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4 Mormon contestants advance on 'The Voice'

Published: Wednesday, April 24 2013 2:00 a.m. MDT

Four members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints advanced past the battle round on "The Voice" this week.

Team Usher's Ryan Innes and Team Adam's Amy Whitcomb as well as Jon Peter Lewis and Ryan Hayes from the duo Midas Whale survived the battle round on NBC's talent show.

All three male contestants are also returned missionaries. Innes served an LDS mission to Portugal, Lewis served in Spain and Hayes served in Ecuador. Lewis and Hayes even showed off their Spanish to Shakira during their audition, explaining that they both knew the language from living in Spanish-speaking countries.

The duo from Rexburg, Idaho, has also been recognized by judges as being different and unique. But Midas Whale has more than its unique style going for it — it has former "American Idol" finalist Lewis as its lead vocalist. Lewis, known as JPL to "American Idol" fans back in 2004, joined with Hayes after meeting at an open mic night and auditioned for "The Voice."

Monday night, Midas Whale continued its journey by participating in the battle round. Lewis and Hayes were paired up against Patrick Dodd and were assigned to sing "Burning Love." In a performance that brought the audience to its feet, Adam Levine was left to choose who would remain on the show. He ultimately selected Midas Whale.

Although the show is based around competition, Lewis and Hayes both said they like to just focus on creating good music.

"It's easy to get caught up in a competition to become competitive and lose sight of creating a musical experience for the audience," Lewis said. "I think the challenge of the battle round is to create something that isn't necessarily one person trying to defeat the other, but trying to create something really beautiful for people to watch."

Meanwhile, Innes competed in a battle round Monday night against Orlando Dixon. The connection and respect between Innes and Dixon was obvious during their performance of "Ain't No Sunshine," which stunned the crowd and led Usher to select Innes to continue to compete on his team.

"I think he and I were on the same page of just wanting to not get caught up in the competitiveness because that would just destroy both of us," Innes said. "We kind of had an immediate connection as musicians and friends and as performers, wanting to create a really cool moment to experience for ourselves. ... I think it will definitely be one of the highlights for me during the journey on the show."

Although Whitcomb's performance was not shown on TV, she also found success in the battle round Tuesday night and will advance to the knockout round.

Local venues have joined in support of Innes and other competitors. Sammy's, located in Cedar Hills, is one of many organizations that hosted a viewing party to support the local talent Monday night.

"My heart goes out to all the people who for whatever reason are supporting and digging on what I'm doing right now," Innes said.

Midas Whale also tweeted: "A big thank you to those of you who have supported us thus far. Your love means more than you know."

Singles of the performances from the show can be purchased on iTunes for Whitcomb, Innes and Midas Whale. "The Voice" appears on NBC every Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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