Lewis Jacobs/NBC
Carson Daly
May 01, 2012 AT 06:08 PM EDT

It really feels like we’ve got an elite eight, and now we go down to the final four tonight. We saw a lot of emotions last night from everybody! Emotions on a lot of levels: everything from Erin Willett, who really broke down after her song, to Cee Lo, who was very emotional during Chris Mann’s opera performance and certainly during Juliet Simms’. Everybody’s realizing that there’s only one more week left on season two of The Voice, and we have come so far. I think it’s starting to dawn on a lot of people, and it’s very, very emotional. This does not feel like a TV show to us; this feels like a family, and the family’s been through a lot. A lot of good things, but there’s a sense of the finality of it all, and I think people last night were really emotional because of it. By and large, 90% of last night was a shared experience where all the coaches really got to just enjoy these elite 8 and the battle lines were a little less drawn.

I think Tony Lucca’s Britney Spears song last week worked well for him. It got him America’s save, people responded to it, and it was a gutsy decision, and ever since Christina called him one-dimensional, making gutsy decisions has been the thing that’s really worked well for Tony Lucca. After his performance last night of “How You Like Me Now?,” a girl I work with this morning said that was the first time she saw Tony as a leading man. He was dashing, he was dancing, he had so much soul. He looked like an all around performer, and it paid off! It had a ton of energy, another excellent call by Coach Adam, and I think it’s going to pay off for him. We’ll see if he wins tonight! If he’s in the finals for Team Adam, it’ll be interesting to see what his final song is, because the last couple have been left of center.

The voting tonight is going to be a combination of what the coaches’ scores were last night, equally combined with America’s vote. So it depends on strategy. If Adam really wants to make sure one or the other gets through, he can tip that scale, and he has that right to do it. It’s equally weighted with America, but if he gives Tony 100 points and Katrina Parker 0 points, even if America favored Katrina, it could still tip the scale. I think it’s a close race, and I think they’re very different. Next to Juliet Simms, Katrina has the most amount of mojo going. People are falling in love with her every time she hits the stage. I think she is definitely one of the most transformed contestants since day one. She’s blossomed on air. I also loved her moment with her parents! All of the family storytelling last night was really special.

Erin never overtly talks about losing her father during the shooting of the show, but she really broke down at the end of her performance and never really said it, but alluded to it, that the lyrics to “Without You,” were inspiration from and dedicated to her father. Blake got emotional and gave her that nod of approval. He lost his father right about the same time, so that’s a bond that they have, and that all came to fruition last night. As sad as it is, it makes for a dynamic story and is certainly a reflection of something very real and genuine. If Jermaine Paul should go on and get America’s vote and be the finalist for Team Blake, Erin Willett left it all out on the court last night.

Chris Mann, I think everybody unanimously agreed, came full circle. It was his opera voice that pushed multiple buttons for him. During the battle rounds, Christina did a little experimenting with him, having him sing Coldplay. But she ultimately brought him back singing “Ave Maria,” putting him back in the genre, and it paid off huge. This guy could win The Voice and go open up the Met. I think it was really smart putting him back in his lane, if you will, of opera singing.

NEXT: Lindsey Pavao, Jamar Rogers and Juliet Simms

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