Oh, America. You brutal, merciless fool.
When it comes to "The Voice," you messed up, America. True, you cut someone who reached her peak weeks ago, but you also eliminated the twee princess who wrapped herself so tightly around our hearts.
I'm not even going to beat around the bush here -- I'll leave the suspense and ratings-pandering to Carson Daly.
Last night, America voted off Amanda Brown and Melanie Martinez.
This means two things: One, that like Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine is now wholly out of the competition as well, and two, that America doesn't know a good thing if it beats them over the head with a tambourine, guitar and Cruella De Vil hairstyle.
And so we soldier on.
Things kicked off with the not-surprising-at-all announcement from Carson Daly that, once more, there was a RECORD-BREAKING response from voters. "Astronomical," he called it. Four of the top six contestants had at least one song make the iTunes Top 10 (Cassadee Pope, of course, made the Top 10 with both of her songs).
This was the first indication something was amiss: neither Amanda Brown nor Melanie Martinez had songs that cracked the iTunes chart, which means they missed out on whatever magical logarithm that turns iTunes votes into liquid gold.
So this is how things break down:
Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton are the only coaches left in the competition, with Trevin Hunte, Nicholas David, Terry McDermott and Cassadee Pope as the four semi-finalists.
Oh, yes, I said "semi-finalists." Truly, this is a remarkable effort to expand the season through three months and into the apocalypse. In past seasons, Trevin, Nicholas, Terry and Cassadee would just be considered finalists, and the winner would be chosen from those four the following week.
Not this time -- we still have two weeks until the finale, which I can only assume means that only two will move on to be actual finalists. This just seems gratuitous, NBC, I'm sorry.
What will happen:
Finalists -- Cassadee and Trevin.
What should happen:
Finalists -- Nicholas and Terry
Oh, you want to hear about Tuesday's show, too?
Ne-Yo performed "Let Me Love You," which I guess what great, because there was a lot of smoke cannons and dancing. The real highlight was when Amanda Brown strutted her way on stage -- more dancers in tow. She just look so excited to be on the stage with him, and the two had great chemistry.
Rob Thomas also returned (after helping Cee Lo coach his team earlier this year) to remind everyone that Matchbox 20 still exists. Their song, "Overjoyed," was like a less-cool "3 a.m." but it was cool to see Nicholas and Trevin take the stage. It was outside of both's wheelhouse, and though Nicholas -- that amazing musical chameleon -- stole the show, it was still a nice change of pace for the two of them.
Here's a thought when it comes to guest performances: Let's just have Cee Lo sing with the Muppets every night, forever and ever, amen. That's the variety show America deserves. NBC, get on that.
Terry McDermott and Trevin Hunte had a pleasant duet with One Republic's "Feel Again," which was an odd mix, style-wise, but it worked.
Amanda Brown and Cassadee Pope also took on Kelly Clarkson's "Break Away," and Cassadee again looked so disconnected from what she was singing, my eyes glazed over for a few minutes.
"Well, that's nice," Carson noted indifferently, and I burst out laughing because for the first time, Carson Daly gave voice to my inner diatribe.
Nicholas and Melanie had, hands down, the most beautiful performance of the night with Fiona Apple's "Criminal." Maybe it's just that this song slays me, or that I love Nicholas and Melanie oh-so-much, but this was so haunting and sultry, I even forgave myself for agreeing with Christina.
Monday night, Christina told Melanie she should be singing some Fiona Apple, and then, in true Christina fashion (because she needs all of the attention all of the time, always), began singing "Criminal." What have we learned? Christina is the puppeteer and we are all just the puppets. And in this case, I am thankful.
Adam and Cee Lo now have matching, weirdo goatees, and is anyone else getting sick of Christina's wigs?
Thank you, Carson, for finally addressing a major issue I have with you: Instead of freaking the hell out of contestants during eliminations by saying their names, when he really only means to ask them questions, he specifically said "Don't freak out when I say your name." Everyone's blood pressure thanks you and your lack of subtlety, Carson.
Again, we had the Voice Confessionals, and this week was all the contestants (and coaches) did their best impressions of the coaches. Highlights included the Cee Lo impressions, which mostly involved wigs and glasses (and a bubble-wrap poncho on Melanie), and Amanda Brown saying "that was like sliding down a rainbow into a pot of dreams."