It's never fun having to send aspiring artists home, but tonight it promises to be downright painful. Coaches CeeLo Green, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine all know that the talent level this season has been higher than ever. With just 12 slots available for the remaining 20 artists, there's no doubt that some gifted singers will see their dreams interrupted tonight. Carson explains that each team of five artists will perform tonight, then the eliminations will begin. The two artists on each team who received the most votes will automatically head for the Top 12. Of the remaining three, the coach will choose whom he or she wants to save; the other two contestants will say goodbye. It's a brutal, but necessary culling of the herd, and the tension couldn't be thicker.
Team Blake kicks it into gear. They rock the house hard on "Free Ride" and feature Austin Jenckes on bass guitar, Cole Vosbury on electric guitar and Nic Hawk, Ray Boudreaux and Shelbie Z. on vocals. In keeping with Team Blake's ethos, it's a musical ass-kicker.
We return from the commercial break with the night's business at hand. Carson reveals that Austin Jenckes and Cole Vosbury were the top vote getters; Nic Hawk, Ray Boudreaux and Shelbie Z. are officially on the bubble. Coach Blake hates the choice he has to make next, but he knows it's his job. He chooses Ray Boudreaux to move on to the Top 12. After some gracious parting words, we say goodbye to Nic Hawk and Shelbie Z.
CeeLo's artists step up next, performing Supertramp's "Give a Little Bit." Amber Nicole, Caroline Pennell, Jonny Gray, Kat Robichaud and Tamara Chauniece all trade verses and blend together on the song's sweet harmonies. The crowd gives them a well-deserved ovation, and then it's time for the results.
America saves Caroline Pennell and Jonny Gray, leaving Amber Nicole, Kat Robichaud and Tamara Chauniece on pins and needles. A pained CeeLo weighs the strengths and weaknesses of each of them, thinking through what his lineup needs to be to compete in the ensuing rounds. After what seems like an eternity, he tells the three he is there for them no matter who stays or goes. Then CeeLo makes his choice: Kat Robichaud is safe; Tamara Chauniece and Amber Nicole are finished.
And it's on to Team Xtina. Jacquie Lee, Matthew Schuler, Josh Logan, Olivia Henken and Stephanie Anne Johnson take the stage to deliver their five-part take on "Love Somebody."
We return from break and watch a short package that showcases just how close the team members have become - with each other and with their coach, Christina. Breaking up the band is no fun; but the show goes on, and Carson respects the drama of the decisive moment. America has saved Jacquie Lee and Matthew Schuler. Now the diva has a fateful pick to make among Josh Logan, Olivia Henken and Stephanie Anne Johnson. These decisions are never easy for Xtina, and she's clearly shaken by the choice she must now make. Pressed by Carson, she chooses Josh. We bid a tearful farewell to Stephanie Ann and Olivia.
Team Adam is all that remains, and they make the most of what will be their final opportunity to sing together, delivering an impressive "Safe and Sound." Tessanne Chin, James Wolpert, Preston Pohl, Will Champlin and Grey are an all-star band of their own - and the crowd lets them know it.
Once again, Carson returns to center stage to announce the final results of America's votes. In this case, it's Tessanne Chin and James Wolpert who are headed for the Top 12. Now Adam wrestles with his dilemma: each of the remaining three artists offers something different; each has a unique appeal that could take his team forward. Adam gives each of the three words of encouragement and tells them they've given their best. Adam deliberates and debates the choice as he writhes in his big red chair. Finally he must choose. His pick: Will Champlin. As the credits roll, we bid an emotional farewell to Grey and Preston Pohl.
And so the Top 20 becomes the Top 12. Exhausted, the coaches step out, knowing their work is far from over. From here on out, the voting no longer takes place by team - it's an open ballot. Any misstep could quickly leave a coach without a singer in the race. Xtina, CeeLo, Blake and Adam have just four days to get their teams of three ready to give the performances of their lives, beginning Monday.
The results of the coaches' and America's picks for the Top 12 are revealed.