One artist was eliminated on The Voice tonight, with the top nine contestants advancing to next week's live semifinals. Eight of those semifinalists automatically advanced, and one was selected by the audience instant Twitter save. Seven of the artists broke into the iTunes top 10 this week.
Adam Levine kicked off the night with a performance of "Locked Away" with R. City. Then it was time for the first round of results. America voted to save Blake Shelton's young bluegrass singer Emily Ann Roberts and Team Adam's Jordan Smith. Roberts and Smith both had very strong performances last night -- as did just about everyone. Smith's performance of "Hallelujah" was particularly a knockout, solidifying Smith as the most versatile artist in the competition. It's hard to envision a finale without him in it.
In the next round of results, Carson Daly announced that Gwen Stefani's Jeffery Austin and Team Blake's Barrett Baber are automatically advancing to the semifinals. Austin set the bar very high last night as the first performer, and Baber closed out the night with an equally moving and technically sound performance.
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Daly asked the youngest artist in the competition, Braiden Sunshine, what it means to him to be here, and Sunshine replied that he never thought he would make it to this stage. "I thought it was a waste of gas money to go to the audition," Sunshine joked. "I'm forever grateful," he added.
America also voted to save Team Pharrell's Madi Davis and Team Adam's Amy Vachal. Davis is the last remaining artist on Pharrell's team and his only hope at winning it all, but she definitely has what it takes to be crowned the champion when season nine concludes. And Vachal's streak of impressively original performances also makes her a strong contender for this season's finale.
After Sia gave an enthralling performance of her newest single "Alive," Daly returned to the results. America voted to save Team Blake's Zach Seabaugh, which meant all of Shelton's remaining artists automatically advanced to the semifinals. America also saved Team Adam's Shelby Brown, whose emotional performance of "Go Rest High on That Mountain" by Vince Gill last night was her best performance of the season.
For the very first time, Sunshine found himself in the bottom two, and for the third time in a row, Korin Bukowski joined him in having to sing for the instant audience save. The veteran went first. Bukowski sang "Try" by Colbie Caillat an unfortunately forgot some of her lyrics toward the beginning of the song, and even though she covered it pretty well, it must have messed with her confidence, because Bukowski forgot her lyrics again and even stopped singing for a moment.
The performance definitely wasn't representative of her talents as an artist. But it also just doesn't make sense that Bukowski has found herself in this position yet again, especially after her performance last night which really felt like a turning point for the artist. The coaches encouraged her to keep her head up despite the mistakes. "You deserve to be in this competition," Shelton said. "That girl right there is deep," Stefani said, urging viewers to understand that the mistakes came from a place of emotional honesty.
Sunshine exploded out onto the stage next with his performance of "Harder To Breathe" by Maroon 5. He had an incredible strong start, but the pressure started to get to him, too. He also forgot some of his lyrics but kept plowing through and managed to nail the ending. Levine, naturally, was a fan of the song choice. But the coaches unanimously praised the performance.
While waiting for the results to come in, Stefani got emotional about having to lose one of her artists. Ultimately, America instantly saved Sunshine, and the vote finally didn't go Bukowski's way. What did you think of tonight's results?
This article originally appeared in THR.com.
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