The Voice's slow crawl to the finale continued this week as the top nine were revealed. With a few performances from Adam Levine and friend of The Voice Sia helping to fill in this hour, the results weren't especially surprising on any level.
The show had some unprecedented success this week. Seven of the top 10 performers landed in the top 10 on iTunes, with Jordan Smith leading the pack at No. 2 with his cover of "Hallelujah." The three that didn't land in the top 10? Zach Seabaugh, Korin Bukowski and Braiden Sunshine. Things were not looking great for Team Gwen.
The first artist saved came from Team Blake: Emily Ann Roberts. Her old school of "She's Got You" hit just the right notes Monday night, and that successful performance, a No. 5 spot on the iTunes chart and a ravenous pack of fans made her an easy pass for the top nine. The other early save was another obvious pick, this season's frontrunner, Jordan Smith, of Team Adam was safe. In The Voice's bizarre elimination pattern, these solid singers were easy passes.
Despite what looked like trouble for Team Gwen's Korin and Braiden, her one reliable singer pulled through with an early save: Jeffery Austin. His performance of Labyrinth's "Jealous" could have been risky for its relative obscurity and his horrible timeslot as the first singer to go, but his flawless execution pulled him through easily to the top nine.
The fourth pick went to Gwen's boyfriend, Team Blake, and Barrett Baber moved on to the next round. Like his teammate Emily Ann, his throwback performance of "I'd Just Love to Lay You Down" hit all the right notes with that ever-strong country music voting block of Voice viewers.
Save number five was also an easy pick: Team Pharrell's lone player Madi Davis. She absolutely flawless rendition of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," and that unique cover helped her reach No. 4 on iTunes and a spot in the top nine. Personalized arrangements of pop songs helped Amy Vachal move on into the top nine as well, which was once again no real surprise.
So, the bottom four was pretty predictable: Shelby Brown, Korin Bukowski, Bradien Sunshine and Zach Seabaugh, a batch that has had mixed performances and may or may not have solid fanbases. Zach was saved, thanks to his gyrating hips and that #teen vote, even though he didn't sell all that well. Please, though, no more Elvis impressions. Do your own thing, man. The final saved singer? Shelby Brown, who lacks solid fanbase but gained some temporary love with her emotional rendition of "Go Rest High on the Mountain."
So, the bottom two was all Team Gwen: Braiden (FINALLY!) and Korin (AGAIN!).
Korin decided to go for "Try" by Colbie Caillat, and maybe she's just sick of singing for the save or maybe the nerves got the best of her, but she seemingly handed this Twitter save over to Braiden, stumbling throughout the entire song and forgetting a solid portion of the lyrics. She had a nice tone and the emotions down fairly well, but she just seemed to have given up. You could see it written all over her face. No sugarcoating from the coaches could bring her back up. The defeat was heartbreaking.
If you wanted something totally opposite of Korin's vulnerability, you had Braiden Sunshine, who went for a Team Adam tap-in by performing Maroon 5's "Harder to Breathe." The strategy of pandering to Adam's fans worked well for Korin last week and it seemed like it would pull through for Braiden now. His vocals were... fine. They were definitely an improvement from his performance on Monday night, but he's just a 15-year-old kid. He had fun with it, and it felt like if this were his last night on stage, he was going to go out with a bang.
And after singing for the save for the third week in a row and faltering at it for the first time, it was Korin's time to go. Braiden's pep got him through to the semi-finals.