From the original 48, we are down to just 10 artists, each determined to win it all. As the competition grows fiercer, the singers know they must take bigger risks than ever; it's survival of the boldest. Here is everything you need to know about tonight's show.
Before the first competitive song is performed, up and coming British band Rixton kicks off the show by singing their hit "Me and My Broken Heart." The coaches are bouncing in their seats, either because of the song or because of nerves. But there's no denying Rixton's infectious pop, and the song does just what was intended: break the ice.
The first artist out of the gate is Team Adam's Kat Perkins, who will be singing Stevie Nicks' classic "Landslide." In rehearsals, Kat meets with an advisor Adam has brought in: Graham Nash of the legendary Crosby, Stills, & Nash. Not bad company for a nanny from Minnesota. "Landslide" is a slow and soft guitar ballad, but Perkins, a huge Stevie Nicks fan, puts her unique spin on it. By the end, she's crying from the release of emotion, which has Blake Shelton saying, "Now you're going to make me cry!" Ah gee, Blake. Usher and Shakira like her performance, but seem a little low-key. Are they nervous for their own artists, or just not wanting to lavish too much praise on someone at the expense of members of their own teams?
Next we get Tess Boyer, the former NFL cheerleader who had to squeak out a win with the instant save in order to stay on The Voice for another week. She's performing "Ain't It Fun" by Paramore. Since Tess is a dancer, it's a good song for her - she can bop around onstage while singing. Plus she gets to meet with Team Shakira's advisor first, the music producer Busbee, who has produced hit songs for a wide variety of singers, including Kelly Clarkson, Pink and Voice coach Christina Aguilera. Looking saucy in a yellow dress, Tess takes the stage and gives a rollicking performance that has the audience on its feet. Good enough to avoid the instant save this week? We will see.
Before we get to hear Team Blake's Audra McLaughlin, the young country singer with a classic old country soul, we get some flirting between the guys at the center of America's favorite bromance, Adam and Blake. The country singer has been threatening to tweet Adam's personal cell phone number. Adam says he'd never do it, but just like that, Blake tweets the cell number. Adam's phone begins ringing nonstop. Someone's gonna need a new phone.
Audra rehearses with Blake and his advisor, producer Steve Hendricks, who has produced 55 No. 1 country hits. Audra is singing Reba McEntire's "You Lie," and it begs the question: dare she try to improve on perfection? Audra takes the stage in a stunning dress and gives a tender rendition of the mournful ballad, getting Blake on his feet with a standing ovation. The other coaches are warming up to the spirit of the night, proclaiming themselves blown away by Audra's moving performance.
Next up is Josh Kaufman, Team Usher's first performer of the night. Usher has given his artist a tough song in Kenny Loggins' "This Is It." But if anyone can pull it off, it's Josh. So long as he remembers to wear his hat, which may the source of all his power. He takes the stage and... there's the hat! Josh proceeds to pull off a great performance, showing his usual effortlessness through some difficult transitions that would be tough for a lesser singer. The coaches barely have anything to critique. Josh, dude, you should sleep in that hat.
We're back to Team Adam and his tiny powerhouse, Christina Grimmie. Christina struggled in the early rounds, but her sheer talent carried her through. Now she's getting more comfortable, which is bad news for the other artists. After nearly falling all over herself meeting Graham Nash, she sits at a piano onstage to sing Drake's "Hold On, We're Going Home." Showing terrific versatility, Christina wows everyone with a jazzy arrangement that gets bigger and bigger, letting her show her range and hit some big notes. Her coach is pumped, but Christina might be even more so.
Clearly it's going to be tough for the second five performers to top the first, but they'll be damned if they won't try. First is Jake Worthington of Team Blake singing classic country with George Strait's "Run." During rehearsal, Jake meets advisor Scott Hendricks, an occasion that elicits an admiring "Holy crap!" from the teenager. Then Jake gets onstage and puts his heart into the ballad, getting a standing ovation from his coach and praise from Shakira in particular. Shakira, you're going to make the other guys jealous...
Bria Kelly will also take a risk, singing Avril Lavigne's "I'm with You." It's a departure for someone who tends to dominate with bluesy rock songs, but at this stage of the competition, she knows she has to go for the high risk/high reward songs to distinguish herself. It also means Bria will take the stage without the lucky guitar her family gave her. But guitar or no guitar, it doesn't matter to Bria. Her power is in her voice, and it carries her through with style and substance; her performance earns her high marks from all the coaches.
Team Adam's final performer of the night is Delvin Choice, set to sing Gary Clark, Jr.'s "Bright Lights." It's a big song, perfect for a big performer like Delvin. From the moment he walks onstage one thought comes to mind: beyond being a singer, Delvin is an entertainer. He belts out the big notes of "Bright Lights," ending by asking the audience if they all know his name, accompanied by a hard drum-and-guitar riff from the band. He actually fools Carson, who starts walking out on to the stage a moment too soon, thinking the song is over. It's a tour de force, and Adam can barely contain himself, nearly jumping out of his seat singing Delvin's praises. Levine might have been lamenting earlier that he had not chosen Josh Kaufman in Josh's battle performance against Delvin, but there's no question he's happy now.
Shakira's final performer, Kristen Merlin, is up to sing Passenger's "Let Her Go" while hoping that her microphone won't cut out in the middle of her performance again. After a heart-to-heart with Shakira about her father's loving reaction to last week's performance, Kristen is ready to get up onstage. From the opening note, she proceeds to absolutely kill the song (a tune familiar to fans of Cole Vosbury on Season 5). The crowd is roaring its approval - and the coaches are too.
Closing the show is Sisaundra Lewis singing Journey's "Oh Sherrie." Performers this season have struggled a bit on these big Steve Perry songs, but if anyone can really slay it, the big-voiced Sisaundra can. And she does not disappoint, reaching high notes, low notes and everything in between. Her emotional phrasing and sheer horsepower have the audience exhausted and elated. "Look up," Adam says afterwards. "There used to be a roof on this building!" The coaches are nearly speechless after watching Sisaundra. Her coach, Blake, can't believe his luck in landing her on his team in the first place. Does she even need any coaching?
The performances done, Carson announces that the voting is now open. The artists have given it their all. Now they just have to wait a short 24 hours to find out if it was enough. And we can look forward to finding out the results on Tuesday night.
Each of the remaining ten artists sings live for America's votes; Rixton performs.