save. For the second straight week, America gave a reprieve to Team Adam's Kat Perkins, who found herself in the bottom four, but whose performance of Heart's "Barracuda" earned her another week in the competition. This is actually somewhat of a relief, because it gives us hope that the Instant Save is no longer an Almost-Instant Elimination. There were some good singers who got axed too early in Season 5 after getting that last-minute life preserver (James Wolpert, we mean you).
02) This is the most even playing field we've had in a long time. By this point, this is usually when the new format means there are only two coaches in contention to win the title. After tonight's results, every team has at least one artist left standing. Team Adam has two - Christina Grimmie and Kat - but otherwise, it's still really anyone's game. And when a consistently praised singer like Team Blake's Sisaundra Lewis gets the boot, you know there really isn't a favorite anymore. There's not even a lot of musical commonality between the remaining singers; the only two that share a genre are Team Blake's Jake Worthington and Team Shakira's Kristen Merlin. So who knows what we might see in two weeks?
03) Could this be the year the coaches in the middle break through? It's true that statistically, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton are the superior coaches. But Season 6 is a prime opportunity for Shakira or Usher to pull an upset. After Tuesday, Blake has only one artist in the competition, so he's on the razor's edge with everyone else. And Team Usher's Josh Kaufman is getting better and better each week - his performance of "I Can't Make You Love Me" was pretty much perfect. With the field much more open than it was for Michelle Chamuel in Season 4, Usher could win his first Voice trophy. And Adam will wish he'd hung onto Josh when he had the chance.
04) Song choice really is a tremendous factor in an artist's survival. The departures of Sisaundra and Delvin prove that you have to be particularly careful what song you decide to sing, not just how well you perform it. Delvin may have connected with R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly," but America has heard it a lot (including on this show, when Season 2 winner Jermaine Paul covered it). And while Celine Dion's "River Deep, Mountain High" wasn't a bad choice for Sisaundra vocally, it probably wasn't something The Voice's pop audience wanted to buy on iTunes (which is weighted heavily by the show's vote-counters). Unless you perform a song so amazingly well that people have to own it no matter what it is, you have to give some consideration to what they want to hear, too.
05) Are the coaches going to start to get tougher with these artists? America has made a pretty strong statement by eliminating previously favored singers. Yet the Voice coaches have been pretty forgiving this season; the only real critique we've heard in live rounds was when Adam offered his opinion on Bria Kelly's version of "I'm With You." Otherwise, it's rare to hear criticism from the panel. Now that three of the four coaches only have one artist remaining, there is literally no room for error for any of these superstar artists. It'll be interesting to see how they coach - and how they critique - when the majority of them are up against the wall.
The Voice semifinals begin on Monday at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC.