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Why “Exceptionally Gifted” Chechi Sarai’s Battle Was Deemed “Grammys”-Level
Chechi Sarai's vocal range and command might be unmatched on The Voice.
The Battles rage on, on Season 24 of The Voice, with a matchup between Calla Prejean and Chechi Sarai. Both from Team Gwen, Calla and Chechi faced off in a shared performance of Lady Gaga’s “I Will Never Love Again.” Right away, it became clear it would be a decision between Calla’s soft, approachable tone and Chechi’s intense, octave-pushing vocal power.
The music began with a soft, tinkling piano track, setting the vibe for a song which requires vulnerability and confidence in equal measure. During rehearsals, Gwen noted that when singing this song (or any song for that matter), delivery is as important as vocal performance. Not in spite of, but because of Chechi and Calla’s differing voices, they were able to deliver a performance greater than the sum of its parts.
Calla Prejean and Chechi Sarai sing “I Will Never Love Again” by Lady Gaga on The Voice Season 24 Battles
John Legend delivered his first bit of feedback nonverbally, by way of a silent hand wave to Chechi during the performance. But he had more to say once the song came to a close. “Chechi, you’re exceptionally gifted; your range is ridiculous,” he said. “The beginning sounded so rich and full and the fact that you can do that and still hit those super high notes in the stratosphere is amazing. You really gave a really great performance.”
Reba highlighted the way the two worked together, complimenting one another to produce beautiful harmonies while also giving one another room to shine. In particular, Reba cited Calla’s gentle whispering notes and Chechi’s vast vocal range as high points of the performance. “The range of this song is crazy, and you gals covered it to perfection,” Reba said.
Niall agreed, although more vehemently. “That’s such a tough song to take on, she (Gwen) should really apologize,” Niall said, and though he didn’t come right out with it, his comments suggest he favored Calla. “Calla, that thing Reba was just talking about, that whisper, I could listen to that forever,” Niall said.
Gwen, meanwhile, was beaming with pride at the progress both singers had made. “Calla, it was emotional, it was perfect. It was in tune, the look on your face, everything you did was perfection,” Gwen said. “Chechi, you’re so amazing, that was like a Grammy’s first verse, for me. It was so good. I could still see this little bit of insecure version of you that doesn’t belong on that stage or in your life. You’re just not that girl. I’m proud of both of you guys, that was just such an incredible performance.”
But there was only room for one of them on Team Gwen, and a choice had to be made. “It was a really hard decision, but I just know that Chechi has what it takes to have a flawless performance… she’s somebody I can really work with, I can help her. I’m excited about that,” Gwen said.