“The Voice” does like to dangle contestants over the edge of elimination only to snatch them back to safety -- what with the coach steals, Twitter instant saves and all. Each of those was a “dramatic new twist” from seasons past that has endured. This season’s dramatic twist, which began to play itself out this week: the wild-card round.
Dispensing with the usual results-show filler between revelations, the show informed us quickly on Tuesday which three artists in the top 5 had been voted through to next week’s finals: Team Adam’s Chris Jamison and Matt McAndrew and Team Blake’s Craig Wayne Boyd. (Good picking, America.)
But there would be a fourth finalist, determined by audience vote, who would be welcomed back to sing an original song -- not a cover -- next week and compete with Jamison, McAndrew and Boyd for the win. All nine contestants who had been eliminated after making the top 12 would be eligible for the wild-card slot, including freshly fallen top-5 members Damien and Taylor John Williams.
Each of the nine vocalists, in turn, stepped forward to sing another brief song. It was, as the coaches kept repeating, nice to see these old pals again -- sort of like a reunion. But only one would make it through: Would the audience flock to a female vocalist, like DaNica Shirey, who performed last, singing “Without You,” or Sugar Joans, who arguably, among the women, performed best on Tuesday night, turning in a potent version of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black”? Or would voters choose one of the contestants they’d already stuck with longer, Damien or Taylor John Williams?
Williams’ performance of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” was not terribly inspiring, but Damien delivered the sort of emotionally intense, vocally controlled performance he always does, singing Bruno Mars’ “Grenade.”
“If you don’t believe that this guy deserves to be the fourth slot, you are insane,” Damien’s coach, Adam Levine, said of him after he’d sung.
Apparently the perfectly sane audience agreed. On Wednesday morning, we learned via the “Today” show that voters had chosen Damien to compete next week as the fourth finalist.
The selection not only meant that every member of Team Adam who’d made the top 12 had survived until the finals, it sealed another victory for either Levine or Blake Shelton, proving that the veteran coaches truly know how to play the game -- and play it to win.