'The Voice' recap: 12 become 10 in tough elimination show

'The Voice' recap: 12 become 10 in tough elimination show
Top 12 bottom three Mia Z, Brian Johnson and Deanna Johnson await news of their fate. (Tyler Golden/NBC)

In a dramatic elimination show, in which the top 12 shrank to the top 10 and the viewers got their first chance to have complete say in who was sent home and who got to stick around, Adam Levine and Pharrell Williams each saw a team member sent home, while Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton's teams emerged intact.

Between performances by Nick Jonas, who sang his hit "Chains" as dancers scuttled around him like agitated crustaceans, and Teams Blake and Christina (with their coaches), Carson Daly gradually meted out the results.


America saved Team Christina's Kimberly Nichole and Team Pharrell's Sawyer Fredericks, as well as Team Blake's Meghan Linsey.

Joshua Davis of Team Adam, India Carney of Team Christina, and Hannah Kirby of Team Blake were also soon declared safe.

Team Pharrell's Koryn Hawthorne: safe.

Team Christina's Rob Taylor: also safe, cementing the complete survival of Aguilera's crew.

That left Corey Kent White of Team Blake, Mia Z of Team Pharrell, and two members of Team Adam: Brian Johnson and Deanna Johnson. One would be safe, the other three would compete for the Twitter Instant Save.

I was hoping to hear either Mia Z or Deanna Johnson's name read, but no, the voters chose to save White. Of course they did. Though he had had a weak week, with a slippery grip on his pitch, he was a cute young guy and the only country singer left in the competition. He'd survive to sing another week.

The other three would sing right then to prove their top 10 worthiness. Mia Z crooned a bluesy "Stormy Monday." Williams appealed to the audience to "support different kinds of music" and save her, noting that she was only 16 and calling her "special" and "different."

Brian Johnson sang "Amazed," and my interest drifted, as it always does when he sings. Then Deanna Johnson sang a lovely "It Will Rain," bringing to it her usual arresting blend of strength, fragility and vanquished terror. Levine pleaded with viewers to vote for her, saying he wanted nothing more than "for her to experience the joy of people's belief in her."

The graphics at the bottom of our TV screens during the commercial break showed a close vote. Initially, Brian led, with Deanna nipping at his heels, and Mia Z, surprisingly, somewhat further behind. But by the time we got our last graphical glimpse of the race, the singers surnamed Johnson were tied with 35% of the vote. Mia Z had 30%.

Which would pull ahead at the end? After a reminder from Levine that they were all winners, we got our results: Deanna Johnson would stick around to sing and tremble and earn our admiration and sympathy another day.

Brian Johnson and Mia Z would head home. I am particularly unhappy to see Mia Z go. I'll miss her remarkable range, trademark tone, easy style and slinky delivery – not to mention her song choices well beyond her years. But she's only 16. Once this stormy Monday – er, Tuesday night – passes, she'll have plenty of sunnier days in which to sing ahead.