The battles have begun, and man, are they intense. Some rounds are more intense than others as the competitors duke it out to earn a TKO, but others are split decisions that have to go to the proverbial cards of coaching steals. Here’s a blow by blow review of how the first round of The Voice‘s season 11 battles shook out.
Team Alicia: Christian Cuevas vs. Jason Warrior
“Hello” by Adele
The first battle of the night is a power punch to raise all the goosebumps. Not only is it an emotional wallop — Christian’s got his late father backstory to induce all the sobs, and Jason’s overcome incredible odds in his life as well — but they’re both also pretty phenomenal to listen to. Talk about starting things out on a strong note.
When they’re training with Charlie Puth, it looks like Christian might be having some trouble finding the right key for Adele’s big ballad, but by the time the pair takes the battle stage, it’s a gentlemanly game of one-upsmanship on display. Alicia paired the two together and with this song because they both know how to belt, and what’s more impressive is that they each show some individuality in what’s become such a ubiquitous tune. She smartly divided their notes and song segments so that they could each stand out and not blend in to a point of being indecipherable. She has a hard time deciding, but ultimately Alicia decides to stick with Christian because of his uniqueness and sense of vulnerability. Jason’s a quick steal for Team Adam, though, because the coach is delighted at this “second chance” to wrangle Jason onto his team, especially since he was the first person Adam turned his chair for back in the blinds. It was a great steal, really, because Adam’s team just got a major boost with this addition.
Winner: Christian Cuevas
Steal: Jason Warrior to Team Adam
Team Adam: Natasha Bure vs. Riley Elmore
“Cry Me a River” by Michael Bublé
This song selection and pairing was almost unfair to Natasha Bure, daughter of TV star Candace Cameron Bure. As we know, Riley Elmore basically boasts the looper version of Frank Sinatra’s old school crooner voice, so Michael Bublé’s music fits directly within his wheelhouse. During their practice rounds with Van Halen’s Sammy Hagar, the coach and his mentor of choice are both completely blown away at the inevitable Bond singer’s perfection with the pitch of the tune, but Natasha does her best to adjust with her “dynamic” portion of the song.
She also keeps a sunny attitude about the letdown when Adam predictably selects her sparring partner here and doesn’t seem to begrudge him a stacked song choice, but let’s be real here. That song was cherry-picked for Riley to thrive — Adam and Sammy Hagar even advise him not to step outside of his comfort zone because they know it’s already an easy win for him without using any imagination. We’ll have to see how far this particular genre can keep him on this show, though, because there are only so many old school jazz artists to mimic with such precision.
Winner: Riley Elmore
NEXT: Blake’s form of flattery is hit or miss…