It could be the toughest cut of any Voice episode ever. With this season's talent level off the charts, any of the remaining five artists clearly has the chops and stage presence to be a finalist. But this is the toughest singing competition on TV, and tonight after the smoke clears, only three will remain standing. Tessanne Chin, Jacquie Lee, Cole Vosbury, Will Champlin and James Wolpert assemble at the stage, knowing this could well be their last time altogether.
As tense as it promises to be, this is also a night to reacquaint ourselves with old friends. So before the revelations get underway, Carson welcomes the fan favorite Swon Brothers back to the stage. Zach and Colton placed third in last season's competition, but they've clearly landed on their feet; their debut album for the Arista Nashville label is due out in early 2014. They give a sneak peek, performing their upcoming single, "Later On." We catch up with the colorful boys from Muskogee, Oklahoma after the song and then head for a commercial break.
And now the misery begins: Tessanne, Will, James, Jacquie and Cole take the stage. Carson wants to know where their minds are now and what the future holds. With the nervous chitchat complete, Carson slowly pulls up the first results card and reveals that James Wolpert is finished.
Another old friend visits the stage, Michelle Chamuel. The Wellesley, Massachusetts native has always gone her own way, and her new single showcases her original style once again. On a kabuki-inspired stage bedecked in red velour curtains, a dozen backing musicians (including a full string section) lay down a lush, layered sound and a driving beat as Michelle unleashes her signature vocals. The audience rewards her with a welcome and warm round of applause. Carson follows up with a short interview and a check-in with former contestant Jamar Rogers.
We return to center stage where Carson and the remaining artists wait nervously for the next name to be revealed. As the "tension lights" sequence and dramatic techno sounds echo through the hall, Carson again chats with the artists. And soon enough, he's out with the next name: Tessanne Chin breathes a huge sigh of relief as her name is called. The pressure intensifies.
We return from commercial break to find Carson in the Sprint Skybox with another fan favorite, Season 2's Chris Mann. The runner-up artist has also done well for himself, with two albums under his belt, a national tour in the works and a PBS Christmas special. The Voice is known to for finding unknown artists and nurturing them to their potential; Chris Mann is living proof. Carson reads a few live tweets from fans and then throws down to the stage for the latest from another Voice alum, Cassadee Pope.
The Season 3 winner unveils her latest single "I Wish I Could Break Your Heart" from her hit album "Frame by Frame." After the applause dies down, Carson and Blake catch up with the young singer and surprise her with a gold record award, marking the milestone of over 500,000 copies sold of her debut single "Wasting All These Tears." We head for break.
We return with another Voice winner, Season 4's Danielle Bradbery. The Texas teenager has been busy since her days under Blake's tutelage. She's opened for Brad Paisley on his national tour, agreed to appear in a series of SKECHERS ads, signed to Big Machine Records and released a full-length album. Tonight the 17-year-old is here to perform her latest, "Never Like This." She's a vision, surrounded by glowing, floral light columns, working the crowd as she hits the sweet high notes that took her to the top just six months ago. Danielle clears the stage, and the remaining artists stand abreast as Carson reveals that Jacquie Lee has made it to the top three! As we head for break, we get another taste of Danielle Bradbery, a powerful anthem called "My Day" set to athletic footage promoting NBC's upcoming coverage of the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
And now, just Cole Vosbury and Will Champlin are on the stage. Months and years of practice, performing, dreams and now fate have brought these two artists together. Again we get their final thoughts, and then Carson painfully plays the moment of truth out before revealing the final finalist's name: Will Champlin! Cole Vosbury's time on The Voice is over, a shocker for sure. It's been an unforgettable night of old friends, new music and high drama - and now the stage is truly set for what will be a most competitive final, starting Monday night.
The Top 5 discover who's headed for the finals; past Voice artists perform.