It's the first night of live eliminations. Twelve artists sang their hearts out last night and tonight the reckoning will be told. And as was the case last season, the bottom three vote getters will have one last chance to sing for their survival.
The show begins as Host Carson Daly takes the stage to get us ready for our night of performances and frantic Twitter action. But first, Coach Adam Levine and his team members Kat Perkins, Delvin Choice and Christina Grimmie perform Peter Gabriel's hit "Sledgehammer." It's a rockin' time to get the audience pumped for the show.
Quickly, we're on to the first two saves. All 12 artists line up onstage to learn their fates. Carson gravely announces that the first artist is from Team Usher. In his chair, the nervous looking coach holds up a finger. And the first save is... Josh Kaufman! The usually behatted soul singer lets out a sigh of relief. Then Carson announces the second save: "From Team Adam, it's... Kat Perkins!" The tiny rocker with the big voice lives to sing another day.
After a commercial, Carson gives us two more saves. First up from Team Shakira, country artist Kristen Merlin learns she's remaining on the show. Apparently the voters did not hold Monday's microphone failure against her, and may have even rewarded her fortitude in gutting her way through that technical snag. Next, Carson announces that America has saved another country singer, Audra McLaughlin of Team Blake. Each coach now has at least one artist moving into next week's round of 10.
Now it's Shakira's turn to show her musical chops. She takes the stage to sing her new hit "Empire" as flames dance and lick the air. It's getting hot on the set of The Voice!
We watch a taped piece in which Shakira and her team spend an afternoon with students at a local Los Angeles elementary school, a nice distraction from the pressure of performing live for a television audience of millions of people. After the clip ends, the remaining artists line up onstage for two more eliminations. Carson sets the scene and announces that Delvin Choice of Team Adam, the artist with perhaps the coolest hair of Season 6, will move on to the next round. He then announces the next save: Jake Worthington of Team Blake. The teenaged country singer looks like he might collapse in relief as his family in the audience literally jumps for joy.
After another commercial, Blake Shelton takes the stage with his team to perform Travis Tritt's "Put Some Drive in Your Country." It's a rollicking good time, perhaps helped along by Jake and Audra's relief that they have been saved for another week. The third team member, Sisaundra Lewis, may still be on the chopping block; but she's a seasoned professional, and she joins the team in blowing the doors off the soundstage with this performance.
Then it is time for three more saves. The remaining six artists line up on the stage. Now it's really the witching hour, since the three who are not saved right here must immediately perform one more song in a last-ditch effort to prove their worthiness to America. The music swells as Carson announces the first save: Team Usher's Bria Kelly. The blues rocker rushes to hug her coach and slap hands with the audience while shouting out her relief.
When everyone has settled down, Carson announces the next save. It's Christina Grimmie of Team Adam! The tiny pop singer with the huge voice throws her arms in the air and gives a primal rocker scream as she leaves the stage. The tension in the air is as thick as Blake Shelton's Oklahoma accent.
Finally it's time for the final save. The drama builds until Carson reads the name: Sisaundra Lewis of Team Blake. The veteran performer nearly breaks into tears as she hugs the other artists and heads offstage. Blake and Adam, the only two coaches to ever win The Voice, are sitting pretty with all of their team members moving on to the next round. Usher has two and maybe a third if T.J. Wilkins can sing his heart out. Meanwhile, Shakira looks crestfallen. Two of her singers, Dani Moz and Tess Boyer, will have to sing one more time tonight, and both could still wind up going home.
After a commercial gives the three artists a few minutes to prepare themselves, we're back to hear their performances. First up is T.J. to sing Edwin McCain's "I'll Be." We get some quick feedback from Adam, and then Usher, who is already holding his phone and telling America to take to Twitter and vote for T.J. Settle down, Usher, the Twitter save window hasn't started yet.
Dani Moz is next, singing Adele's "Turning Tables," perhaps hoping for a reversal of fortune. Dani is followed by Tess Boyer, who was almost eliminated twice in the battle rounds and has been living dangerously ever since. She takes on Kelly Clarkson's "Dark Side," perhaps an appropriate choice for a dark horse.
Then it is time to begin the instant save. The three artists line up as Carson explains the rules: the save window will be open for five minutes, during which viewers must tweet #VoiceSave along with the name of the artist they want to remain on the show. The top vote getter stays and the other two go home. "The window is now open," Carson says, and we're off to a commercial. All across America, thumbs and fingers fly to save the three artists.
We come back to T.J., Dani and Tess still center stage, awaiting the results. As the voting window closes, Carson is given the name of the winner. As dramatic music swells underneath and the artists hold hands, the host makes his announcement: Tess Boyer has been saved. The former NFL cheerleader nearly collapses as she lets out the tension. Carson thanks everyone for watching as Shakira and Usher come up onstage to congratulate Tess and say goodbye to Dani and T.J. It's always sad to wish any talented singer farewell, but such are the breaks on The Voice.
And then there were 10. We'll be back next week for more live performances, more voting, and then another intense Twitter instant save as we whittle down the list of artists with a shot at being The Voice.
Shakira performs, Adam and Blake sing with their teams and America decides the final artists to be the Top 10.