As we head into the finals, two standout performers head home and one standout performer remains

By Adam Carlson
Updated April 14, 2015 at 10:22 PM EDT

The Voice

S4 E25
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Do y’all not like Amber? Sasha I get — she’s such a good singer, except that she has a not-good tendency to sing everything the same way (see also: Tucker, Holly; Bradbery, Danielle). But Amber? In this recapper’s humble opinion, she’s been the season’s most consistent performer, for reasons you can read here and here about, if not its biggest discovery (see also: Simmons, Sarah). But clearly I’m in the minority: Amber was eliminated tonight.

Let’s rewind. I have other questions for this week’s results hour, which consistently hammered home the theme that The Voice wants to make The Voice happen. And I like The Voice! It’s so fun! I do not really like all the old also-rans, who came back to sing variations on also-ran sounds. Do they all share a closet? They have such nice voices. Their songs are so bland. What are their names? Their names are Nicholas David, Tony Lucca, and Terry McDermott. McDermott was a runner-up last season even though his hair is Top 12, tops.

Who thinks what about Monday night’s performances? Blake says the Swon Brothers had their biggest night (true) and that Danielle will go to the finals (true); Shakira thinks Sasha “has progressed so much as an artist” (eh); Adam thinks that Amber killed it. Usher: “No one came with their B-game.” Carson: The Top 5 earned a record-breaking vote total and three artists were in the iTunes Top 10, earning vote multiples.

But before anyone can be saved, Fall Out Boy has to be announced, performing single “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” with Michelle. Well, it’s not really with Michelle. She mostly stands behind Patrick Stump’s elbow and makes energetic faces and sings backup vocals. Yeah yeah, the song — a middle-of-the-pack number from FOB’s latest album — isn’t super duet-able, and everyone does shake hands at the end, which is nice. But they spend three minutes not looking at each other, which isn’t. (A shot for uneven sound levels!)

Carson lies and says that we’re about to find out who America saved first, but first he has to check in with the coaches, who all really like their contestants. New information: Shakira is wearing a Kardashian ponytail (high and sleek) and Usher compares Michelle to medicine “for our country” (actual quote). Carson asks him if he’s surprised to have made it this far with Michelle, which is a) specific and b) weird. Usher isn’t! Then Carson asks Blake about “Amurica” and about how successful The Swons and Danielle are on iTunes this week. He’s clearly hoping Blake will be egotistic, waving his finger around like it’s made of gold. But he isn’t!

We’re one step closer to finding out who our first finalist is, but first…

NEXT: Nicholas and his scarf and his beard and his blazer

Season 3 finalist Nicholas David, beneath a ceiling of light bulbs, sings a song that I would normally love. Plus he’s wearing a scarf on top of a blazer with a beard. But really the song is totally indistinct: pleasing, but without the cutting melodic or lyrical clarity the folk-pop genre requires. Have you heard Jason Mraz lately? You have, in the mall. You just forgot.

The Voice confessionals are back. True story: When Samantha spoke with Carson Daly last week for a piece in EW’s upcoming issue, she asked him about the confessionals, which have been off-air lately. When are they coming back, Carson? She asked; Carson listened.

So Usher goes by “Ursher,” which is both weird and apparently Southern. (It’s not.) He also wears sunglasses, which Shakira then wears and is adorable. Adam’s tattoos are fake? Blake thinks so. But Blake also has a Santa-like laugh, so maybe he’s made of sugar and the power of imagination and doesn’t actually know anything about tattoos. Then The Swons dress like Shakira and (confession time) I laughed.

One last thing before America saves someone. What would winning mean to Sasha? The world, basically.

AMERICA SAVES: Michelle Chamuel

Post-commercial break, we’re immediately back in the Skybox with Christina and Michelle, who says that her brain is still processing the news that she’s safe. Believe it, Michelle. The reality-competition complex swallowed you up and spit you back out as one of the most-favorite performers on the most-watched singing show in America. Bonus: You can sing.

Season 2 runner-up Tony Lucca (sensing a pattern?) takes the stage to sing in front of a bunch of lights and street footage. He has a guitar and a hat, also. That’s all I can remember about his song. It’s available today, so someone else can tell me if it’s worth buying. (No really: Is it?) Conversely, former coach Adam likes Tony so much that they’re going on tour together and I like Adam so much because of things like this.

Now it’s time for the Top 5 to do their first-ever group performance (as a matter of semantics, of course it’s their first performance; there wasn’t a Top 5 before now). They sing “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” and the Swon Brothers feature heavily. It’s mostly The Swons, actually; the resulting tableaux — four women singing to two guys — is a bit of a head scratcher, not to mention the song itself tends to trick listeners into a false trance of nostalgia. I can’t hear you over Bret Michaels!

NEXT: Meet your Top 3

Before America saves its next finalist, Carson again has some questions about Danielle’s life as a teenage girl because she is a teenage girl. Like, what do her other 16-year-old friends think about her being simultaneously on The Voice and 16 years old? I hate horse cliches or I’d reference one right now. I think less of most 16-year-olds, so I’ll stop writing about them.

AMERICA SAVES: Danielle Bradbery

Last of our returning trio is season 3 runner-up Terry McDermott, who has the worst haircut I have ever seen on a man who doesn’t act like he has a really bad haircut. He’s singing about pictures while surrounded by actual pictures and apparently has an adorable son who is very far away. He used to be on Team Blake — which, as a rocker, makes him stick out from the current country crop, a point Carson drives home. Then there’s a commercial in which Terry’s new song sounds so much better.

Finally-finally, Carson stands with the remaining three (The Swons, Sasha, and Amber) and asks them each for their last words. But quickly, because the show only has a minute or two more before Howard Stern gets angry. Swons: Thank you, Blake! Sasha: Thank you, Shakira! Amber: Thank you, Adam!

AMERICA SAVES: The Swon Brothers

AMERICA ELIMINATES: Sasha Allen and Amber Carrington

It’s a painful but not altogether surprising double elimination. There’s just enough time for a round of goodbye hugs and for Adam and Shakira to grasp hands as the first performer-less coaches of the season.

Three thoughts: 1) Didn’t Carson spoil the suspense by earlier telling us Team Blake cracked the Top 10 on the iTunes Country charts, a sign of America’s favor? 2) Is Michelle secretly America’s favorite? And 3) Why vote for Danielle — or even The Swons, who had a strong night after an okay season — instead of Amber, who in continually new ways showed off her talents without undercutting them? I ask; I do not know.

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The Voice

A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.

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