We've moved from violence analogies to just sports analogies, as we begin the live playoffs. Playoffs? What are they playing? Carson Daly, who needs a haircut, says this is the week we've all been waiting for. New outfits!
Usher has gone from wearing all black to all grey, but has his foot up on his chair so we still know it's him. None of the coaches are dressed crazy this season, and we don't even have any themed props to look forward to. At least the two best teams perform tonight: Team Usher and Team Adam vie for spots in the Top 12 in this first "playoff" episode.
Each coach's best three will go on to the Top 12. America chooses two, and the coach saves one. Adam's power trip isn't over quite yet. Carson recaps what will happen this week, then asks Usher what his team has done to prepare. Usher tells Carson that, "teamwork makes the dream work." Good answer, good answer.
Adam tells Carson he has four incredible female talents and couldn't be happier or more inspired. Blake says someone, maybe two people, will have a "breakout moment." It happens every season, and Blake is consistently amazed. Then, Carson takes a weird beat to tell us that the performances will be "stripped down" tonight "so you at home can focus on what matters on this show." Segue to hype of Adam and Usher's first ever performance together.
I can't handle how stupid this next part is. Usher has his team meet him at a kickboxing studio, dressed identically with big, clowny red Usher shoes on. Usher tells his team that a lot of work goes into being a great performer, and that they need to be ready to knock out the competition (each other?). The contestants are at home in a boxing ring, since that's the façade they generally sing in, but not doing endurance drills. Usher loves working out. It's not going to make "Black and Gold" a better group song.
Team Usher performs first with "Black and Gold" by Sam Sparro. I don't see how this is stripped down, but it doesn't really matter. Cathia doesn't blend well, and the song doesn't lend itself to harmony. It really only suits Vedo. Finally, the performance ends and Team Usher can change out of their black and gold outfits.
Seriously, something looks weird with Carson's hair. Or his forehead grew? I don't know. The first solo performance is Amber Carrington from Team Adam. She is grateful to Adam for choosing her, which Adam likes. Then, Amber chooses "Stay" by Rihanna for her song. Have we seen a Rihanna song work on this show yet? This song choice might not help Amber stay on this show. Get it? See what I did there? Take some notes, Carson.