No matter who went home Tuesday night on "The Voice," it was going to feel like a loss. "There were six winners on that stage today," Adam Levine said before the final elimination was revealed, "and you should all be equally proud of what you've accomplished."
Levine might take comfort in his own words, of course, since it was his two remaining team members, Amanda Brown and Melanie Martinez, who were sent home.
It was sad to see the back of Martinez's two-toned hair, metaphorically speaking. The gap-toothed, cherry-lipped, baby-doll-clothed 17-year-old with her own quirky musical style had never stopped being interesting, even though vocally she was no match for her competitors.
But while I can't get Martinez's intriguingly imperfect take on Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" out of my head, it was clear after Monday night's performances that she had little hope of making it further in the competition. She herself humbly expressed her surprise that she'd made it as far as she had and thanked the fans who will undoubtedly embrace whatever music she chooses to put out now. Certainly, she has time ahead of her to make her musical dreams come true.
Brown's elimination, though, felt premature, especially after her results-show performance of "Let Me Love You" with Ne-Yo, which solidified the sense that she was a real pro, able to hold her own alongside an established star. Her voice was flexible and fluid and she was wonderful to watch lithely move around the stage. Brown's undoing was probably the fact that she sought to showcase her range, which, though impressive, may have confused voters unsure of where to categorize her.
Brown may have been worthy of the win, yet she's hardly the only one this season. Who would you have sacrificed in her stead? Not Nicholas David, the soulful original who stood with her in the end, as they awaited the final word.
"America tends to lean toward the unique on this show," Blake Shelton, whose team members, Terry McDermott and Cassadee Pope safely advanced, observed. "I wouldn't be surprised to see Nicholas move on."
At the end of the day, after the "astronomical" number of votes had been counted and iTune chart boosts had been factored in, David did move on and into the top 4, along with fellow Team CeeLo member Trevin Hunte and Team Blake's McDermott and Pope. With those four contenders remaining, it's really anyone's contest to win.
Next week's semifinals will be a hot one. Which singer do you think will be the last one standing?