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Contestants Dish on Battle Rounds on The Voice

Each week we get the chance to call in and talk to The Voice contestants who have moved on to the next round. Read up on how the stolen contestants felt when they got a second chance, what it is like working with Sammy Hagar and what life is like for them now after their time on The Voice.

Each of these contestants will move on to the KnockOut Rounds which start on Monday, October 24th on NBC.

For the three stolen contestants. I was hoping each of you could take me back to that moment when you found out you didn’t win the battle. What was going through your mind? What did you think of your chances of being stolen? And, were you surprised at all by the coach or coaches who tried to steal you?

Jason Warrior: It was not so much a surprise to me to actually get stolen simply because this was something that Christian and I, you know, were praying for. You know, that one of us would still be here, one of us would still be on the show, you know, because we both have worked hard to get to the point that we’re at. And, so, the fact that I got stolen, regardless – if whoever got stolen, our prayers would have been answered and, so, that’s exactly what happened. Our prayers were answered. Somebody got stolen and it was me and I’m happy because I’m still here. I’m not going home.

It wasn’t necessarily a surprise that it was Adam who stole me — simply because Adam was the first one who turned for me — and there was one thing before I even knew that Alicia Keys was even coming onto the show. My top pick would have been Adam and then Pharrell.

And, so, the fact that Adam did turn around for me, you know, was like cool. But then Alicia is now there and it’s like, okay, wait a minute. And it just so happened that now I’m available for the steal and its Adam again. So, it’s like, okay, maybe that’s where he needs to be. That’s where he needed to be this entire time.

Lauren Diaz: I think objectionably kind of what Jason was saying. I think me and Ray both went in there having the mindset of we were going in, you know, we both wanted to stay. So, our goal was to kill that battle and we did and I got a steal and – I mean it was very surprising that Miley hit the button.

I think what was most surprising for me is that they both hit — Miley and Adam — you know, you’re thinking that you – your hope was not when you lose, you know, a battle you want to get stolen and one person’s going to hit their button and then when two of them hit it that was, that was obviously awesome. So, I’m very thankful for that and I wasn’t ready to go home and, you know, I’m still here and couldn’t be more thankful.

I think I chose Miley she is a very down-to-earth person and I just saw how much she cared for her team and not that Alicia didn’t. Alicia’s amazing, but when I saw that Miley hit that button I just knew that was where I was supposed to be – I was meant to be with her.

Courtnie Ramirez: Well, man, just thinking, just going back to the moment of Ali and I’s battle. It was crazy. It was so much fun. But, just like Lauren said and Jason said, me and Ali prayed and we were just, okay look, neither of us are going home.

We’re both going to stay on this show and we both had that mindset that we were going to stay on the show. So, me and Ali looked at it as a duet, like it was never a competition. It’s just two people that love music and love singing. So, when Miley picked Ali, I believed I left everything out on that stage and that I had hope that I was going to get stolen.

And, then right when I got done telling Miley just, “Oh, my gosh, thank you for everything,” Alicia and Blake both hit their buttons to steal me and, oh my gosh, it was – I’m just reliving it right now. It was so great, like, it was so unbelievable, but the reason I picked Alicia is because she – during my blind she was one of the coaches that turned around for me.

And, I just saw that she believed in me and Blake — he is such a great artist — but I just picked Alicia because she’s great. And I love Miley and Ali both so, so much. But, yes, I’m now on Team Alicia and I’m so excited.

This question is for We McDonald. Lauren just talked about the performance and being stolen. So, obviously it was a strong performance between the two of you, so, what did you think your chances were of staying?

We McDonald: I thought that my chances of staying were really strong. And I also thought that Lauren’s chances of staying were really strong. I definitely knew that neither of us were going home that day because we fought so hard for everything and we were very strategic with how we sang our song and we sang it with power. And, we knew that that was going to resonate in all of the coaches, so, one of us was going to get a steal and one of us was going to stay on the team regardless.

And, what was it like having Charlie Puth as your advisor?

We McDonald: Oh God, he is – he was really real cool, actually. It’s kind of nice to kind of get like a new generation sort of a thing because everybody did bring in older souls for their guest coach. But, it was nice to kind of have a new perspective on somebody that we can relate to. So, it was cool.

This is for Billy, Ali, and We. You each got four chairs to turn in your blind auditions. So, tell me more about what it was like to enter the battles as frontrunners. Did you feel you were at an advantage at all? And, do you think you honestly would have been a little angry had your coaches not picked you because — obviously — you would have had three other coaches to choose from in the blinds who might’ve kept you around.

Ali Caldwell: Well first off, I’m super grateful. Any time that I set foot on that stage, I want to make sure that I’m doing what I love – performing. I love singing. I think that the only thing that goes through my mind — I don’t think on it being a competition or — you know, winning or being more – it’s more of us just doing what we love.

Like, we’re all here, you know, because we have a huge love for singing and performing and being an artist. And, I think that just what’s going through my mind on, you know — getting further in the competition — you know, as far as the blinds and the battles go. I just make sure that I keep the love of music on my mind and make sure that I just keep continue doing what it is that I love to do which is performing.

We McDonald: Oh, okay. I mean, definitely I was really, really happy about the four-chair turn. I was excited as anybody else would be. It wasn’t as much of an advantage because you still have to go up against a competitor and you’re going to be on the same playing field because you’re still on that team.

It doesn’t leave you at a higher end just because we got the four chair turn. If my coach didn’t pick me, I would not have a problem because I would know that she picked the other person for well reasons. Like, it’s good enough reason if she picked the other person and it wasn’t out of malice to me. I mean, of course I would be disappointed that I wouldn’t be on her team any more. But I know that I did my best on stage and that’s what it definitely should be all about.

Billy Gilman: Yes, I have to honestly agree with We. When the – When I open my eyes – I don’t know I close my eyes and I say, all right, at least I have Alicia, Miley, and Adam that turned around. Now I can just sing the song because a lot of the pressure is off. But then when I opened my eyes and I saw the four chairs, I was really – I mean, anyone in that situation is stunned because you just hope to God one turned.

And, to have all four of them, it’s a great testament to how far — whether you have one or whether you have four — it’s just a testament to know that how many have sacrificed and only this many are here in this moment. It’s just a testament to everybody’s hard work and, if Adam – listen, I was a nervous wreck because — to be honest to God truthful — Man in the Mirror was not in my wheelhouse.

So, there were nights in the hotel that I would be up until two, three o’clock in the morning doing pocket, you know, rhythms and drum beats and listening to things that are really outside of my comfort zone, because that was not a Billy song, at all, like at all, I would never be in my show — it would never be in my psyche to sing — so, I had my work cut out for me. But, you only work that much harder because when it’s all you are and music encompasses your life, it – really when it chose you instead of you choosing it, you want to make it work, good bad or indifferent.

So, when Adam kept me on the team, I was so grateful just for the hard work and the hard work continues, you know. It’s – we’re all phenomenal singers and I’m just so honored to be a part of this family and for however long it lasts, it’s been quite the amazing ride so far and the one thing that I always want to let people know is how grateful I am because it’s anybody’s game and for all of us to be amongst each other, just shows the hard work we put forth.

This question is for We. I was just wondering what you learned from this round that you’re going to take forward in the competition with you?

We McDonald: This round taught me that when you put your all into everything — the outcome kind of is so miniscule because you feel so much relief — you feel so much power. And I feel like moving forward it’s going to make me even stronger in every performance that I do because that’s what all of us have gotten to do so far. We’ve gotten to leave our emotions, our hearts, our power on the stage that we’re so blessed to be on and sing in front of people, and notable people. So, I definitely want to make sure that I maintain that strength and I gain more confidence as I keep going.

Sundance, I was wondering what you thought was the key to winning your battle and how you felt about the song you were asked to sing?

Sundance Head: Well, I try to approach every song as if it’s a song that I have in my heart and I try really hard to figure out how to make that song a reflection of me. And, also, you know, going against Dan, I knew that I really had to bring it because Dan – Dan’s a really sweet guy and he’s got a lot of experience and a really great voice. So, you know, I mean — but like someone said earlier — every time that I step on the stage I’m going out there to try to win whether it’s a battle against myself or someone else. I’m always trying to improve and I try to take every opportunity that I can to improve. And, that’s about it, man.

At first I thought it was kind of weird having two guys sing that song to each other — but it turned out that it was an amazing song — you know. And the chemistry was really great between the both of us and I think the harmonies turned out really well.

So, you know, whenever I first heard about it, I did think it was kind of strange, but, you know, you’ve got to leave that stuff up to the people that are professional that have been making decisions like that before I’ve been on the show, so, I just keep my mouth shut and I do what I’m told to do. And, I’m very happy that it went well for me and I wish Dan the best.

Yes, a question for the stolen artists, Jason, Lauren, and Courtnie. I’d like to learn more about what it was like for you to be stolen? Like, has the switch been a smooth or kind of disruptive transition? And how is your experience been working with your new coaches versus the original ones?

Lauren Diaz: I definitely think that working with any of these coaches is a complete blessing. It doesn’t matter if it’s Blake, Adam, Alicia or Miley. Definitely going from Alicia’s team to Miley’s, they’re both amazing woman and they’ve shown so much love and support.

So, I wouldn’t say it’s really a rough transition. I just think it’s actually – I feel that Jason and Courtnie and I actually get the best of both worlds. Not just working with one coach but being able to transfer in work over with another coach. So, I think that’s, you know, something that I think I can, you know, take from that and say that’s the most amazing part about it.

Courtnie Ramirez: I would have to agree with Lauren. Working with both Miley and Alicia has been great. Exactly what Lauren said — we get the best of both worlds. They’re both amazing artists. They both have an ear for music. They were both talented in different ways and I just think — I guess I can speak for all three of us — that just learning and spending time with Miley and Alicia, it’s been great. Like, I’ve learned a lot from Miley and I don’t think it’s been a rough transition at all. Because they’re all very talented and I’m just really honored and blessed to have this opportunity and just being able to work with them has been great.

Jason Warrior: This is Jason. I definitely agree with both of them. The transition has been smooth within itself. And we definitely have the best of both worlds simply because we are not learning something from one coach. But we’re learning something from, you know, two coaches now. We can take what we learned from one coach and implement that into what we’re learning from the new coach. And that makes us, you know, stronger and it makes us better as an artist and singer and performer.

And we’re getting something that everyone else, you know, isn’t getting. And something — it’s much more of a blessing at the end of the day — because it’s like – although we end up losing our battles, we were given another chance. They saw something in us so we were given another chance to, you know, do it again. So, yes.

Have any of you noticed any major differences between the two coaches? Like anything notable? In the way they teach or guide you or the advice they give you or anything in those regards?

Jason Warrior: I’ll take that one. It’s Jason. For me, I definitely noticed something different between Alicia and Adam. Alicia was so much like a cool, like soulful, like just laid back, chill type of a coach and she didn’t feel like a coach. She felt so much more of a big sister that’s siting there like, “Well, little bro, this is how you do it. Okay. This is how you do it and Chris – little bro, this is how you do it.” And that’s how I felt with her. So, she was like really, really, really cool.

And then Adam, he was like cool and kind of a silly at the same time but still cool. You know, and there was – it was a great experience working with both of them. Like the experience working with Adam right now – it’s amazing. He’s really, really cool and he’s teaching me – he’s teaching me so much. He’s teaching me so much, especially with like the falsetto and high ranges and stuff like that. and Alicia, she’s so much more cool and laid back. She wants me to like pull back a little bit and so I can implement that in both as a performer and that’ll help out a lot. So, yes. I’m sorry.

Courtnie Ramirez: Yes. I’ll add something. This is Courtnie. Working with Miley and Alicia, I would have to say Miley is more hands on. And Alicia is very inspirational. Working with Miley — that song Hit or Miss — me and Ali. It’s really punchy and it’s really energetic and I got to use a lot of my range and – but now just working with Alicia. She is – they both have different approaches and I think it’s – I think that’s so cool. That I’m getting to experience that, that Alicia has been telling me to explore more of my lower register that I have. And Miley, she was like, “All right. Punch this.”

So, I think yes, because working with both of them, they both have different approaches. So, it’s been great there. Is it…

Lauren Diaz: Yes. This is Lauren. I feel – I have to agree with Courtnie on that one. You know, Alicia is so wise and she’s very inspirational and I just feel like when she speaks, kind of the whole room stops. And with Miley, I – not that Miley isn’t full of wisdom as well. But I just felt like I know she has her own personality and I feel like me and her fits a lot because I am a little bit weird too.

So, I felt like, I kind of related to her in a lot of ways and it made me feel, like home to me. So, she’s awesome.

Hey, Christian. I wanted to ask you what’s the most important thing you’ve learned working with Alicia? And I’m also wondering what it was like working with Charlie?

Christian Cuevas: The main thing that I’ve really learned and taken out of this experience with Alicia so far is being yourself. She has really instated that in my mind is like she turned around for all 12 people that she has on her team and everything. And she turned around for each person individually. For what they are, for who they are, for what the sound like, for their voice.

And when you come into the battle rounds and everything, you – you’re basically singing a duet. And you want to blend well with others and stuff. But you also need to show off who you are as an artist and stuff. So, I mean that’s one of the main things that she’s installed, like, instilled in my mind is be yourself.

And working with Charlie, honestly, that dude’s ridiculous. He has like perfect pitch. Like seriously he does. He’s like, “Sing that C sharp.” And I’m like I don’t know what a C sharp is unless you play it.

So, and that’s something like a talent that not many people can really have and you’re just really born with that and stuff. And, honestly, him being so close to our age — my age — specifically and stuff is inspiring. It’s like you’re like on the top of the charts, like, constantly. I hear you on the radio constantly. I want to be that when I get like deeper into my music.

Billy, I was asking some of the other singers about the advisors. So I wanted to get your thoughts on Sammy Hagar?

Billy Gilman: Sammy, Sammy, Sammy. He is crazy talented. And what blew me away when I walked through the door was of course his face is instantly recognizable. He’s so amazingly talented as a performer. A rock legend with Van Halen. On his own as well. But he’s also a brand. He’s a smart, smart, business man.

So, a lot of respect for him in different ways. And as a singer, of course, we’re on the show because we’re on a show called The Voice and you’re singing. But throughout the little moments talking with him, you could sense that he was also giving, you know, knowledge about being yourself and being a brand.

Of course hitting the note was important, yada, yada, yada. But, and he put me in my place. I was a nervous wreck even at that first rehearsal because attacking a Michael Jackson song — I mean; I can sing in the pocket –but that is pocket times a thousand. And that’s something that I generally don’t do. So, I knew I had my work cut out for me. And especially being up against such a brilliant singer like Andrew.

So, I would just literally stay up all hours of the night just listening to rhythmic tracks and listen to more Michael and listening to – recording myself and listen to it back. What can I do different? What did I do wrong?

So, he really put me in my paces about what I was doing wrong and what I was doing right and because of that, comes tremendous, tremendous growth. You know, I think, you know, the constructive criticism, is the criticism that enables much success. Whether you want to be a doctor or a lawyer or a singer. It’s within that criticism that you have knowledge and it really blew me away that he was so in tuned to that, you know.

He was very, very respectable and respectful of us. And that was incredible. I have nothing but great things to say about Sammy. He’s a legend.

Now that you’ve all gone back out into the world, how has it been dealing with people recognizing you? Have you had to deal with the fame of it all yet?

Ali Caldwell: Well, I’ve not actually experienced it because I live in New York and The Big Apple is like – you really don’t know how many people actually watch the show until you’re actually walking around the city. And it’s definitely happened to me before and it’s pretty cool. It’s a beautiful feeling. It’s kind of shocking because, you know, we have that kind of — I don’t want to say — kind of we just don’t believe it or just don’t think it’s that big of a deal until it actually happens.

And that’s kind of basically how I was feeling about it. I didn’t think that anybody would recognize me yet. And it has happened and I’m actually excited about it moving forward. But, it’s pretty cool, you know, living in New York — I’m just so excited to represent New York — and it’s beautiful when you see people who lives out here, you know, that actually watch it and support the show. And you know, support us all following our dreams. It’s just amazing.

Courtnie Ramirez: I’ll speak on that. This is Courtnie. I would have to say it’s been in my little hometown, Vine, Texas, its’ like everyone comes up to me and just says, “Oh my gosh. You’re on The Voice.” And, ” Can we take pictures.” And being from a small town, it’s kind of like people have been telling me and giving me the title, “Oh my gosh. You’re like the star of Vine or something.” 

But, I’ve been attracting like little girls and little boys and they just like come up to me and ask me for pictures and autographs and I just – that just gives me so much joy that it’s just an honor and a true blessing that little girls and little boys are looking up to me and just – so it’s been great. It’s different, I have to say. But, I love it. It’s amazing. So, yes.

Jason Warrior: I’ll speak on it. I have to definitely agree with Ali and Courtnie both. Simply because living here in Chicago, you know, it’s at a point where not too many people actually support you musically. Not too many people support you doing anything great period, out here. And the fact that I’m doing something great, you know, doing something constructive with music, and people are actually watching the show here in Chicago was a huge surprise, especially in my neighborhood.

And I have a lot of people coming up to me telling me how much of an inspiration I am to them. And how my story has definitely touched them. And it encourages them to do better. Encouraged them to, you know, forgive somebody for not being there in their life and stuff like that. And how me and Christian’s performance was sending chills up their spines. Sending chills up their body and just making them feel so good and loving the song and loving how we performed. And actually saying, “You know what. I know you. You were on The Voice.” That’s making me, you know, feel so blessed and so thankful and that’s, you know, one of the greatest things in the world. So, this has definitely been a great journey and this yes. 

I’m getting the general sense that everyone felt pretty confident going into their battles. But was anyone on this call particularly nervous heading into their battle? Did anyone struggle to overcome, like, any insecurities? Or fears?

Billy Gilman: I will be the first to admit, I was a nervous, nervous, nervous wreck. I felt once I get past lines — if I get past it — at least I proven myself enough to where someone hopefully, Adam, Miley, or Alicia like will believe in me enough to keep me on the team.

I’ll tell you something. It is a – it’s a nervous thing. Because not only — you don’t want to overdo it — because you don’t want to look desperate. But you want to shine and you want your opponent and your buddy that you’ve gone through and you respect and you admire, you want them to grow and them to shine.

It’s literally like a dance act, you know, it’s tiptoeing. You know, okay what’s the proper thing. But, how much do you do? How much do you hold back? So they know that you’re genuinely coming from a place where you’re just so honored. It’s a lot of emotions. And I will be honest. After the battle, I slept 19 hours out of 24 hours. I was so exhausted. I didn’t pick my head up off the pillow to do anything for almost 19 hours. I was that exhausted.

So, it’s – it only makes that more gratifying for when you work and you want it and you believe it so bad, like all the rest of us here on this call. And it comes to fruition at whatever capacity. A win, a steal, it’s still a win because you’re there.

And its nerve-wracking. It really, really set me back a few paces. I will tell you and I’m genuinely grateful that Adam saw whatever he saw and I will continue to make him proud hopefully and strive to be the best me and the best honest me that I can be. But it was nerve-wracking. Okay, I’m done.

Sundance Head: I think once you get up there and you lose your nerves then maybe you should just quit, you know. If it’s not that exciting to you any more than probably you don’t need to be doing it. that’s the way I look at it.

Ali Caldwell: I actually put a little statement in and this is Ali. I want to say when you’re thinking about it before it even happens, there’s little butterflies of nerves. But for me personally, when it’s time for show time, my nerves automatically switch to more anxious. Like I’m very anxious to make it happen. And to, you know, prove to my coach, you know, that I deserve to be, you know, to stay. And, you know, that’s basically my mindset on it. It’s more so anxious than – and excitement to even be on such a big platform as The Voice. It’s, you know, because you only get to do this one time. So, I look at it as make the best out of it and get these nerves out of here, you know.

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