The Voice, buoyed with a performance from national treasure Dolly Parton on Tuesday, released two of its top ten contestants back into the wild and the results were somewhat shocking: Austin Allsup and Courtney Harrell, both on Team Blake Shelton, went home. That meant Aaron Gibson of Team Miley Cyrus is still in the game.
Of course, we predicted not long ago Aaron would be on the way out; he's been a bit monotonous in the past, and he's spent more than one week in the bottom. But he's redeemed himself as of late, turning things around last week with a splendid rendition of "Budapest," sounding like a new man -- or at least, a man with a broadened range -- and then maintaining improvement with Monday's Dave Matthews Band-inspired "Rocket Man."
It's not surprising Courtney said goodbye. She's managed to survive a few rounds of near-elimination and her "If I Could Turn Back Time" Monday started off a little shrill and shaky. As she's shown a number of times, her notes seem to lack polish and smoothness and though she typically redeems it at the end, that last minute Hail Mary wail clearly wasn't enough to sustain her.
What was a little surprising though, was the dismissal of Austin. In a competition with three strong country stars (including Sundance, one of our Voice baes, obvs, and Josh Gallagher), Austin is '70s style, variety-show meat in the country bun between Sundance (classic crooner) and Josh (totally modern). (Wow, sorry about that metaphor.) His totally reliable "Missing You" Monday illustrated how some of this comes down to style and -- ugh -- image, and here's where Austin sizzles. I mean, his name screams country, no? He's also got a strong, consistent and dependable voice -- he's easily the most packaged of the country bunch, if not the total crop. But then, we knew this already; he came into this already a professional. When you get down to it, he hasn't stretched much as an artist this season and that may have been one of the main reasons he's no longer on the show.
Did you think Austin and Courtney deserved their eliminations?
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC.