America has spoken, whittling down the top 12 on this season of The Voice to 10 as two contestants were eliminated last night based on viewer votes.
With unencumbered voting finally in full swing, the coaches had no steals or saves to keep their pet projects in the race. So, Usher bid adieu to Vedo while Shakira was forced to part with Garrett Gardner.
Neither was a shocking loss. Nor was it surprising that both Adam Levine's and Blake Shelton's teams remained fully intact.
Seventeen-year-old screamer Garrett was an obvious choice for elimination after his awkward rendition of the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way" on Monday night. A combination of poor song choice by coach Shakira and a general lack of vocal chops did him in.
Round after round, Shakira head-scratchingly picked him to stick around over seemingly better choices. (Wonder if Knockout Round rival Karina Iglesias would have fared any better if she had stayed in the competition.) Shakira's explanation for keeping Garrett usually involved her having a "soft spot" for him or talking about how "charismatic" he was. What she probably really thought was that tween girls would take one look into his eyes, fall in love with his curly mop top and off-centered lip piercing, and vote their little hearts out. But that clearly didn’t happen.
Same goes for Usher's Vedo, whose unrelenting sob story – constantly hammered into our heads week after week, including last night when host Carson Daly brought it up not long before revealing the results – didn’t turn into votes the way both Usher and the producers surely thought it would.
Is it sad his mother died of cancer at the very beginning of the competition? Of course. We're not cold-hearted. But we didn't need to be reminded of it at every turn, making it seem like Usher picked Vedo based on the "appeal" of his story rather than on his vocal and performance skills. Apparently America, too, saw through the charade and had had enough. And for that we say thanks. (Usher, on the other hand, sucked his teeth and rolled his eyes when he saw the writing on the wall.)
Rounding out the bottom four – though it wasn't clear whether the others were based on viewer votes or in no particular order – were Team Shakira's Sasha Allen and Team Blake's Holly Tucker, both of whom were deemed safe.
Maybe the biggest surprise of the night, though, was that robotic male model Josiah Hawley was also safe. Vocally, his rendition of the Script's "The Man That Can't Be Moved" was good, but his movements came across as calculated and fake – a well-timed wink, his perfectly coiffed hair, even the way he held his guitar to show off his subtly-defined biceps. Still, there's plenty of time to trim the rest of the fat, and we have faith America will eventually do the right thing.
Livening up the night were performances by Team Adam, Team Blake, Lady Antebellum and Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I.
Previously: Top 12 Perform Live