The Voice

Jackie Romeo, Kamalei Kawa’a nab final steals on The Voice

Ducote Talmage and Karen Waldrup listen to the coaches' feedback following their knockout match on The Voice. (NBC Photo)

Ducote Talmage and Karen Waldrup listen to the coaches’ feedback following their knockout match on The Voice. (NBC Photo)


The lineup is now set for The Voice no-longer-live playoffs that begin next week.

That’s because the knockout round ended Monday night with Kamalei Kawa’a nabbing a steal from John Legend and Jackie Romeo doing the same from Reba to survive elimination.

Winners advancing to the playoffs from the Monday night knockouts included four-chair-turn recipients Maddi Jane and Mafe, plus Zoe Levert, Karen Waldrup, Rletto and twins Justin and Jeremy Garcia.

Each coach will take five singers to the playoffs that begin Monday, then hand pick three to advance to the voting rounds.

Playoff performances from two teams will air next Monday night and playoff performances from the other two teams the following week.

Here’s a recap of Monday’s show.


Team Dan + Shay

The match: Karen Waldrup vs. Ducote Talmage
The background: Ducote Talmage, 20, of Auburn, Alabama, turned 2 chairs in the blinds with “Sand in My Boots” by Morgan Wallen. He then won his battle with Ryan Coleman. They performed “Rock in a Hard Place” by Bailey Zimmerman. Karen Waldrup, 36, turned 2 chairs in the blinds singing Dee Messina’s “Bye Bye.” She then won her battle against Ryan Argast. They performed “Save Me the Trouble” by Dan + Shay.
The songs: “She Got the Best of Me” by Luke Combs for Ducote. “Georgia Rain” by Trisha Yearwood
The feedback: Chance gave the edge to Karen, who received praise from all the coaches for a stellar performance. The coaches also loved Ducote’s unique vocals. Shay called Ducote’s performance his best of the show. Dan compared Karen’s vocals to Celine Dion.
The outcome: Dan + Shay awarded the win to Karen. Dan called her a “superstar” who’s going to “crush it” on the show. Ducote was eliminated.
My take: Simply beautiful opening by Karen. She sounded great when the song swelled for the chorus too. She’s a veteran performer and it showed. She brought the coaches to their feet. Ducote has a nice growl and brings tons of intensity to every song he sings. He delivered a strong performance too. Karen deserved the win. In fact, I thought she delivered the ngiht’s best performance. But where was the steal? My guess: None remained when they performed, because Ducote was one of the top male country performers on a show where fans love male country performers. I still think The Voice should make coaches watch every single performance before deciding who to steal and save.


Team Legend:

The match: Jackie Romeo vs. Zoe Levert
The background: Jackie Romeo, 20, of Massapequa, N.Y., turned 2 chairs in blinds, performing “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus. She then won her battle with Olivia Rubini. They performed “Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks. Zoe Levert, 20, of New Orleans, turned 2 chairs in the blinds with her version of Taylor Swift’s “Better Man.” She then won her battle with the pop trio OK3. They performed “The Bones” by Maren Morris
The songs: “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna for Jackie. “Cowboy Take Me Away” by The Chicks
The feedback: Reba and Chance didn’t voice a favorite. Shay said he’d give the edge to Zoe. John loved the way Jackie connected to the song. He praised the growth Zoe has shown in her time on the show.
The outcome: John named Zoe the winner of the knockout, saying she’s going to be a loveable artist for the show’s country fans. Reba then swooped in and stole Jackie.
My take: Wow, where has this Jackie Romeo been? She sounded fabulous from the opening note. Then delivered tons of attitude when she stomped away from the mic. Really nice ending too. That brought the coaches to their feet. Zoe turned in a fun performance. The ending was especially impressive. But in my mind, Jackie was the clear winner.

Team Chance:

The match: Rletto vs. Alyssa Crosby
The background: Alyssa Crosby, 32, turned just Reba’s chair in the blinds with her version of Alanis Morissette’s “Hand in Pocket.” She was then stolen by Chance after losing her battle to Asher HaVon. They performed “We Don’t Need Another Hero” by Tina Turner. Rletto, 27, of Orlando, Fla., turned 2 chairs in the blinds, performing “Golden Hour” by JVKE. He then won his battle round match with Val T. Webb. They sang “Saving All My Love for You” by Whitney Houston.
The songs: “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” by Elton John for Alyssa. “Stay” by The Kid Laroi and Justin Bieber for Rletto
The feedback: Dan + Shay praised both singers. John gave the edge to Rletto, in part because of the cool factor. Reba gave the edge to Alyssa because of her growth during the competition. Chance praised the mastery in Rletto’s performance.
The outcome: Chance awarded the win to Rletto. Alyssa was eliminated.
My take: Alyssa delivered a soulful, fiery performance of the Elton song, showing that she deserved that steal she got from Chance. That was an excellent performance. Not sure Rletto’s song choice was a wise one. It didn’t work nearly as good as Alyssa’s song did for her. And I don’t think he opened his eyes the entire performance. I would have given the win to Alyssa.


Team Chance

The match: Maddi Jane vs. Kamalei Kawa’a
The background: Maddi Jane, 25, turned 4 chairs in the blinds singing “Escapism” by RAYE and 070 Shake. She then ‘won’ her battle with Nadège, who got a playoff pass. They performed “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” Kamalei Kawa’a, 26, turned 2 chairs in the blinds with his performance of Bob Marley’s “The Redemption Song.” He then won his battle match with Gabriel Goes. They performed an island-vibe version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
The songs: Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” for Maddi; John Legend’s “All of Me” for Kamalei
The feeback: Not a single Voice coach offered Chance any help in picking a winner. Shay called it two very different performances “in the best possible way.” John said Kamalei did a “beautiful” job covering his song. Oh, and he reminded everyone he has a steal left. Reba called Maddi “a force of nature.” Chance called them both “amazing performances.”
The outcome: Chance named Maddi the winner, saying he loves her versatility. John and Reba then pushed the steal button for Kamalei. He opted to join Team John.
My take: Maddi delivered a fun, sassy performance, and she delivered it with confidence. It’s the type of current pop performance we don’t see that often on The Voice. For that reason, I’d give her the edge, though I’m not sure her style is a winning formula considering the Voice’s older voting block. Kamalei certainly held his own, though he turned 2 chairs in the blinds to Maddi’s 4. Kudos to him on a sensitive, heartfelt performance.

Team Legend:

The match: Gene Taylor vs. Mafe
The background: Gene Taylor, 33, of Vernon, N.J., turned 4 chairs in the blinds, performing Journey’s “Lights.” He then won his battle with Ronnie Wilson. They performed “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars. Mafe, 22, Miami, turned 4 chairs in the blinds, performing “Besame Mucho.” She then won her battle with Rivers Grayson. They sang “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King.
The songs: “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith for Gene. “Almost is Never Enough” by Ariana Grande.
The feedback: Reba loved Gene’s performance style and Mafe’s tone. Chance gave Mafe a slight edge. Dan + Shay and Reba didn’t voice a preference. John praised both performeers.
The outcome: John awarded the win to Mafe. Gene is eliminated.
My take: First off, not sure I understand John’s logic here, pitting two four-chair turns against one another when he would not have had to. Great opening by Gene, but I’m not sure raising the key worked to his advantage vocally. He works the stage with assurance, doesn’t he? Here’s another match featuring drastically different performances. Mafe shows off a really nice tone and ample vocal firepower in her Ariana cover. I’ve give her a bit of an edge.

Team Reba:

The match: Justin and Jeremy Garcia vs. Zeya Rae
The background: Justin and Jeremy Garcia, 17 year old twins, turned 3 chairs in the blinds, performing “Story of My Life” by One Direction. They joined Team Dan + Shay. They lost their battle to Frank Garcia, but were stolen by Reba. Their battle round song was “Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga. Zeya Rae, 23, of Stockton, Calif., performed “Bellyache” by Billie Eilish and got just Reba to turn in the blinds. She won her battle against William Alexander. They performed “Just Give Me a Reason” by Pink.
The songs: “You Are the Reason” by Calum Scott for the twins. “River” by Bishop Briggs for Zeya.
The feedback: Dan loved the intensity in Zeya’s performance. But he and Shay also loved the way the twins’ confidence has grown. They gave Justin and Jeremy the edge. John gave the edge to Zeya.
The outcome: Reba gave the win to Justin and Jeremy. She likes their uniqueness. Zeya was eliminated.
My take: You think of the twins’ song as a love ballad, but they’re dedicating it to one another. They sounded great on the harmonies and on that tender ending. But there was one spot in the song where they didn’t seem in sync. Zeya has a really nice cry in her voice. She also nailed an impressive glory note midway through the performance. But there were also some vocal missteps. Justin and Jeremy took the match with their best performance yet.

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