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"Holy Crap": How "Star" Maddi Jane Got 4 Chairs Singing "Perfect" Notes—& Rapping

The Coaches got creative in the fight for Maddi Jane.

By Cassidy Ward

Maddi Jane has been performing since she could barely walk. At 9 years old, her guitar teacher posted a video of her singing to YouTube, which led to an appearance on Ellen. She kept posting covers to YouTube, some of which have tens of millions of views, pulling in 1.5 million subscribers. Ten years after that first introduction to performing on the web, Maddi moved to Los Angeles to learn production, create music, and try to make it. She didn’t know it, growing up in Chicago, but it was all leading to The Voice.

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. 

For her Blind Audition, Maddi did “Escapism” by RAYE featuring 070 Shake, a rap-singing genre mashup not commonly heard on The Voice stage. The opening verse had the Coaches curious, interested, and unsure, but things changed once the chorus hit. John Legend, Chance the Rapper, and Reba McEntire all turned in quick succession. Dan + Shay closed it out for a Four-Chair Turn just a moment later.

Maddi Jane sings “Escapism” by RAYE on Season 25 of The Voice

“That was so fun to listen to, and then when I turned around, so fun to actually watch you perform. You’re a star," Legend said. “Having somebody with that level of confidence and stage presence, but also with the voice to back it up. It is not easy to rap-sing, all of that takes a lot of breath, takes a lot of rhythm and flow. You did all of that really well and we don’t get a lot of Artists like you on The Voice. I would love to have you on Team Legend.”

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Given Maddi’s genre choices and the particular expertise of each Coach, Legend and Chance might have seemed like obvious choices, but that didn't stop McEntire or Dan + Shay from making a play. “The rap stuff was super in the pocket and then you opened up your voice and the notes were perfect,” Dan said. 

Maddi Jane performs during The Voice Episode 2502

Chance made his plea, saying, “Uh, yeah, come get on Team Chance. That’s all I’ve got to say.” Would it work? It would not. Maddi matched the energy saying, “I’m going to need just a little bit more than that.” And Chance agreed. Turns out, he had plenty more to say.

"You deserve a lot more than that," he said. "I think the reason it took everybody a second to turn around is we're not used to rappers coming on the show. Because it is so difficult to rap and sing, like John was saying, there were a couple of moments where it felt like the breath control wasn't there but when you switched into your full-on singing voice, I think that's what made me and John turn simultaneously. There's an added bit of pressure that goes on the Artist because they're working so hard to get the Chair Turns. Instead of you kind of shrinking in or being distracted by it, you instantly started turning up this side of the crowd, then that side of the crowd. That's really what we look for on the show. You're obviously a star, like everybody says. What I would bring to you as a Coach is I like to genre blend, and my whole job here is to platform young Artists and give them the opportunity to tell their story and be a support system. So, you should make the right choice and join Team Chance today." 

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Not to be outdone before she even had a chance to talk, McEntire called for order with a simple, “Alright boys.” When Queen Reba talks, people listen. “Let me paint you a picture from my perspective. I’m facing that way, the music starts, and you start your rapping. I’m like ‘OK …’ then you kicked into singing and I’m like, 'Holy crap.' I was so surprised. You were getting down, you were singing, you were on pitch, you were having fun … I would love to have you on my team.”

All that was left was to make a decision, and Maddi answered the question with a few carefully chosen lyrics, rapping, “If one more label try to stop me,” from “No Problem” by Chance the Rapper. Team Chance it is.