Thursday night, the "Voice" top 20 became the top 12, with three contestants per team--two voted through by America, one selected by each coach--making the cut, and two contestants per team going home. Some of these results were so predictable, I could have written this recap without even watching the results show. But others were so surprising, I had to hit my DVR remote control's rewind button a couple of times, just to make sure I'd heard the results correctly. However, for the most part, Season 3 did end up with a very strong top 12, even if it wasn't totally the top 12 I'd expected.
The Team Adam results were by far the least surprising, which is probably why they were read first. The amazing Amanda Brown, whose "Dream On" performance this week was dreamy indeed, was the first to be voted through, followed by Adam Levine's only male contestant, longtime frontrunner Bryan Keith. And then, of course, Adam saved this year's golden child, bow-topped indie girl Melanie Martinez. That may have been a polarizing decision--Melanie is not everybody's cup of tea--but it wasn't exactly an unexpected one.
The surprises started coming fast and furious when it came time for Team Blake's results. No, it wasn't surprising that the superb Terry McDermott, or Cassadee Pope (who already had an established fanbase from her Hey Monday frontwoman days), received the top votes. What was shocking was the fact that, when faced with a choice between his one country contestant, seasoned Nashville singer Liz Davis; his beloved Latin crooner, Julio Cesar Castillo; and 16-year-old punk rawker Michaela Paige...Blake Shelton chose Michaela! It was the right choice. It just wasn't the one I'd expected Blake to make. Judging by the tight-lipped look on Liz's face, she hadn't expected it either.
Team Xtina's pick was a surprise as well--but a much less pleasant one. After heartthrob Dez Duron and Wednesday night standout Sylvia Yacoub were voted through, Christina Aguilera had to choose between two generic pop cuties, Adriana Louise and Devyn DeLoera, or a true original, the androgynous De'Borah. De'Borah seemed like the beyond-obvious choice here. So why did Christina choose to send De'Borah home and keep Adriana instead? Oh, why does Christina do any of the silly things she does? Why does she wear hats shaped like flying saucers, start feuds with Tony Lucca, or wear shirts that are three sizes too small? The mind of Xtina is an eternal TV mystery. Suffice to say, she messed up BIG-time when she went with the blander, safer Adriana. De'Borah was the far more interesting choice, and she was also the better embodiment of what "The Voice" is supposed to be all about.
However, the most nail-biting results of the night were saved for last, when Team Cee Lo's final three were revealed. With arguably the strongest team of the season, it was inevitable that Cee Lo Green would lose at least one really worthy team member, and he most definitely did.
It was a given that R&B prodigy Trevin Hunte would be voted through, but when it was revealed that hirsute throwback soulman Nicholas David, who couldn't look less like a pop star (although he could pass for a member of Kings Of Leon or the Black Crowes), had received more votes than the adorable and more commercial MacKenzie Bourg and Cody Belew...well, that was a shock. I did think Nicholas's performance was really great this week, and I suspected he had a real shot at being Cee Lo's pick. But I never thought he'd get more votes than those two pretty boys.
Cee Lo then decided to make Cody his pick, which was a sound decision--Cody's "One More Try" performance this week was stunning, while MacKenzie's was merely cute (and Team Cee Lo's other contestant, Diego Val, was utterly underwhelming this week and had no shot). But it was difficult to grasp the concept that a kid like MacKenzie could be going home this soon. If MacKenzie had competed on "American Idol" (or even "The Glee Project"!), he probably would have won the whole show.
So there you have it. Though De'Borah and MacKenzie will be missed, this is still a fairly awesome top 12. And happily, starting next week, all 12 will be competing WITHOUT any annoying team quotas--meaning, just the top vote-getters will advance, regardless of coach affiliation. That'll really level the playing field. I only wonder if the team quotas had been done away with this week, if we would have a very different final 12.
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