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Why Zeya Rae and William Alexander’s “Flawless,” “Amazing” Battle Broke Reba’s Heart 

Rae and Alexander, who is just 16 years old, had an emotional face-off on The Voice.  

By James Grebey

The Battle rounds on The Voice are always tough because, unless another Coach uses a valuable Steal, it’s guaranteed that one member of a team will be going home. When Zeya Rae and William Alexander faced off for their Battle, Coach Reba McEntire said it “broke her heart” to send the loser home. 

How to Watch

Watch the Season 26 premiere of The Voice on Monday, September 23 at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock. 

Rae, a 23-year-old Stockton, CA, resident, and Alexander, a Staten Islander who is only 16 years old, faced off on the eighth episode of The Voice’s 25th season. The two, who seemed to have a great rapport, sang “Just Give Me a Reason,” a cut from Pink’s 2012 album The Truth About Love.

“I put them together because they are like voices,” McEntire explained. “Very soft, very sweet, and I thought they would complement each other.”

RELATED: An Official Recap of Team Reba on The Voice Season 25

After the rehearsals, McEntire praised both of their voices, although she noted that Alexander’s voice, while already great, was “going to mature and there’s no telling what it’s going to be.” Rae, meanwhile, being a little bit older, already had a fully developed voice.  

“It’s more mature, she’s more focused, she knows what she can do,” McEntire said. “She’s more of a seasoned singer.” 

Watch Zeya Rae and William Alexander perform "Just Give Me a Reason" by Pink on The Voice Battles

The pair’s performance was wonderful, but most of the other Coaches seemed to think Rae had the edge — not because Alexander did anything especially wrong but because of his age. 

Zeya Rae and William Alexander perform on The Voice Episode 2508

Shay Mooney, one half of Dan + Shay, said he couldn’t believe Alexander was only 16 years old, but told the teen that his young age “kind of explains some of the things I hear in your voice. I feel you could open up, vocally, but that’s going to happen as you get older.” 

Mooney described Rae as a “naturally incredible singer,” and John Legend agreed, saying she was “pretty much flawless.”

Ultimately, McEntire went with Rae.

"It was a very tough decision. Broke my heart to let William go, but I had to pick Zeya. She had the maturity, she had warmth in her voice,” McEntire said. “Can’t wait to see what she’s got for the Knockouts.”

Perhaps the reason it broke McEntire’s heart was that she and Alexander bonded during his emotional Blind Audition. Alexander said that finding music was the thing that allowed him to be himself and that he “never wants to stop singing.”

Chance the Rapper, who lamented that he didn’t have a Steal left in his quiver to save Alexander, felt optimistic about Alexander’s musical future — as did McEntire. 

“I really like William's voice. I get it. He’s 16; there were pitchy moments, but he’s got a bright future,” Chance said. “Reba says you’re gonna go far.”