It’s time for another elimination episode of “The Voice”, or, as I like to call it, the “Carson Daly Puts Hopefuls Through The Weekly Emotional Ringer” episode. Last week’s unintentional fake-out for Sylvia Yacoub might have been the most awkward moment of the season that didn’t involve the one-hit wonder Cupid, so let’s hope the producers of this show have coached Daly on how NOT to impart information tonight.
 
Two are going home tonight, and last night I predicted those two would be Dez Duron and Terry McDermott. Cassadee Pope and Melanie Martinez enter the episode both still charting in the iTunes Top 10, so mathematically they are all but shoo-ins to continue. (Nicholas David was there for a while, but isn’t there now, which means he’s not eligible for the voting bonus that entails.) We’ll see how this play out over the next hour. Let’s do this, running dairy style. It’s like gangnam style, only with more of a cultural shelf life. 
 
8:00 p.m. There were overruns all over the place last week, so let’s see how tight a ship producer can run tonight.
 
8:01 p.m. “The Muppets are here!” declares Daly. This will either make my 2012 or break it. There’s no in between.
 
8:02 p.m. Can we vote to eliminate last night’s overactive smoke machine? That would be my choice.
 
8:03 p.m. If Duron goes home tonight, will Christina Aguilera just stop saying things for the rest of the season? I’d love to think her exuberate defense of him last night was genuine, but it also felt like she was attempting to not be the coach of the first completely eliminated team.
 
8:04 p.m. Daly mentions that three artists ended in the iTunes Top 10, although a quick check only shows the aforementioned two. Maybe David snuck back in? “What’s Going On” sits at Number 14 as far as I can tell, but maybe there’s some lag time involved here.
 
8:05 p.m. Trevin Hunte and Amanda Brown take the stage to perform Lady Gaga’s “Marry The Night”. It’s a very different vibe from their “Vision Of Love” duet back in the Battle Rounds. While I appreciate variety, I also wouldn’t have minded seeing them perform another epic ballad. In any case, it’s always fun to see the two perform, even when they are singing a Lady Gaga song I had no idea existed until right now.
 
8:11 p.m. Daly calls Adam Levine out on his comment last night that Hunte and Pope could win the competition, leaving Adam to defend his word choice with his team members looking on. “Any of them could win it!” he explains, which isn’t exactly true. (I think five could: Hunte, Pope, Martinez, Brown, and David. The other three will all come up short.) Green thinks that making these contestants “whole” as artists is victory in and of itself. Aguilera says the show isn’t about the competition between the coaches, which is a true statement but also contradicts the show’s own marketing strategy. Shelton makes jokes about “peaking too soon”, which is mightily naughty for the 8 pm hour on broadcast television, you country scalawag.
 
8:15 p.m. After being asked by Daly about the importance of making it through this week, David says getting through will help justify the current time spent away from his family and help them further on down the line. “The Voice” still hasn’t figured out a clean way to separate from when Daly is telling a contestant he/she is saved, and when he’s about to ask him/her a question. That’s just lazy.
 
8:16 p.m. Elimination time! And we only get one name: Cassadee Pope. Oh god. They are going to trot these poor people out six times tonight? That feels unnecessarily awful.
 
8:21 p.m. We get footage of Team CeeLo, past and present, in Las Vegas with their coach. He’s invited them to perform on his Christmas special, and they aren’t alone: The Muppets will be there as well! At once point, Miss Piggy talks smack with Diego Val, so I can now cross THAT off my bucket list.
 
8:23 p.m. Back in studio, Muppets have taken over the coaches’ chairs, and it’s delightful. Even more delightful: Statler and Waldorf chillin’ out in the Social Media Thunderdome. I hope they stick around to mock hashtags.
 
8:24 p.m. Let’s just ignore whatever Green is wearing and just focus on Kermit The Frog singing “It’s Not Easy Being Green”. Normally, I’d be averse to such cross-marketing promotions, but come on: it’s The Muppets! I’m helpless. I’m enjoying it so much I don’t even recognize the pun in the title until Animal makes it afterwards.
 
8:25 p.m. I want a Muppet CeeLo for Christmas.
 
8:28 p.m. The latest “Voice Confessional” focuses on pre-show rituals. Pope “burps [her]self, but from the front”. (Bwa?) McDermott practices his Scottish accent. (Hee!) Green prays for the spirit of Christina Aguilera to enter him. (Erm.)
 
8:30 p.m. After a lifetimes of “no”s, Cody Belew understands that dreaming big means that rejection comes more often and more frequently. That felt like a leading question from Daly, no?
 
8:31 p.m. In tonight’s second save, we learn that Amanda Brown will move onto next week. If the iTunes results are as meaningful as we have been led to believe, Team Adam will stay intact heading into the final six.
 
8:36 p.m. Boo! Statler and Waldorf are long gone, leaving only Christina Milian to tell us what happening with all the tweets and pinning and poking and whatever else those crazy kids do on the interwebs.
 
8:37 p.m. “We’ve got a memorable group performance!” lies Carson Daly.
 
8:37 p.m. To be fair, this is actually an adorable number, with McDermott, David, Martinez, and Belew singing a stripped-down version of Plain White T’s “The Rhythm Of Love”. It’s as close as this show will ever get to “Unplugged”. Best of all? It seems like there’s genuine camaraderie between the four, a quality that’s been largely missing this season. The coach/contestant relationships have been strong, especially in the last few weeks. But when these four sing, “We may only have tonight,” it’s actually a little poignant. Go figure.
 
8:40 p.m. Oh good, now a segment with the Top 8 at Carson Daly’s radio show. We only have two of the six remaining contestants announced! Daly’s advice actually is sound, but I’m worried that we’re headed to another rushed ending for tonight’s show.
 
8:42 p.m. Now we’re back to eliminations. After a quick question directed to McDermott, Daly announces that Melanie Martinez will be moving on. She’s a force at this point in the show, gaining power and popularity with each week.
 
8:43 p.m. No Team CeeLo saves yet.
 
8:48 p.m. Pope and Duron hit the stage to perform Rihanna/Ne-Yo’s “I Hate How Much I Love You”. Pope knows that’s she safe, but poor Duron has to push his butterflies down to get through this number. It’s not a great showcase for either singer, but Duron fares better here than during his Bieber number last night.
 
8:49 p.m. It occurs to me we’ve barely heard from the coaches tonight, outside their initial summary statements. Hey, the more focus on the contestants themselves, the better.
 
8:50 p.m. Daly has finally learned to say, “Quick question!” before asking a remaining contestant an inquiry. Whew. WAS THAT SO HARD?
 
8:52 p.m. The fourth contestant saved tonight is Nicholas David. The Beard Lives On! We’ll get the final two saves during the last segment.
 
8:56 p.m. Alright, we’re down to the wire here. Each remaining coach gets a few “last words” with their team members before we hear the results.
 
8:58 p.m. The final two saved tonight are…Terry McDermott and Trevin Hunte, meaning Dez Duron and Cody Belew have been eliminated. I’m happy to have been wrong about McDermott. I just didn’t think his performance this week would sell him as well as it did.
 
Did the right two go home? Which of the remaining six is in the driver’s seat to win the competition? Sound off below!