When one hears that Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys are joining “The Voice” as coaches in Season 11, it’s difficult to not have flashbacks to when “American Idol” welcomed Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey for its twelfth season — a chemistry experiment that, without getting into too many details, exploded.
More than that, in unscripted television, having two women on a judging panel (let alone in the same room) is traditionally a setup for a cat fight. Showdowns between Tyra Banks and Janice Dickinson; Britney Spears and Demi Lovato; even “The Voice” has made headlines and become tabloid fodder for conflict between two female judges who haven’t even appeared on the same season.
But during the first night of the two-night premiere, Cyrus and Keys brought class, professionalism, insight and personality. The two women joined the show’s “winningest coaches” — which really means the only two judges who have stayed on the show since the first season — Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. As it turns out, if you tuned in for a cat fight, you got what you came for in the form of the men’s banter that was less Odd Couple and more Old Couple.
“I know how this music industry works,” Cyrus brags. “I have a different perspective,” Keys offers. “First time we’ve ever had two girl coaches,” Shelton points out with a questionable word choice in “girls.”
The three, along with Levine, who clearly didn’t get the denim memo, sit down in their rotating thrones to judge the crop of untapped talent.
Here’s a breakdown of the performers and the team standings after the season premiere:
1. Jason Warrior: Team Alicia Keys
The Chicago native sang “Living for the City” by Stevie Wonder and got caught in a bidding war between Levine and Keys.
“What makes you think you’re a better coach for him than Alicia Keys?” Shelton fired at Levine.
“A coach is a coach,” Levine responded. Which, really, who can argue? Logic, off to a good start this season.
2. Dave Moisan: Team Alicia Keys
This falsetto singer seemed tailor-made for Levine, but Keys drew first and second blood. Shelton may have gotten in Moisan’s head by suggesting that Levine would only make him a puppet.
3. Courtnie Ramirez: Team Miley Cyrus
Before she even turns around, Cyrus says the words “mine.” Keys and Cyrus competed for the teenager — Ramirez considers herself an R&B singer, but Miley flaunted the fact that she has the younger vote.
4. Sundance Head: Team Blake Shelton
The singer is no stranger to reality TV — he previously appeared on “American Idol” Season 6. His performance of “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” by Otis Redding won over Shelton and Levine, and Head, with the help of his kids, chose the former.
5. Maggie Renfroe: Team No One
The 16-year-old performed “Lost Boy” by Ruth B — which is a pretty objectively tacky song — and the coaches couldn’t get past her youth and immaturity.
6. Ali Caldwell : Team Miley Cyrus
This powerhouse performed “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande and is already a season standout. She has been working in the industry for years, and won over all four coaches. In the end it’s Cyrus’ offer to bring out personality and unique songs that won Caldwell allegiance.
7. Riley Elmore: Team Adam Levine
At 16 years old, Elmoe got into jazz music by playing the trombone. “At times it would sound like a moose being killed,” his mom said. Thanks, mom.
The crooner busted out some Frank Sinatra that brought Levine to the stage to perform a duet.
8. Dana Harper: Team Blake Shelton
Harper, the daughter of former NBA player Derek Harper, performed “Jealous” by Nick Jonas, a TV singing competition show favorite over the past few years. Her strong low register brought her over to Shelton’s team.
9. Gabe Broussard: Team Blake Shelton
The 15-year-old, who has been diagnosed with a rare eye disease, is definitely not related to Marc Broussard.
10. Chris Cron: Team No One
Formerly of the band Mêlée (they were big in Japan), Cron failed to impress with his rendition of “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS.
11. Christian Cuevas: Team Alicia Keys
“I want Alicia, but I think he’s going to pick Adam.” his mom said nervously. She was wrong.
When all is sang and done, the final tally stands at: Alicia Keys, 3; Blake Shelton, 3; Miley Cyrus, 2; Adam Levine, 1.
The new judges came to play during the premiere. Episode two airs tomorrow night on NBC.