Randallstown singer Joe Maye — best known as the contestant on NBC's singing reality show "The Voice" who wowed and then sang with Christina Aguilera during this season's blind auditions, has made it to another round — beating out his counterpart and teammate Ayanna Jahneé in a singing battle last night.
The two "Team Christina" singers entered the ring singing '80s pop song "I Knew You Were Waiting for Me" by Aretha Franklin and George Michael. The song was challenging for Maye and Jahneé, one neither of them would have done, he said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday. They struggled during rehearsals.
"Patti LaBelle said herself the song was boring, so it was challenging for us to make it exciting," Maye said. The R&B singing legend assisted Aguilera in coaching Maye and Jahneé during rehearsals.
Maye said he and Jahneé did their best to incorporate soul and passion into the song, but what started in their minds as a duet ended in a battle. Aguilera, again impressed by his high energy and charisma, chose Maye as the winner. Jahneé was sent home, which Maye said was one of the hardest parts of the battle.
"It really affected me a little bit, emotionally. It was sad to see someone I thought was really talented go home," said Maye, who added that he bonded with Jahneé during rehearsals.
It's easy to forget that the contestants around him, many of whom are quickly becoming friends behind the scenes, are vying for the judges' attention and the same prize in the end.
"It's really weird. We forget that it's a competition, and we don't even want it to be like that because we're all friends and stuff," he said. But the judges continue to remind them, especially when pitting the contestants against each other in the battle rounds.
"Christina said 'I want you to do more.' But my partner wasn't doing more," Maye said, so he felt he had no choice but to "wail" over her.
But next week and in competitions to come, Maye said he is determined to put himself in a more focused headspace, with his mind on performing his very best in the competition.
"I brought a certain fire, and that's what [Aguilera] wanted from me," Maye said. "I literally have to be in that mindset everything week."