By Carson Daly
May 01, 2012 at 06:08 PM EDT
Lewis Jacobs/NBC
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It really feels like we’ve got an elite eight, and now we go down to the final four tonight. We saw a lot of emotions last night from everybody! Emotions on a lot of levels: everything from Erin Willett, who really broke down after her song, to Cee Lo, who was very emotional during Chris Mann’s opera performance and certainly during Juliet Simms’. Everybody’s realizing that there’s only one more week left on season two of The Voice, and we have come so far. I think it’s starting to dawn on a lot of people, and it’s very, very emotional. This does not feel like a TV show to us; this feels like a family, and the family’s been through a lot. A lot of good things, but there’s a sense of the finality of it all, and I think people last night were really emotional because of it. By and large, 90% of last night was a shared experience where all the coaches really got to just enjoy these elite 8 and the battle lines were a little less drawn.

I think Tony Lucca’s Britney Spears song last week worked well for him. It got him America’s save, people responded to it, and it was a gutsy decision, and ever since Christina called him one-dimensional, making gutsy decisions has been the thing that’s really worked well for Tony Lucca. After his performance last night of “How You Like Me Now?,” a girl I work with this morning said that was the first time she saw Tony as a leading man. He was dashing, he was dancing, he had so much soul. He looked like an all around performer, and it paid off! It had a ton of energy, another excellent call by Coach Adam, and I think it’s going to pay off for him. We’ll see if he wins tonight! If he’s in the finals for Team Adam, it’ll be interesting to see what his final song is, because the last couple have been left of center.

The voting tonight is going to be a combination of what the coaches’ scores were last night, equally combined with America’s vote. So it depends on strategy. If Adam really wants to make sure one or the other gets through, he can tip that scale, and he has that right to do it. It’s equally weighted with America, but if he gives Tony 100 points and Katrina Parker 0 points, even if America favored Katrina, it could still tip the scale. I think it’s a close race, and I think they’re very different. Next to Juliet Simms, Katrina has the most amount of mojo going. People are falling in love with her every time she hits the stage. I think she is definitely one of the most transformed contestants since day one. She’s blossomed on air. I also loved her moment with her parents! All of the family storytelling last night was really special.

Erin never overtly talks about losing her father during the shooting of the show, but she really broke down at the end of her performance and never really said it, but alluded to it, that the lyrics to “Without You,” were inspiration from and dedicated to her father. Blake got emotional and gave her that nod of approval. He lost his father right about the same time, so that’s a bond that they have, and that all came to fruition last night. As sad as it is, it makes for a dynamic story and is certainly a reflection of something very real and genuine. If Jermaine Paul should go on and get America’s vote and be the finalist for Team Blake, Erin Willett left it all out on the court last night.

Chris Mann, I think everybody unanimously agreed, came full circle. It was his opera voice that pushed multiple buttons for him. During the battle rounds, Christina did a little experimenting with him, having him sing Coldplay. But she ultimately brought him back singing “Ave Maria,” putting him back in the genre, and it paid off huge. This guy could win The Voice and go open up the Met. I think it was really smart putting him back in his lane, if you will, of opera singing.

NEXT: Lindsey Pavao, Jamar Rogers and Juliet Simms

Lewis Jacobs/NBC

Lindsey Pavao’s got this thing with America. I loved her song selection, that Bon Iver song “Skinny Love.” She continues to boldly put her Lindseyness on everything that she sings, which really seems to strike a chord with people. She’s got star quality. When I’m watching her, she’s almost like this alternative Katy Perry. She looks like a star. Lindsey and Chris are going to make for an interesting match up tonight as well.

Every sports team looks down their schedule for their rivalry game – for the Yankees, it’s finding the Red Sox – so we look down the calendar to see when Jamar Rogers was going to have to go up against Juliet Simms, and one of them was going to have to go home. That night is tonight. We’re going to have an answer tonight. We’ve had it earmarked for a while, and after last night’s performances, it’s completely up in the air.

Juliet’s performance, next to Justin Bieber walking out on the stage, was the loudest the studio has ever been. When we were nearing the end of the show and time was of the essence, I physically couldn’t move the show along. The producers in my ear didn’t realize that the house was on their feet standing and would not let us move on, because they wanted Juliet to know just how much they loved her version of “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World.” It was one of the moments that you just can’t control. It might have been the moment of the entire season.

I don’t know what America’s going to do, though! Jamar has always gotten a huge amount of votes, and he did that song very currently and, man, what a voice. That went over really well, too. It’s going to be a tough one tonight, and it’ll be interesting to see how Cee Lo plays it. Did he pick a favorite? Does he want to tip the scale? And what did America think last night? Did Juliet edge out Jamar? Did Jamar’s fans come to life more? It’s all going to be unveiled tonight.

The elite eight is an excellent, excellent place to be on The Voice, but the final four is another level. Tonight, we’ve got our final four from last year performing on the show. There’s a status that comes with being in the final four that you never lose. You’ll always be a final four member. These are the four artists whose careers, most likely, will flourish and could potentially blossom into huge superstars. As nice as it is to be in the elite eight, this next jump is the biggest. There’s so much potential for diversity: you could have an opera singer, an alternative singer, a really strong powerhouse, and a rocker chick. I don’t know how it’s going to shake out.

But rounding up everything last night – the performances, the interactions, the family stories – this is why we love The Voice. This is why we like this show better than any other singing competition show, because those eight performances last night were solid performances. I walked off the set last night, grabbed my Blackberry and tweeted, all caps, “I LOVE THIS SHOW.” I don’t care about ratings, I don’t care about networks, I don’t care about anything other than how proud I was of everyone on the show. Everybody wants to have a sense of pride in what they do for a living—I think we all have that fantasy—and last night’s show was a good example for all of the coaches, and certainly for me. That’s something I was really proud of. That was a calling card show. It’s not even a ratings thing. I’m the host of the Voice, and I’m proud to be it. That’s what I felt last night.

Follow @carsonjdaly on Twitter!

(As told to Marc Snetiker)

Read more:

Carson Daly blogs ‘The Voice’ live shows, week 4: Smooth sailing

Carson Daly blogs ‘The Voice’ live shows, week 3: Shock to the system!

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