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Why Kala Banham’s Playoff Rehearsal Made Chance the Rapper Cry: “I Am Broken”

Learn what happened as the “incredible” singer Kala Banham connected with “My Funny Valentine” — and her Coach, Chance The Rapper.


By Joe Dziemianowicz
Kala Banham Performs "My Funny Valentine" | The Voice Playoffs | NBC

A foolproof sign that a vocalist is connecting deeply with the emotions in a song is tears from the audience, right? Playoffs on The Voice provided a telling reminder of that fact.

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 Chance the Rapper it was impossible to hold back the waterworks while watching his team member Kala Banham rehearse “My Funny Valentine." 

“I am broken right now,” Chance said, as she finished a run-through of the song. “I literally just started crying. Oh my gosh. Your voice is incredible.”

Of course, Chance knew that already — and also knows that she’s an amazing “storyteller.” During Knockouts, he used some sly strategy and his Steal to get Banham, 24, who’s from Florida, on his team. 

“I’m brand new to the show,” Chance said, “but I’m almost absolutely sure that this is the best Steal to happen in the history of The Voice.”

Nonetheless, her rendition of the stirring Rodgers and Hart ballad famously covered by Ella Fitzgerald threw him for a loop.

“It really surprised me,” he said. “She has this ability to play with the intricacies. She just brought this new feeling to it.” 

For Banham, the song was a reunion with an old friend.  “I sang it when I was in high school, where I was a vocalist in the jazz band,” she said. “It really kind of opened my eyes to how fun jazz can be.”

Fun — and emotional.

Kala Banham performs on The Voice.

After her performance, fellow Coaches were clearly impressed. Blake Shelton said she should advance to the next level, while Niall Horan declared that “that song was made for you."

Kelly Clarkson said that Banham’s version of the standard was “as if that was a brand new song. It was so beautiful and dark, but inspiring. It was all the great adjectives.”

Chance seized the moment to express pride — and to throw some friendly shade at his fellow Coaches. 

“That was so incredible. It's crazy that you slipped through two other Coaches. You made me cry in the rehearsal.”

Shelton didn’t miss the chance for a little good-natured teasing with Chance. “You cried?” he said.


“Real men do cry,” quipped Clarkson. 

Pretending that he didn’t quite get the meaning of the song title, Shelton joked, “It’s funny valentine.”

Chance had to make some seriously tough decisions about who on his team would advance to the Live Semifinals of the NBC competition. 

“Everybody top to bottom should be winning the show,” Chance said, agonizing over the choice. “Why is it so hard for me?”

RELATED: Here's What Chance The Rapper Has Said About His Tattoo — and a Possible Second One

In the end, Chance chose Sorelle and Ray Uriel as his two Artists moving up. Shelton gave the greenlight to NOIVAS and Grace West to advance on The Voice.

Chance spoke for all of the Coaches when he said, “We’re trying to take it all the way.”

To find out who advances on the other two teams, watch The Voice on NBC Mondays at 8/7c and streaming the next day on Peacock.