Elimination night on "The Voice" was a bloodbath this week, with three singers -- Sisaundra Lewis, Audra McLaughlin and Delvin Choice -- going home, rather than the usual two. Four of the top 8 singers would be declared safe, and four would sing for the Twitter Instant Save. Only one -- Kat Perkins -- would be snatched back from the brink of elimination to round out the top 5 moving on to the semifinals.
It was a tough night all around.
Well, it wasn't actually so tough for Shakira, Usher and their (very small) teams.
Before the results rolled in, Shakira noted that even though she, like Usher, started the evening with only one team member left, "that's all it takes to win."
Meanwhile, Blake Shelton who, like Adam Levine, had three artists left at the start of the night, observed that with three going home, "any one of us could have our team wiped completely out of this competition."
Mercifully, that didn't happen.
Bit by bit, Carson Daly released the results.
Team Usher's Josh Kaufman was safe, which meant that Usher was the first coach to be guaranteed a spot in the semifinals.
Shakira would join him there: Her sole remaining singer, Kristen Merlin, was also safe.
Team Adamalso would be represented: Christina Grimmie had made it through.
And last but not least, Team Blake's Jake Worthington had been saved by America.
"That ... means all four of our coaches have artists representing them in next week's semifinals," Daly announced, before turning his attention to the four singers who remained at risk: Team Blake's Lewis and McLaughlin, and Team Adam's Perkins, who'd been saved via Twitter last week, and Choice.
In that order, each sang. Lewis showed her soul with Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," pronouncing "feel" a bit strangely and perhaps falling out of "the pocket" a bit, but hitting some impressive notes.
Usher called her voice "incredible" and her performance "amazing," but said that "unfortunately" her fate was "in America's hands." Shakira said it was "unfair" that she was at risk because her voice is "just so, so crazy good." Levine declared that the bottom four were not the "bottom," but rather "the other four people that performed on Monday."
At this point, he said, "the bottom doesn't exist anymore." Shelton said it made no sense to him that, in a competition to find the "best singer in the world," Lewis might be headed home. He urged those watching to save her, saying, "You know you want to hear this girl sing again next week."
McLaughlin sang "Done," by the Band Perry, striding around the stage and delivering the lyrics with a new confidence and swagger.
Shakira said it was "one of those moments when you have nothing to lose," and that McLaughlin had showed an attitude she's never seen in her before. "Man, you're fierce," she said, adding that she'd "love" for McLaughlin "to stay." Levine said it was "surreal" to see singers of McLaughlin's and Lewis' caliber "scrapping for this last spot." Shelton called McLaughlin "a world-class vocalist," and then pleaded for country fans to "save this girl. Jump on Twitter and save Audra, please."
Things were looking pretty good for McLaughlin, but then Perkins came out and tore into Heart's "Barracuda" with a vengeance that left it gasping on the floor. The crowd went wild.
"You're loved, Kat," Usher observed, saying her performance took him back to the blind auditions. "I would have hit my button, like, five times," he said. "You're an amazing vocalist, and I think you deserve to stay in this competition."
Levine added that Perkins, along with Season 3 runner-up Terry McDermott, were "the two best rock singers we've ever had on this show." He begged the audience to vote for Perkins so she could continue to carry the rock 'n' roll torch. "Rock and roll is the best music in the world," he said.
Shakira declared him to have been one of her favorites. "I've been secretly rooting for you the whole time because you're so good," she told Choice, "your voice is just so rich." Levine told viewers to save Choice because "nobody on planet Earth" or in this "solar system" or "galaxy" or "galaxies far beyond this one" sounded like him. Choice's voice was "of another world," his coach said.
Five minutes later, the results were in. Perkins, remarkably, got a second save, breaking the usual saved-one-week/out-the-next pattern. Lewis, McLaughlin and Choice -- any of whom, at one point or another during the competition, reasonably had a shot at the win -- would head home.
So Team Adam moves on with two singers (Perkins and Grimmie) and Teams Blake, Shakira and Usher with one apiece (Worthington, Merlin and Kaufman, respectively).
Phew. What a night. What a week. What a season.
What did you think of the eliminations?