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Joanna Serenko of Kirkwood came away from 'The Voice' with 'confidence and credibility'

Joanna Serenko of Kirkwood came away from 'The Voice' with 'confidence and credibility'

Joanna Serenko

THE VOICE -- "Knockout Rounds" Episode 1809 -- Pictured: Joanna Serenko -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

Joanna Serenko fell shy of making it into “The Voice” finals, which air Monday and Tuesday, but don’t feel bad for the 19-year-old Kirkwood singer.

“I’m actually really good," she said Wednesday, a day after being eliminated during the show's semifinals. "I’m totally fine with the outcome, and I think it’s well deserved for everybody who moved forward. I’ve gotten enough out of it to be satisfied.”

Serenko found her experience on "The Voice" to be validating. She proved that her own voice could take her places.

“It gave me a huge sense of confidence and credibility," she says. "‘The Voice’ and ‘American Idol’ is something every singer tries out, for once in their lifetime, to see if they can make it. To see myself make the top nine is an incredible thing."

Some of her newfound confidence came from the feedback she received from the show's coaches — Blake Shelton, John Legend, Nick Jonas and Kelly Clarkson — who urged her to believe in herself.

She took the critiques to heart, boldly confronting the notes that once intimidated her. 

Serenko’s time on "The Voice" was a whirlwind, beginning with a four-chair turn in her Blind Audition. She spent time on Jonas', Legend's and Shelton’s teams in a series of saves and near-eliminations. She got additional coaching from James Taylor and ended the season performing remotely from her family's basement.

“It’s just been exhausting doing the whole thing," she says. "Now I have free time finally. Now I can release music and post videos again instead of solely working on one thing. I’m happy." 

Her final moments in the semifinals saw her and four other singers vying for the sole remaining slot in the finals. After each singer performed, viewers voted during a commercial break. 

Serenko’s teammate Toneisha Harris advanced after singing Minnie Riperton’s “Loving You.” Serenko’s last-shot performance was of Allen Stone’s “Unaware.”

“I knew Toneisha had what it took to move to the next round," Serenko says. "That was the only person I was intimidated by. I thought it was going to be me or Toneisha.”

Of her many performances on the show, Serenko's favorite was “All My Loving," during Blind Auditions. The coaches also loved it.

“I just had to turn one chair around," she says. "I was the most relaxed. I didn’t get in my own head about it."

She also loved her Battle Round performance of Billie Eilish’s “When the Party’s Over."

“I was worried about the song because it wasn’t in my wheelhouse, but Nick (Jonas) was right about using it," she says. "I put it in my wheelhouse and made it my own.”

By the time semifinals began, the coronavirus pandemic had hit, and singers and coaches began broadcasting from their homes. The earlier rounds were prerecorded.

The show shipped boxes of audio and video equipment, as well as props such as candles, pillows and lamps, to Serenko’s home so she could film in her basement setup. 


THE VOICE -- "Top 17 Performances" -- Pictured in this screen grab: Joanna Serenko -- (Photo by: NBC)

“It was pretty crazy. Every day was like Christmas,” she says of the multiple deliveries.

She was intimidated by the equipment at first, but the show also sent a tablet that she could use to communicate with technicians, who walked her through setting up her home studio.

“Before, I was just a singer," she says. "Now I know stuff about production and making a music video.”

Having “The Voice” in her home made the experience more intimate than if she had been in the show’s Hollywood studio. She used Zoom to talk to her coach, Shelton.

“Blake got to meet my mom," Serenko says. "He got to know my family history, and we had a really friendly talk. It didn’t feel like we were talking to a celebrity.”

Serenko looks forward to performing with her St. Louis band as soon as her “Voice” contract allows her to do so. And she's eager for new and old fans to hear her new single, “Good Side,” which she's releasing this summer. It’s the follow-up to “Best of Me,” which came out before “The Voice.”

She basks in original music — something she wasn’t able to do on “The Voice.”

She recorded “Good Side” in New York City with New York-based musicians; her cousin Jake Goldbas is on drums.

“I’m excited about it," Serenko says. "It’s like an Al Green vibe but more poppy. It’s about this relationship I had with somebody who would always show me his good side, but he had a bad side, too.”

Serenko is currently featured on a song called “Playlist” by her country music boyfriend, Tyler Dale. He was seen on “The Voice,” supporting Serenko, along with her mother.

“I want to continue this momentum and keep recording and writing,” she says. “I’m more free on how I can conduct myself as a musician.”

A look back at 18 St. Louisans on TV singing shows

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