It's another nerve-wracking night at Stage 12. Jacquie Lee, James Wolpert, Matthew Schuler, Will Champlin, Tessanne Chin, Ray Boudreaux, Cole Vosbury and Caroline Pennell pace nervously backstage as Carson sets the scene for the night. Tonight, America's top 5 vote-getters will learn they're headed into next week's semifinals. The bottom three vote-getters will face an instant save - or an instant elimination, depending on how you look at it. The talent level has never been higher on the show. But there's no escaping the harsh reality: tonight, two solid singers will be sent home.
Before the drama takes over, the producers have arranged a lovely opening number to break the ice. Ellie Goulding comes to the stage, accompanied by James, Matthew and Will for a stirring take on Ellie's "Burn." After a break, Carson checks in with the coaches, who are clearly as nervous as their artists. But they're all heartened by the fact that even those headed home after tonight will come away strengthened, encouraged and enlightened by their experience. The Top 8 assembles at center stage for the announcement of the first save: Will Champlin is headed for the semifinals.
We return from the break to find Carson in the Sprint Skybox with Ellie Goulding; they chat about her new album and check in on what fans are saying on Facebook and Twitter. We head down to the stage for a treat: all eight of the Top 8 are onstage, surrounded by 23 choir vocalists (courtesy of Starbucks). They deliver a delightful take on the hymn, "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." After a commercial, Carson reveals another artist who is safe: Cole Vosbury.
We return from a break for tonight's showstopper: CeeLo Green and his Goodie Mob pal, Big Gipp, unleashing a new single, "Amy." In typical CeeLo fashion, the delivery is over the top: an all-white stage set, dozens of white-clad dancers, aerialists swinging from white trapezes. CeeLo is nothing if not a showman. He's followed up by the weekly "confessional" package, where the artists and coaches share their favorite show conspiracy theories and their favorite impressions of each other.
Our Top 8 of Jacquie Lee, James Wolpert, Matthew Schuler, Will Champlin, Tessanne Chin, Ray Boudreaux, Cole Vosbury and Caroline Pennell return to the stage for another musical romp. Under a pair of black chandeliers, the artists breeze and swing their way through "Apologize" and All The Right Moves." We come back to Carson who informs us that Tessanne Chin and James Wolpert are officially going on to the semifinals. That means tonight's bottom three vote recipients are Matthew Schuler, Caroline Pennell and Ray Boudreaux. The tweets start flying as we head to break.
And finally the moment is at hand. Matthew, Ray and Caroline stand anxiously side by side as Carson gets in a few final thoughts. The dramatic music swells as Carson reveals the final artist: Matthew Schuler! Caroline Pennell and Ray Boudreaux have reached the end of the line. It's been just an hour since the show began tonight, but the crew, the crowd, the artists and the coaches are all spent. The pressure ratchets even higher now and the coaches must begin thinking of what it will take to put their artists in front. With just three weeks to go, there's no rest for anyone.
The results of the instant save and America's votes are revealed as the Top 6 are named.