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'The Voice' Season 8 Recap & Review: Top 5 Revealed, Kimberly Nichole Exits and Alumni Come Back

by Carolyn Menyes   May 6, 2015 11:37 AM EDT

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The Voice doesn't necessarily have the best track record for making superstars out of its former contestants, so why the show decided to bring back alumni Jacquie Lee, Vicci Martinez, Avery Wilson and Craig Wayne Boyd to parade their great successes is a mystery - especially when season seven winner Boyd was just dropped from his label Big Machine Records just five months after being crowned the show's winner.

But, the parade of self-indulgence chugged along with season five runner-up Lee coming to The Voice after touring (and making friends) with Sean Mendes with her Sia-penned single "Tears Fall." She's a stunningly strong singer, especially for 17 years old, and could easily give hope that something can happen from this show to fellow youngsters Sawyer Fredericks and Koryn Hawthorne.

Wilson, who was sent home in the knockout rounds by CeeLo Green in season three, launched his new single "If I Have To," a stunning R&B song with a big backing from Clive Davis.

The parade of alumni continued with season one's Martinez, who rocked the show with the sizzling electro-indie track "Bad News Breaker." She's an independent artist now, producing her own music and exercising that spirit - and it's totally engaging.

The final Voice alum to take the stage is the show's most recent winner Boyd, who brought his show-inspired single "I'm Still Here" to the stage. The song, which focuses on the struggles of the music industry may hit a little too close to home.

Among all the big performances from alumni, it was easy to forget that, yeah, this was an elimination night. (But, hey, you have to fill an hour of show time somehow, right?)

How did it all play out for the top five contestants?

Team Pharrell:

Team Pharrell has a real superstar and potential winner in Sawyer Fredericks, who stunned on Monday night (May 4) with his double performances of the soothing "Shine On" and the first real uptempo track from him "Take Me to the River." He was always a sure thing for the top five, so of course he was the first one called to safety this week.

Semi-finalist status was also granted to Koryn Hawthorne, who sort of floated in the middle this week but was more than passable. She has real talent in her, so hopefully she can continue to break out to make it to the finale.

Team Blake:

Team Blake's lone contestant Meghan Linsey got a pass into the finale, getting called second thanks to her tender performance of "Amazing Grace," which showed some true vulnerability.

Team Adam:

Joshua Davis was incredibly inconsistent on Monday, flubbing his U2 cover "Desire" while absolutely nailing the Beatles' "In My Life." After narrowly avoiding elimination a few weeks ago, Joshua was once again deemed safe.

Team Christina:

Team XTina was in for a loss no matter what this week, with India Carney playing for the Twitter save for the second week in a row versus teammate Kimberly Nichole. Both woman have felt like frontrunners this season and have proven their powerhouse capabilities, so this was going to feel like a major loss no matter what.

India played for the save first, singing the standard competition song "Perfect" by P!nk. (Really, between American Idol and The Voice, how many times will I have to hear this song performed this year?) The boring song choice was pretty reflective of where India has been in recent weeks, omitting passion in turn for technical perfection. But, she didn't even achieve that with some sour notes at the top of the chorus, when she really should have been trying to shine.

Meanwhile, Kimberly went for a crazy choice, giving The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" a shot. While not the most accessible choice, Kimberly gave this song a creeping, soulful makeover while decorating the notes with just the right amount of runs and flairs.

In a choice between the ~other~ and the standard, well, America went for the more comfortable choice, eliminating Kimberly and eliminating one of the more interesting people to pass through The Voice in years.

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