Author’s Note: This article contains spoilers for Monday night’s episode of The Voice.
We are into our fourth week of The Voice Season 11 and the competition is really heating up. This group of singers promises to be among the best in the past few seasons. Sadly, not everyone can make it to the live shows. These battle duets are the first in a series of battles meant to test the mettle of Voice hopefuls while helping the Voice judges strengthen their individual teams.
The night started off with a battle between Voice contestants Christian Cuevas and Jason Warrior. The two young men sang Adele’s “Hello” with a nervous, but emotionally sincere fervor.
Jason was more emotive…but he did too much. Christian was likewise good, but comparatively subdued. Because of this, it almost seemed a certainty that Voice judge Alicia Keys was going to choose Warrior. Surprisingly she went with Cuevas. One battle into the episode and we already had something of an upset.
But luckily for Jason Warrior, it was upsetting for all of two seconds; Adam Levine immediately moved to steal the now available Voice competitor.
Next up was Natasha Bure and Riley Elmore. Concerns were expressed in a previous Voice article about how song choice might ruin Riley’s chances. But “Cry Me A River” is such an old-fashioned song, proved right up his alley. It was up to Natasha to play catch up with the Season 11’s only crooner.
Natasha Bure was one of the weaker Voice competitors coming in with a one-chair turn, but when it came time to perform, her overall improvement was noticeable. Meanwhile, Riley was clearly in his element. From beginning to end, Elmore connected more strongly with the material.
Given that “Cry Me A River” is a song often covered by jazz singers and his crooner heroes, one could argue Elmore had a slight advantage. Still, Bure should be proud of her performance.
Riley Elmore won the battle and as there were no moves to steal Natasha, it marked the end of her Voice journey.
Miley Cyrus paired up Ali Caldwell and Courtnie Ramirez for a rousing rendition of “Hit or Miss” by Tom Jones. The ladies really brought it, delivering a truly explosive duet. Cyrus was then left with the unenviable, who was left with the heart-wrenching task of trying to pick a winner.
Although Ramirez hit some amazing notes, Caldwell was the more sure and confident performer. That’s probably why Miley ultimately went with Ali. Rameriz was, predictably, stolen immediately. Voice judges Alicia Keys and Blake Shelton both attempted to steal Courtnie, but she ultimately went with Keys.
Dan Shafer and Sundance Head are two of the older, more seasoned Voice contestants competing. Therefore, it’s kind of unfair that they were paired, if not a bit predictable. After all, the pursuit of younger viewers seems to mean bringing the Voice competition age range down as low as possible.
That aside, their rendition of Bad Company’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love” was among the best performances of the night. Which made the outcome that much more bittersweet. The duo had mutual showmanship, but it was clear that Sundance was a more natural performer.
It was a tough call, but Sundance was able to advance while Dan was sent home. There was no steal, which suggests that the Voice battle rounds were only going to get more fiercely competitive as this portion of the contest went on.
Billy Gilman and Andrew Demuro seemed like a bit of a lopsided pairing at first glance as Gilman — despite bowing out of the limelight as his voice matured — seemed to come into the battle round with an advantage. Yet when they began, it was clear Demuro was going to be able to hold his own.
The duo belted out their rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror.” Their harmonies were the best of all the Voice performances. Individually, they were also great. Adam Levine decided to hold onto Billy Gilman.
Sadly, Andrew Demuro went home. This was perhaps the most shocking elimination of the night, as Demuro gave an excellent performance.
The last of battle rounds for Monday night came down to Lauren Diaz and Wé McDonald — because of course Voice judge Alicia Keys would pair her strongest singers! Before either set foot on the stage for a powerful cover of Janis Joplin’s “Maybe,” seemed clear that one of them was getting stolen. It was just a matter of which performer was moving to which team.
This duet was saved for last because it was far and away the best Voice battle of the night. They were both so good, that it was hard to pick a more talented singer. Wé definitely had the stronger voice, but Lauren also had some bright moments. Voice judge Alicia Keys appreciated both of these talented young women but declared Wé McDonald the winner.
Very quickly Miley Cyrus pressed her button to “Steal” followed by Adam. So who did Lauren Diaz choose? Miley! Although thanks to the way The Voice is edited (With battles aired out of sync with how they actually happened), you already knew this thanks to the very first battle round of the night.
So what did you think of Season 11’s first night of battles? Did you agree with battle round winners and losers? Share your thoughts on this latest Voice episode below!
[Featured image by NBC’s The Voice]