Lewis Jacobs/NBC
Carson Daly
April 24, 2012 AT 03:09 PM EDT

The coaches really got it right this time. There was so much shock and awe last week — so much controversy over Jesse Campbell going home as well as RaeLynn and Jordis — that people may have been thinking, What’s going on? But it felt like there weren’t any surprises last night, which is a good thing for the show and has a stabling effect.

In regards to the beginning of the show, with Cee Lo and Christina and everyone laughing… all I can say is that it’s live TV, and it’s unexpected! The coaches all had the giggles, and I tried not to be sucked into that, but you have to just go with it, try to get beyond the moment, and wrangle those coaches in. We all can have a laugh for a second, but you can’t live in that moment, and the difficult part is pulling those coaches out, especially when they’re that giggly.

That aside, I’m proud to be captain of the ship, I really am. I’m so proud of the show, and last night reaffirmed how willingly I would take this show into a street fight with other singing competition shows. We’ve weathered some storms in the past, but I’m proud of our performances, of our level of talent, of our staging — it looked like awards-show caliber, and I am so impressed at what we do in two hours live. It’s just remarkable.

The show settled in really nicely. It was bookended by Jamar Rogers and Juliet Simms, I think for a reason, because those were two standout performances. Behind the scenes, we were a little unsure of Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” for Jamar. We all look at Jamar as a real talent and a threat, but I think there was a little bit of a question mark to the song, on paper. And yet, when you saw him perform last night, he made it his own and told his story. He sang it like this is his life, and it is his time, and it became a great case of an excellent song choice by Cee Lo because it just worked. Jamar can sing the phonebook, it doesn’t matter. He hasn’t even shown us his best yet! Cee Lo sees him as a rock star, and he is, but if he’s saving a power ballad for the end, he’s going to blow people away.

I think you’re seeing a little bit of a power shift — and it’s not a knock — between Mathai and Katrina Parker. They’re both good examples of the evolution of this show, and maybe it’s like trending topics — they go up and they go down. Katrina, after doing that Christina Perri song, recaptured a lot of people’s hearts, and like Adam said, she’s a real force to be reckoned with now. I think it’s going to be very interesting to see how it all goes down on Team Adam tonight. Before, if it was down to Tony Lucca, Katrina, and Mathai, I would have said for sure that Mathai was Adam’s ace in the hole, or that Tony and Mathai were his two to take to the finals. And now, I don’t know! If Tony and Adam’s gamble paid off, and America thought that the Britney Spears moment was the moment and they vote to save Tony, then that means Katrina and Mathai are both going to sing for their lives tonight, and I just don’t know who Adam is going to save. Last week, I would have bet my life it was Mathai. Tonight, I have no idea!

James Massone is a great kid. Cee Lo created this ladykiller thing for him, and he’ll probably take that and work with it off the show. I think it was a smart invention by Cee Lo. James is probably the luckiest contestant to date for making it as far as he had. He doesn’t possess the same vocal tools, let’s say, that some of the other people who have made it this far have, but he’s got swagger, and he does what he does really well. He’s made a connection with the female audience in particular, and I think he should be proud. Obviously no one wants to go home, but I think he understood that it was his time, and he was grateful.

NEXT: Tony, Pip, Juliet and Cee Lo’s ’50s throwback

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