The somewhat controversial Twitter instant save returned for a second season, but with an added feature: The artists in the bottom three would have one last chance to save themselves by performing another song, just before another online vote.
The show kicked off calmly, as host Carson Daly revealed the names of the contestants who were moving on to next week, coach Shakira performed a single off her new CD, and coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton performed with their teams.
But things got interesting about two-thirds of the way through the hour-long show when it was revealed all of Levine and Shelton’s artists were saved – what is their recipe for success? – leaving Team Usher and Team Shakira vulnerable for elimination.
Ultimately, TJ Wilkins of Team Usher and Tess Boyer and Dani Moz of Team Shakira found themselves in the bottom three and forced to perform again. Despite the high stakes, all three rose to the occasion, overcoming their nerves to earn accolades from the coaches.
“In our darkest hour we pull up. That was incredible,” Usher told Boyer, a pre-law student/former NFL cheerleader after she dug deep while performing “Dark Side.” “I’m rooting for you.”
Yet he was rooting even harder for teammate Wilkins, a young soul singer who managed to smile while belting out “I’ll Be.”
Moz, a former public relations executive, also shined while performing “Turning Tables,” and looked considerably more poised than her coach Shakira, who admitted devastation after seeing two of her three artists in the bottom three.
“It killed me to see you standing there knowing what a hard worker you are,” she said.
After the three performances, fans were given the word from Daly to start voting on Twitter. However, the new voting format clearly baffled many fans, who started voting too early. The new system even confused coach Usher, who at one point incorrectly instructed fans watching the show to vote for Wilkins before the voting window had opened.
“I am talking with America right now, and all I have to say is ‘hashtag SaveTJ’ ‘hashtag VoiceSave’ He’s doing his part, I’m doing mine,” Usher said.
“Well, let’s make sure you’re doing your part accurately,” the typically relaxed Daly chided.
The pressure mounted during the commercial break as the changing vote tally appeared onscreen beneath the ads.
That meant it was no surprise to viewers when Daly announced the winner of the instant save: Boyer of Team Shakira. However, it was clearly a shock to the diminutive singer, who fell to her knees in shock and relief.
The Voice live shows continue on Monday (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.