The last night of individual eliminations before next week’s Semi-Finals featured few surprises and one tragic performance. But, just to be clear, this entire episode belonged to Sia.
The Voice saves the Wigged One’s song for later in the evening, and opens instead with a live performance of “Locked Away” by R. City featuring Adam Levine. The fact that Carson never mentioned R. City was showing up this evening but that we were presented with a whole pre-taped package to announced Ellie Goulding’s appearance next week tells us a lot about who NBC thinks watches this show. Which is a shame because, as I learned tonight, the two guys in R. City are a blast. Their vocals may not be the stuff of reality-show champions, but these bros are having a ball on stage. Even more enjoyable to watch are Adam’s awkward attempts at dancing. He literally flees to the back of the stage whenever the guys’ parts come up, then kind of sways silently, hoping the camera never veers in his direction. I even catch him doing a “cha-ching” motion, for reasons that remain unclear to me.
After her coach returns to his seat, Carson asks Amy Vachal what it’s like to work with her team behind the scenes. Amy tells him that the members of Team Adam are all connected by their faith and their thankfulness to God, and that they know God has a plan for all of them for the rest of their lives. This is definitely the most openly religious season of The Voice I can remember. It’s not an element that appeals to me personally, but it is interesting and rare on television to see such avowed religious fervor. It’s also a reminder that such unguarded displays of spirituality are routine in much of the country.
Then, Carson reveals that this season’s singers made history last night: seven of the 10 performances charted in the iTunes Top 10. (The three also-rans are Zach Seabaugh, Korin Bukowski, and Braiden Sunshine.) The first two contestants to be saved tonight are announced: Emily Ann Roberts and Jordan Smith (who made it all the way to No. 2 on iTunes, trailing only Adele) are moving on.
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The next four saves come in quick succession. Jeffery Austin, Barrett Baber, Madi Davis, and Amy Vachal are all sticking around for the Semi-Finals. I was never concerned about Madi’s place in the Top Nine, but it’s a relief nevertheless to see Team Pharrell still has a dog in this fight.
But then, all other thoughts vacate my mind because it is time for Sia to perform. I know Sia books big platforms like SNL and late-night talk shows, but it’s still incredible to me that this über-talented art freak gets to perform on a prime-time reality show. She shows up to sing “Alive” wearing a Cruella de Vil wig with bangs down to her lips, topped off by a black bow that’s wider than her head. It’s completely awesome. Her ragged, pained voice is a shot of euphoria after weeks of Voice amateurs. Sia’s presence even inspires a sense of humor in Carson: He tells her, “You look lovely.” I assume she’s pleased at the compliment, but I don’t know for sure because we can’t see her face.
NEXT: Is the third time the charm?