In addition to welcoming back Season 7 finalist Chris Jamison to sing "See You Again" with Wiz Khalifa and offering up some group performances that were much better than average, "The Voice" unveiled its Season 8 top 12 in a special live results show on Wednesday night. The audience voted through two members of each team, then each coach selected one additional team member to complete his or her team of three. Two singers from each team went home – and it was not always the two you expected.
Team Blake went first, turning in an outstanding performance of the Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There" and proving there wasn't a weak link in the bunch before lining up to learn which members of this stellar team would advance and which would not.
America voted through Corey Kent White, the only country singer left in the competition, and Shelton's pal, veteran singer Meghan Linsey. That left Shelton to choose between Hannah Kirby, Brooke Adee and Sarah Potenza.
"I know that this is by far the toughest decision that all of us have to make as coaches because now we've come far enough that we've developed a relationship," Shelton said, adding that he was proud of all three and believed each deserved to be in the competition. However, he had to make a call: "I'm going to be moving Hannah forward," he said. Adee, who hadn't quite connected in her playoff performance, maintained a smile, but Potenza, whom others might have advanced in Shelton's shoes (boots?), seemed shaken by the news. Sad to see her go. I'll miss her rocker energy, gravelly voice and distinctive eyewear.
After singing Madonna's "Like a Prayer," Team Christina gathered to get its results. The audience had voted through Kimberly Nichole and India Carney (solid choices, both), leaving Aguilera to decide between Sonic, Lexi Davila and Rob Taylor, whose face was streaked with tears. Considering the previous evening's performances, her choice seemed clear, and after congratulating the team members voted through and repeatedly reassuring "each and every one" of those who were not that she adored them, she made it: Taylor would advance.
Team Pharrell went next, sweetly singing A Great Big World's "Say Something" and proving their coach right when he said they'd set the bar "pole-vault high." Who would leap over the barrier to the next round? America picked Sawyer Fredericks, this season's youngest singer, and Mia Z. (Nice work, America.) And then – choosing between Caitlin Caporale, Koryn Hawthorne and Lowell Oakley – Williams went with his "gut" and his "heart and soul and spirit" and selected Hawthorne. Caporale, a polished performer with powerful pipes, looked as if she'd had the rug pulled out from under her.
Last up was Team Adam. It sang Rihanna's "Diamonds," then waited to find out which of them America thought were the glintiest gems. America picked … Joshua Davis and Deanna Johnson. (Hooray!) That meant Levine had to choose between Tonya Boyd-Cannon, Nathan Hermida and Brian Johnson. You might have expected him to go with Boyd-Cannon, a consistently strong performer who had been on Team Adam from the start and whom Levine called his "rock." But no, after cursing out his gut – "and I hate my gut, my gut's a stupid idiot" – Levine, somewhat startlingly, went with a singer who had only just joined his team: Brian Johnson.
And so, heading into next week's live performance shows the teams look like this:
Team Blake: Corey Kent White, Meghan Linsey, Hannah Kirby
Team Christina: Kimberly Nichole, India Carney, Rob Taylor
Team Pharrell: Sawyer Fredericks, Mia Z, Koryn Hawthorne
Team Adam: Joshua Davis, Deanna Johnson, Brian Johnson