'The Voice' Top 10 Results: Korin Bukowski Doesn't Have to Try, Try, Try

Perhaps Gwen Stefani should have spent a little less time this Voice season focusing on her showmance with Blake Shelton or on the increasingly distracting makeovers that she constantly inflicted upon her hapless contestants. Yes, Team Gwen’s frontrunner, the amazing Jeffery Austin, has so far managed to escape his coach’s rhinestone-nail-art-festooned clutches with just a slightly darker red hair-dye rinse – and, more importantly, with his artistic integrity fully intact. But Team Gwen’s Korin Bukowski and Braiden Sunshine – who both landed in the bottom two on Tuesday’s top 10 results episode, and were forced to face off in a Twitter Save showdown – obviously have not been so lucky.

And Korin’s rocky road this Voice season finally dead-ended in disaster this Tuesday, when, during her third Twitter Save sing-off in as many weeks (“a familiar spot,” as icy-hearted host Carson Daly salt-in-wound-rubbingly worded it), she suffered a meltdown onstage. She choked up, froze up, forgot many of the words to Colbie Caillat’s “Try,” and much of the time appeared like she didn’t want to even try at all. It seemed like she’d already given up. She looked like she wanted to go home.


In all nine seasons of The Voice – a show usually packed with pros and semi-pros who never let the audience see ‘em sweat – I’d never witnessed a debacle like this. This was tough for me to watch… though surely not as tough as it was for poor Korin herself. This performance probably comprised the longest 90 seconds of her life.

The coaches were sympathetic and kind. Blake assured Korin that even showbiz veterans like himself sometimes flub their lyrics (although, to be fair, Blake can probably use alcohol as an excuse when that happens), and said, “You deserve to be in this competition.” Pharrell Williams praised her for “getting knocked down and getting right back up” (which wasn’t an entirely accurate description of what had just happened, actually), and told her, “Hold your head up.” Gwen insisted that she was still proud of Korin.


But none of the coaches’ encouraging words seemed to matter. Korin never cracked a smile. She just stood there, awkwardly at Carson’s side, a broken woman with a broken spirit. The coaches kept telling her she deserved to be on the show, but deserving to be there and wanting to be there clearly are not always synonymous.

Braiden’s Twitter Save song, a cover of Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe,” wasn’t exactly a Season 9 highlight. It was total Amateur Hour stuff. But at least the 15-year-old kept it together (I would’ve completely understood if Korin’s emotional episode had thrown him off), and at least he acted like he wanted to stay on the show. So when it came time to whip out the hashtags, I had to reluctantly #VoiceSaveBraiden, just to put Korin out of her misery.

Twitter collectively agreed with me, saving Braiden and sending Korin home, which was for the best. On next week’s bloodbath of a top nine results show, five contestants will be cut at once, and someone as fragile as Korin probably couldn’t have handled that sort of live TV trauma.

And so, Braiden survived to face yet another week of ill-advised haircuts, eyeglasses confiscation, and terrible song choices. The kid has little chance of surviving beyond next Tuesday, however, unless Gwen tries, tries, tries a little harder to put him on the right path.

Now let’s end this sad recap with Tuesday’s guest performance by Sia (rocking a full-on Melanie Martinez-esque hair bow), which just might provide comfort for the Korins of the world and prove that there’s still room in the music business for proudly bonkers quirky-girls. Goodnight.

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