O.M.G. Here we finally are, America. The first of a handful of live results episodes for season 8 of The Voice. We've watched these 20 artists advance from the "Blinds" to the "Battles" to the "Knockouts" to the "Live Playoffs" with their coaches Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine and Pharrell Williams. Weathering nearly 30 hours of couch time, we have rooted for our favorites, cried during the emotional performances, and thrown things at our big and small screens when a favorite has been handed their walking papers. Finally we are at the threshold of the most intense part of their journey and ours: the live results shows. Are you ready?
During the last four hours of The Voice,
the remaining artists, five per coach, gave their very first real-time live performances and we viewers voted for who we think should move on to the Top 12. After the final artist took her bow, I was tasked with the arduous responsibility of cranking out The Live Playoffs Performance Rankings.
That was no mean feat, let me tell you.
Everyone Gets An Opinion
So, I put together my slideshow of the performance rankings, changing my mind and flip-flopping the order the entire time, then my colleague Derek Stauffer wrote his predictions article
, and all the while you, American voters, were sending in your own votes for your favorites. Before the end of the evening, the coaches will get their final say as well when they choose which artist to save tonight.
The Voice's Unbalanced Voting System for The Live Playoffs
I may not agree with all of Derek's predictions -- they are our personal opinions after all -- but in one thing we are of the same mind, and that is the system The Voice has created to identify who moves forward from the Live Playoffs. You'd think the top 12 most popular artists, in other words, the ones who got the most votes and sold the most iTunes singles, should get to advance, right? Not so, my friends, no so!
In case you're new to this whole deal, here's how it works. The artists in this round have not been competing against 19 others. They have only been competing against their other four teammates. This does not seem at all fair to me because, as Derek so succinctly put it,
"Not all the teams are created equal. The talent level of The Voice is high all around this season, but I enjoy some teams over others. Some teams deserve all their members to stay, while other teams could easily lose a few."
Kinda sucky if you ask me, but it is, what it is. To get the results, the top two most popular artists will advance, then each coach will choose one of the three remaining artists regardless of how popular they are. I'm cool with the coach's choice part, because they've been behind the scenes and they know who's got the goods and who's about to crack. So ... now you know.
Season 7's Chris Jamison and Wiz Khalifa Perform "See You Again"
Adam has to be proud to see one of his finalists from last season up there in the stage with hip-hop genius, Wiz Khalifa, to perform his hit from Furious 7. (Wait, is it just me or does that Wiz guy look a lot like a young Snoop Dogg? Whatever.) He's got it going on with this song. Speaking of which, the lyrics have a special meaning in the wake of the untimely death of star Paul Walker. It's a bittersweet moment for Furious fans.
Team Blake Performs "I'll Take You There"
Brooke, Corey, Hannah, Megan and Sarah take the stage. Sarah is in charge, naturally, as this is right up her alley. The crowd goes crazy when sexy-voiced Corey approaches the microphone. It's a party, people. I forgot how many filler performances we get between the nerve wracking results announcements. Sometimes they are great, sometime not so much. This particular time it's pretty rockin'.
Team Blake Results: America Saved Corey Kent White and Meghan Linsey
The first name is announced to welcome the only country artists of the 20 to the Top 12. The ladies huddle together to hear the next name, and it's Meghan Linsey. The remaining three hold hands and Blake toils over making a decision. When he delivers it, I'm a little shocked. I thought it would be Sarah Potenza.
Result: Blake chooses Hannah Kirby
Christina Aguilera Meets with Girls Inc for A Day in the Life
We see a video of Christina and her team of artists welcoming a group of young singers from Girls Inc to the set of The Voice where they get to go through hair and make-up, a vocal coach practice, and a performance practice. The starstruck young ladies have a blast.
Team Christina Performs Madonna's "Like A Prayer"
India, Sonic, Lexi, Rob and Kimberly stunningly take the stage in bright reds and sooty blacks and do Madonna's controversial hit justice. I can't help wondering what it feels like to know that any moment your journey on The Voice stage could be over. It's amazing they perform so amazingly with all that pressure. By this time the voting is over, so maybe they are relaxing a bit and just having fun. Well, unless you are pretty sure you're in the bottom three, in which case you may have no idea how Christina will vote and that would be sickeningly scary.
Team Christina Results: America Saved Kimberly Nichole and India Carney
The first name announced is Kimberly Nichole, then India Carney. The order of these two surprised me, though both of these artists delivered masterful performances in the Playoffs so it's all good. Now that those two are safe, the rest is a toss up between Rob and Sonic.
Result: Christina chooses Rob Taylor
Team Pharrell Performs "Say Something (I'm Giving Up On You)"
Sawyer starts out the song, followed by Mia and Koryn in harmony, then Lowell and Caitlin. Everyone is outstanding. Of the team performances so far this is the best bar none. Pharrell has so many good artists, it's a challenge to predict who America will have voted for the most. Lowell, in this song, gives his best performance of the entire season, which is a shame. Everyone rocks
Team Pharrell Results: America Saved Sawyer Fredericks and Mia Z
Sawyer, of course, is the first named. That was expected. for the next announcement I hold my breath. It has to be Mia Z. She is head and shoulders above the other three. America gets this right as well.
Result: Pharrell chooses Koryn Hawthorne
Team Adam Performs "Diamonds"
Brian, Deanna, Tonya, Nathan and Joshua take the stage with the men in matte black and the women in sequins. They are a classy bunch. This Rihanna song is new to me, so I'm not sure what to expect. Once they are all up on stage and easy to compare their talent, it's clear Deanna has the most unique, exquisite and powerful voice. Tonya is a powerhouse, but once Deanna captures the confidence she owes herself to embrace, she is head and shoulders above the rest. My opinion, for what it's worth. Joshua remains my favorite of this bunch despite his song choice and performance last night.
Team Adam Results: Joshua Davis and Deanna Johnson
Yes! Thank you, America. You must have voted with your hearts, as I did. Now on to who joins the first 11 to go on to the Top 12. Who will that be? Tonya has earned it since the beginning. Nathan is good, but not at the level of the others advancing and last night's performance was less than stellar. Brian, well, Brian sprang out of his shell in his last performance and showed America that he has the chops to compete with the creme de la creme of season 8. So, who will it be?
Result: Adam chooses Brian Johnson
The Top 12 Artists for Season 8 of The Voice Are Finalized
Wow. Sometimes two hours of The Voice on a Monday or Tuesday night seems like a long time. Usually it goes pretty fast because the entertainment is great. But this paltry 59 minutes of The Voice tonight went by like it was five. Wham. Bam. And it's over. Here is how the chips fell:
Team Blake: Corey Kent White, Meghan Linsey and Hannah Kirby
Team Christina: Kimberly Nichole, Rob Taylor and Rob Taylor
Team Pharrell: Sawyer Fredericks, Mia Z and Koryn Hawthorne
Team Adam: Joshua Davis, Deanna Johnson and Brian Johnson
Whew. There you have it. See y'all next week!
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.