We’ll assume your hands are up. Because, really, who would have predicted some of the people who made it through? But it wasn’t America who made the head-scratching picks on the first viewer-voted eliminations of the season – it was the coaches.
First, the legal mumbo jumbo: In order to pare down the top 20 to 12, two contestants from each team were eliminated. Here’s how: The top two vote-getters from each team automatically advanced to next week. Then, each coach could save one of his or her three remaining artists. Now, sign on the dotted line and let’s move on.
On Blake Shelton‘s team, America saved his two bearded singer-songwriters: Cole Vosbury and Austin Jenckes. No real controversy there. But what came out of nowhere was Blake picking the take-him-or-leave-him Ray Boudreaux over country girl Shelbie Z. (or even jitterbug Nic Hawk, for that matter). “The only thing I can really do is make a call based on my gut and pick the person that I think I can effect change with the most,” Blake said before making his surprising choice. Now he’s left with an all-male team and not a single true-blue country singer – though we’re sure he’ll try to turn at least one of them to the dark side.
But Blake’s choice wasn’t nearly as shocking as what happened over on Cee Lo Green‘s team. While America deservedly deemed wispy-voiced Caroline Pennell safe, they also gave nasally one-tone wonder Jonny Gray a free pass, probably because he’s a likeable Iraq war vet. But Jonny’s not the problem here. The problem is that Cee Lo chose rub-you-the-wrong-way rocker Kat Robichaud over Amber Nicole and Tamara Chauniece. Like, seriously? He now officially has the worst team, with Caroline being the lone exception. If he was looking for a polarizing contestant, he’ll probably get more than he bargained for in Kat.
Meanwhile, Christina Aguilera made just as questionable a pick – although America did a much better job at locking in her top two: Jacquie Lee and Matthew Schuler. So why on earth she padded her team with hit-or-miss singer Josh Logan – who practically butchered Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” on Tuesday night – over Stephanie Anne Johnson and Olivia Henken is anyone’s guess. The only clue she offered was saying, “I have to go where my heart is invested now and where I’m interested in going.” Perhaps there’s something she’s not telling us?
Of course, Adam Levine had the least shocking pick yet desperately tried to jump on the WTF bandwagon by saying, “This may be surprising,” before selecting Will Champlin to stick around over Grey and Preston Pohl. As for America, they helped beef up his team by choosing James Wolpert and Tessanne Chin, giving him the only truly predictable team of the bunch.
With that, it looks like Team Adam and Team Christina are the ones to beat. And with eight of the 12 contestants being male, odds are that the winner will be a guy for the first time since Season Two. But don’t count the ladies out just yet – because, as we saw when Cassadee Pope vaulted over several men to take the crown in Season Three, anything can happen.
Previous recap: Christina Aguilera’s Team Soars