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"Totally Opposite" Kamalei Kawa’a & Gabriel Goes' Hawaiian Sing-Off Lit Up the Battles

Kamalei Kawa'a and Gabriel Goes go head-to-head in the Battles on The Voice Season 25.

By Cassidy Ward

The Blinds have come to an end, and Season 25 of The Voice is off to the races with the first night of Battles. Two artists from the same Coach’s Team sing the same song head-to-head, on stage at the same time. Two contestants enter the Battles, one remains and the other goes home.

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Watch The Voice Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock. 

For Team Chance, singers Gabriel Goes and Kamalei Kawa’a spent the week putting their own spin on the classic song “Over the Rainbow.” The tune was originally written for the 1939 film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz and made famous by Judy Garland. It was later reinvented for the ukulele by Hawaiian artist Israel “Iz” Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole.

Kamalei Kawa’a and Gabriel Goes Sing “Over the Rainbow” on The Voice

Iz’s cover has spent more than 540 weeks (that’s more than a decade) at #1 on Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales chart and the official music video has stacked up more than a billion views. In 2011, NPR named Iz the Voice of Hawaii for his contributions to music.

RELATED: An Official Recap of Team Chance on The Voice Season 25

Gabriel and Kamalei gave each other some love backstage during rehearsals over their shared connection to the song. Gabriel’s family is from Brazil, but his parents moved to Hawaii before he was born. He has lived on the island his entire life. Kamalei and his family are Native Hawaiian, fueling a deep connection to the island and its people. “Doing this song is taking me home,” Kamalei said during rehearsals.

Gabriel Goes and Kamalei Kawa'a appear in Season 25 Episode 7 of The Voice

Kamalei, Gabriel, and Chance worked together with the backing band to craft a unique performance which honors the song’s importance and history while giving the artists an opportunity to shine. “This is such an important song, we just want to get it all the way right,” said Coach Chance the Rapper. “Being a little bit confused and trying new things is my favorite part of arranging.”

All of that effort paid off once the time to do Battle arrived. Both voices came in together, harmonizing on vocal runs that open the song. During the Battles, artists tend to trade lines before joining forces to bring the song home. Gabriel was the first to go solo, bringing a slightly chaotic, youthful energy to the song while Kamalei brought a sort of concentrated calm to the stage.

Either could have handled the song on their own but both were enhanced by the contributions of their partner and rival. The result was like a sonic chocolate chip cookie, warm and comforting with bursts of more intense flavor. Perfectly paired and beautifully balanced.

RELATED: Why Kamalei Kawa’a’s “Spiritual” Cover of “Redemption Song” Blew Away the Coaches

“The song selection was awesome. It just brought a lot of good vibes. You represented Hawaii very well and it was amazing to watch,” said Coach Shay, one half of the Coaching duo Dan + Shay. Coaching partner Dan added, “There were some great individual moments by each of you throughout and I felt the vibes from that in a big way.” In the end, Dan + Shay didn’t offer a recommendation, deciding instead to “leave it to … Chance.”

“Gabriel, I love how you do some fun, unexpected things with your voice. Overall, I like the charisma and personality you add to everything you do,” said Coach John Legend. “Kamalei, your voice is graceful. It feels inviting. I think just by a little bit I would say Kamalei was my favorite.”

Coach Reba also honed in on the tonal differences between Kamalei and Gabriel, and the ways they worked together to create something beautiful. “Kamalei, I think you handled it really well with Gabriel coming out like a live wire,” Reba said. “You guys are totally opposite. Calm, serene I know where I am,” Reba said to Kamalei, before turning to Gabriel. “And then you’re, ‘Aaah, I’m here and I’m going to have a good time.’ Kamalei, I love your voice. It’s round, smooth, like butter. Gabriel, you’ve got a great voice too!”

With the feedback dispensed and the opinions offered, the only thing left was for Chance to decide who would go to the Playoffs and who would go home. “Gabriel, everybody likes you. Kamalei, I really respected how you brought the song to life. I could tell you were focused on your hometown, what the song was going to mean when you sang it,” Chance said. “Gabriel, I just feel like you rise to every occasion. I just want to say to both y’all, I think it was a great performance. Very tough one, but the winner of this battle is Kamalei.”

Both Kamalei and Gabriel brought something unique to the performance, but Chance noted Kamalei’s dedication and stronger grasp of the song as deciding factors. “I love Kamalei’s voice. It’s so smooth but it also feels intentional and like he’s got something to say every time he opens his mouth. I think he’s got a lot more left to show,” Chance said.

Find out for yourself with new episodes of The Voice Mondays at 8/7c and Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC and next day on Peacock.