The Blind Auditions are over, The Voice teams are full, but it’s already time to start cutting down and we start with the first night of the Battle Rounds. During Monday’s performances, there were two Battles from Teams Alicia and Adam, while Teams Miley and Blake only had one competing duo apiece. Let’s see how it went.
The first battle featured a pair of soulful young singers with Christian Cuevas and Jason Warrior. During the rehearsals, they’re met by Alicia Keys’ advisor Charlie Puth, who asks to hear a bit of Christian’s falsetto and tells both vocalists that maybe their performance should be tighter with fewer runs as they perform Adele’s “Hello.” There’s a reason this performance was leaked ahead of the airing, as its a case of two vocalists really thriving together. Jason is the more expressive performer, but Christian is arguably more consistently solid throughout. By the end of the song, Alicia is jumping up and down slamming her desk with delight. Alicia commends Christian for letting people in, while Jason pulls the audience in with his performance. She eventually chooses Christian, but Jason deservingly gets stolen by Adam.
The second Team Alicia pairing of the night featured two of her frontrunners — Lauren Diaz and We McDonald. And while it may not seem to be a great decision to pit your best singers against each other, it did make for one electric Battle Round performance. Alicia gives Lauren and We the Janis Joplin song “Maybe.” The emotion of the song comes through in both of their performances and there’s some playfulness in their battle. We appeared to be the more in the zone with her big moments, while Lauren’s bigger moments got a little over the top at points. But there’s no denying the power of each. Miley leans toward We, while Adam thinks both are super special. Blake says this one’s going to hurt to make a decision. But in the end, Alicia picks We, but Miley and Adam fight over Lauren and she picks Miley.
The first Team Adam pairing pits 17-year-old vocalist Natasha Bure against fellow teen crooner Riley Elmore. During their auditions, both suffered a bit with nerves, and luckily Adam has one of the loosest singers ever, Sammy Hagar. The pair are given Michael Buble’s “Cry Me a River,” which would seem to favor Riley, but Natasha has a voice that also can bring something special to the track. Hagar says his mind was blown by both of them, but the singer catches Riley on trying to paint outside his comfort zone. He also speaks to Natasha about mic placement during harder and softer parts of the song. During the performance, Natasha appears more at ease on stage, and they both do a solid job on the song. Blake calls the performance adorable, and feels that Natasha sold the performance. Alicia leans toward Riley and Miley has great things to say about both. Adam praised Nastaha’s effort, but says Riley has the most instantly recognizable voice. In the end, he picks Riley.
The night’s second battle for Team Adam pits Andrew DeMuro vs. Billy Gilman, two of his strongest competitors, against each other. Adam chooses Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” for their performance. During the rehearsals, Andrew reveals that it’s at the top of his register, but Sammy Hagar tells him that that can create more soul and power in his delivery and points out to both of them the rhythm of the song can be accentuated more. It was a strong performance for both, with Billy showing the ability to flow with more ease through the song, but that upper register power that Hagar was talking about really gave Andrew some stellar moments as well. Blake says that you can’t go wrong with either, and Alicia loved the energy and spirit of both. Miley says the blending was amazing. Adam says Andrew made a tremendous leap, while Billy did his homework, but he’s making his decision on who could win it all and he chooses Billy. Surprisingly, nobody steals Andrew, but if there’s a “bring back artist” at some point, he would be a prime candidate.
Team Miley is matching up a pair of opening night competitors, with Ali Caldwell and Courtnie Ramirez going head to head. Both singers have the power and grit in their voice and Miley gives them Odetta’s “Hit or Miss,” a track that allows them to show their soulful side while still being able to belt with attitude. Team Miley advisor Joan Jett tells Courtnie to watch her breath control, while Miley advises Ali to let her personality show. During the performance, Courtnie had the sass and attitude, but Ali also appeared to have that, but maybe a bit more range. Adam and Blake both think Ali has the chance to be around a long time, but also praise Courtnie for her confidence and performance. Miley says she doesn’t want to let go of either, but she chooses Ali. However, Blake and Alicia both attempt to steal, and Courtnie goes with Alicia.
Two of the older competitors on The Voice this season meet up in Team Blake’s first pairing. Former jingle singer Dan Shafer and ex-American Idol competitor Sundance Head meet up with Blake and his advisor Bette Midler to go over Bad Company’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love.” Bette tells Dan that he needs to let it loose a little more, and offstage the two guys work on an arrangement that will work for them. During the second rehearsal, Dan steps up. Bette advises Sundance to break free a bit from the guitar, while Dan is asked to sing with his eyes open a bit more. During the performance, Dan appears to have a little more range and soul, but Sundance has the grit and power of the original. Miley and Adam both speak to how much fun the performance was, while Alicia uses adjectives like “beautiful” for Dan and “free and wild” for Sundance. Blake offers some kind words for both, but ultimately picks Sundance due to his vocal ability.
So that’s the first night of the Battle Rounds. Let’s see how the rankings stand up.
9. Riley Elmore (Team Adam)
8. Courtnie Ramirez (Team Alicia)
7. Sundance Head (Team Blake)
6. Jason Warrior (Team Adam)
5. Billy Gilman (Team Adam)
4. Christian Cuevas (Team Alicia)
3. Ali Caldwell (Team Miley)
2. Lauren Diaz (Team Miley)
1. We McDonald (Team Alicia)
Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. And be sure to return for the second night of The Voice Battle Rounds Tuesday at 8PM ET / PT on NBC.