Meet Karen Waldrup, ‘The Voice’ Contestant Who Started A Feud Between Coaches Reba McEntire And Dan + Shay

Waldrup stole the show with this Jo Dee Messina cover.


Melanie Rooten

| Posted on

February 28, 2024

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Karen Waldrup; Photo by: Casey Durkin/NBC

Stealing the spotlight in a silver fringe jacket, silver chain belt, and thigh-high black boots, Karen Waldrup looked like a true country music superstar as soon as she stepped onstage for her blind audition for The Voice season 25, and her vocals were equally as exceptional as her ensemble.

With a classic country sound that would have easily landed her a spot on the inaugural Team Reba last season, now with two country acts on the panel – as well as returnees John Legend and Chance the Rapper – Dan + Shay might have just started a feud with the “I’m a Survivor” singer. 

Karen Waldrup; Photo by: Casey Durkin/NBC
Karen Waldrup; Photo by: Casey Durkin/NBC

Waldrup Auditions With “Bye Bye” By Jo Dee Messina

Within the first few seconds of the song, not only did newcomers Dan + Shay spin around in their double chair – the first one in franchise history – but they also blocked the queen of country music herself, Reba McEntire, ultimately prohibiting her from adding Waldrup to her team (at least for now).

As soon as the chorus hit, Reba decided she wanted a piece of the action, pressing her button only to realize that the “Speechless” singers had already struck. 

Despite showcasing some major star power onstage, Waldrup only secured a two-chair turn, failing to receive an offer from John Legend and Chance the Rapper. With Reba being blocked, she ultimately secured a spot on the inaugural Team Dan + Shay, something that she was thrilled about nonetheless.

Karen Waldrup; Photo by: Casey Durkin/NBC
Karen Waldrup; Photo by: Casey Durkin/NBC

McEntire Reacts To Being Blocked

“You hate to see it Reba,” Shay Mooney exclaimed, before singing the lyrics to “Bye Bye” alongside his partner, Dan Smyers, to the Oklahoma native.

Promising “payback” on the GRAMMY Award-winning duo, Reba then proceeded to greet Waldrup, praising her performance. “Well, what a great song to pick. I know Jo Dee‘s going to be so thrilled to hear this. You did a wonderful job. I tried to turn around in true lovers’ fashion here, but I got blocked,” the Country Music Hall of Famer dished.

Despite not turning his chair – telling Waldrup that he did not turn “just because it didn’t feel like it was [his] cup of tea” – John Legend chimed in: “There’s been a little feud started here between Reba and Dan + Shay, as this is the first time we’ve ever had two country chairs on the show. They’ve been blocking each other to get to the country artists that they want, and so take it as a sign of respect and love for your talent that they chose to use their only block for the opportunity to work with you.”

Karen Waldrup; Photo by: Danny Ventrella/NBC
Karen Waldrup; Photo by: Danny Ventrella/NBC

Landing A Spot On The Inaugural Team Dan + Shay

Following the feedback from the coaches – which was overwhelmingly positive – Waldrup gushed about the opportunity to work with Dan + Shay on The Voice season 25. “Hey, I got two for one. I love it. I’m really excited. Thank you guys so much,” she gushed, prior to sharing just how much she loves the CMA and ACM Award-winning pair. 

She continued with a smile, “I want to let you guys know that I was there when you guys sang at the Grammys, way up in the cheap seats. It was so incredible and so moving, and I just loved every second of it, and I’m so excited about working with you guys.”

“We know how hard this is and you’re a pro,” Dan replied, diving into the details of just how much they love their new team member “So much charisma, no nerves. We turned around and you were working the crowd like you’ve done it for your whole life, and it was just incredible, so you’ve got what it takes to do well on this show.”

Sharing an embrace and securing her own Team Dan + Shay baseball jersey, Waldrup joined Team Dan + Shay members Justin & Jeremy Garcia and Ryan Argast, ready to dive headfirst into the beloved competition series. 

YouTube video

Who Is Karen Waldrup?

Waldrup is an extremely talented singer/songwriter who stems from Mandeville, Louisiana, currently living in Nashville, Tennessee, and it is no surprise that she is a spectacular performer. 

Performing at Music City’s iconic Whiskey Jam at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row in the past – as well as embarking on a 16-stop tour, which began on January 26 in Fort Worth, Texas and will end on June 29 in Lafayette, Louisiana – chances are The Voice stage will still be her biggest break yet, allowing her to showcase her talent to individuals all across America. 

Will she have what it takes to secure the win at the end of the hit competition show? Only time will tell…

The Voice returns to NBC with another round of blind auditions next Monday and Tuesday at 8pm ET/PT.

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Melanie Rooten

Written by

Melanie Rooten

Melanie has been writing for Country Now since August of 2023. Originally from Southern California and currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee, she graduated from Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma in 2023 with a BA in Journalism. During her free time, she loves going to concerts and music festivals, binging her favorite TV shows, spending time with her friends and family and cheering on the Oklahoma Sooners (of course).