This Wednesday, "The Voice" top 12 were announced on the first publicly voted live results show of Season 4. Well, at least I think it was publicly voted. While it wasn't a huge shock how the four teams ultimately turned out, there were still a couple of surprises. And the biggest surprise was that many of America's votes didn't count at all.
At the start of Wednesday's special results show, host Carson Daly trotted out some buttoned-up fellow in charge of counting the votes (sort of like one of those PricewaterhouseCoopers guys from the Oscars), who explained that there'd been some inconsistencies with text and online votes observed by Telescope, "The Voice's" vote-monitoring company. So guess what? Text and online votes were thrown out this week, and only traditional phone votes and iTunes downloads were tallied. Whaaaaa?
Relax, people. Carson and the PricewaterhouseCoopers-ish man then assured all recount-demanding conspiracy theorists that the results would've been the same regardless, that this little glitch made absolutely no difference, and this was no hanging-chad sort of situation. Okay, then.
Personally, I wish the PricewaterhouseCoopers-ish man had come onstage a week earlier and announced that there'd been some inconsistencies with the coaches' Knockout Rounds decisions, meaning that Grace Askew, Luke Edgemon, Savannah Berry, and Midas Whale all had to come back. But I digress. On to the (possibly-tainted-but-probably-not) actual results…
For each team, two contestants were (supposedly) voted through by America, and then each coach got to save a third contestant to round out his or her team of three. Blake Shelton's results were the first to be revealed, and soon it was apparent that fans of female country singers love them some "Voice." While I'd wondered if Danielle Bradbery, Team Blake's most valuable player, would siphon votes from Holly Tucker, both country girls ended up comprising Blake's top two. That left Blake to choose between the affable Swon Brothers and forgettable country crooner Justin Rivers. Thankfully, Blake made the right call here, and he saved the Swons--making them the first duo in "Voice" history to get to the finals. So Blake ended up with exactly the team I'd predicted...I'd just predicted that it would be the Swon Brothers, not Holly, who'd snag the public vote.
Next up was Team Shakira, and this result was a slight surprise. No, of course it wasn't a surprise that powerhouse Sasha Allen was in the top two--but I didn't expect the somewhat bland Kris Thomas, whose Bruno Mars cover on Tuesday had been such a disappointment, to be Team Shakira's other top vote-getter. Apparently Shakira's wish for the "good guy to win" came true. That left her to choose between Garrett Gardner, a gruff-voiced rocker dude, and Karina Iglesias, a rock diva with one of the biggest sets of lungs on the show. After what seemed like an agonized 17 minutes, Shakira opted to keep Garrett. I understood her decision--Garrett is more marketable (read: cuter), and according to Shakira, he's the one with more potential for growth. I'd actually predicted that Garrett, not Kris, would be in Team Shakira's top two. But it was a shame to see Karina, Season 4's other great rock hope, leave the competition so soon.
And then, there was Team Usher. The "Voice" gods smiled upon me as my absolute favorite of the top 16, the super-awesome Michelle Chamuel, was voted through by America. Vedo was the other contestant who made the cut, leaving Usher to choose between Josiah Hawley and Cathia. Unsurprisingly, he picked Dylan McKay-esque heartthrob Josiah over Cathia, a girl who wasn't even an original Team Usher member and had obviously been sabotaged by Usher with a Whitney Houston song this week. This was the final three I'd predicted for Team Usher; I'd just predicted that Josiah would be the one who'd get the votes, and that Vedo would be Usher's pick.
And finally, it was time for the season's arguably strongest team, Team Adam. Judith Hill was the first name called by Carson, to the surprise of absolutely no one but Judith. (Oh, puh-leeze. I didn't buy her mock-surprised act for a nanosecond. Taylor Swift could've done a more convincing job of acting humbly shocked.) Amber Carrington was next to get through via the public vote--a minor upset, since I assumed it'd be the exquisite Sarah Simmons. And then Adam hemmed and hawed over his decision to save either Sarah or the much less vocally gifted Caroline Glaser. I couldn't even believe he was acting like this was a difficult choice, bizarrely claiming that these two girls were "evenly matched." I held my breath, ready to kick in my TV set if Adam cut Sarah. I kept wishing Adam would just cut to the chase. Apparently, Carson wished this too: "We're off the air in less than a minute," Carson warned, as the credits started to roll and Adam stalled. Finally, Adam blurted out Sarah's name, right before the network switched over to "SVU." Phew. Crisis averted.
So now we have our top 12. Is it as awesome a top 12 as past seasons? Well, no, not really. The always-welcome return of Season 2 runner-up Juliet Simms, who performed on Wednesday's show with her mentor/manager and on-hiatus "Voice" coach Cee Lo Green, was a reminder that this season's cast isn't quite as star-powered. Where's this year's Juliet Simms, Jamar Rogers, Lindsay Pavao, Vicci Martinez, or Terry McDermott, huh? Heck, where's this year's Cody Belew?
But hey, this is still a pretty strong top 12, so I'm not going to complain too much, at least not yet--let's just hope my personal faves (Michelle, Sarah, Sasha, Judith, Danielle, Garrett) don't leave too soon. It'll definitely be interesting to see how the singers fare next week, when the team quotas are no more and it's every contestant, and every coach, for him- or herself. See you then!