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How Rudi’s “Crazy Vocal Abilities” in the Knockouts Led to a Save and Double Steal

Coach Gwen Stefani said she had a plan before she announced the winner of the Knockout — and she did. 

By James Grebey

“Before being on The Voice, I was cleaning cars,” explained Rudi ahead of the Knockouts on Season 24 of the hit competition show. “I don’t want to clean cars anymore… please.”

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Rudi won’t be going back to the carwash just yet, because she made it through the knockouts thanks to Coach Gwen Stefani’s plan, plus two other coaches’ attempts to Steal her despite Stefani’s Save. 

Rudi sings Silk Sonic's “Smokin Out the Window” in The Voice Season 24 Knockouts 

Rudi performed on Tuesday night, competing against two other members of Team Gwen, Tanner Massey and Chechi Sarai. Massey, a new addition to Team Gwen after she stole him from Coach Niall Horan’s team during the Battles, opted to sing “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes, and Sarai chose “Never Can Say Goodbye” by the Jackson Five. Rudi selected “Smokin Out the Window” the 2021 R&B song by Silk Sonic, the super-duo consisting of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak.

RELATED: See Why Rudi’s “Insane” 4-Chair Audition Made Niall Horan Block John Legend

During rehearsals, both Stefani and Mega Mengtor Wynonna Judd expressed surprise to hear Rudi’s voice, tackling this sort of song, coming out of her. Or, as Judd put it, “You’ve got frickin’ bows on your arms for chrissakes, then you come out all gangsta!” 

Both Stefani and Judd encouraged Rudi to push up the attitude in her performance, and she delivered on the stage, going third after Massey and Sarai.

“Your stage demeanor is authentic and cool. You’re dope,” Coach John Legend said of Rudi, though he said that Massey was his favorite of the bunch because of the emotional connection he felt with the song, despite it not being pitch-perfect. Horan also leaned towards Massey, who he regretted letting slip from his Team.

Tanner Massey, Rudi, and Chechi Sarai stand together on The Voice stage

“I loved the way you played the audience,” Coach Reba McEntire told Rudi. “That’s a great trait you have of making us feel comfortable because you were having fun.”

Before she made her decision, Stefani heaped praise on Rudi as well. “Rudi, you have this crazy vocal ability, it’s ridiculous, what you can do,” Stefani said. “You’re one of the strongest on Team Gwen, I adore working with you.”

However, Stefani named Massey the winner of the Knockout — but not before letting everybody know she “had a plan.”

As soon as they had the chance, three of the four Coaches pounced. Stefani slammed her button to Save Rudi while McEntire and Legend hit theirs in an attempt to steal her. “I’m going to pass out,” Rudi joked.

RELATED: Why Rudi’s “Powerful” Voice Was Compared to “Climbing a Mountain” During the Battles

“Just focus for a sec, Rudi,” Stefani told the overwhelmed singer in an effort to make sure McEntire or Legend didn’t derail her plan. “Do not look anywhere but straight towards your Coach. I am your Coach. I am your favorite. What did I say? I have a plan. I feel like if you go with anyone else… I will die.”

Then it was up to McEntire and Legend to make their bid for Rudi.  

“I turned for you during the bling auditions. I love your voice, I love everything about you. I get why you do different songs. You're either looking for yourself to see who you are, or looking for a little help from the Coaches to say, ‘You do better in this category,’” McEntire said, trying to form a connection with Rudi. “I can relate to that. I’ve gotten to sing lots of different types of genres of songs.”

Legend, too, attempted to woo Rudi but she decided to stick with Stefani, who apologized and told Rudi that she “did not mean to scare you like that,” later telling Rudi that she was allowed to be mad at her.

It would appear that Stefani made the right tactical call. Both McEntire and Legend said they would have tried to save Massey if Stefani hadn’t picked him to win outright. In that case, Stefani perhaps gambled that Rudi was more likely to stick with Team Gwen, given options, than the relative newcomer Massey might have been. 

“Of course, Gwen had a plan, and my steal went for naught,” Legend said. 

But how far will Rudi go? Find out by watching The Voice Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock.