Picky, picky, picky! As Blake Shelton, Shakira, Adam Levine and Usher’s contestant slots fill up, The Voice coaches are getting stingier with their red buttons. Coach Levine only spun once on Tuesday night (March 4) and has yet to file a complaint that his chair is broken.
This season’s crop of talented contestants has all four coaches compiling some of the strongest Voice teams to date. So…yeah…no more “so so’s” have been sneaking through the Blind Auditions. Sorry, kids: this isn’t Season 1.
The standards are high, but some contestants are delivering. Here’s who wowed their way to the next round.
Megan Rüger – 26 – Tennessee
Pop rocker Megan Rüger, the first contestant this season to require me to look up the umlaut input, is a working artist in Nashville. The edgy-looking artist is a true musical chameleon comfortable performing country, rock and pop, so her coach choice might just define her genre for the season. Megan’s performance of Pink’s “Just Like A Pill” is a little slow to start, but ultimately earns spins from Blake and Usher when she hits her final runs.
“You did not lack in enthusiasm, specifically when you reached that run,” says Usher. “I plan on being that mentor that brings out the best in you.”
Joking to Usher that Nashville is “one of your favorite states” (nice Season 4 callback burn, Shelton), Blake tells Megan, “I just like winning.”
His simple approach wins the (now probably country) singer over, as Megan joins Team Blake.
Morgan Wallen – 20 – Tennessee
Tennessee native Morgan Wallen turned to music after his first career option, baseball, was destroyed during a curve ball injury. “It’s do or die,” he says of his shot at the completely reasonable backup career. Morgan sings a raspy version of Howie Day‘s “Collide,” earning spins from Shakira and Usher.
“Your voice is unique. It has this raspy tone and gritty sound to it,” says Shakira.
Usher agrees that Morgan’s voice is unique, but opts for the tough love appeal. “There were some moments in your performance I feel like were not properly executed, but that’s where coaching comes in,” he says.
Selecting honesty over flattery, Morgan joins Team Usher.
Emily B. – 33 – Idaho
Idaho-born Emily B. is now a session singer in Los Angeles, and has provided vocal tracks for The Muppets, Pitch Perfect and Cee Lo’sMagic Moment. Motivated by the massive brain surgery she underwent just following her honeymoon, she is pursuing her dream of becoming a solo artist. In her Blind Audition, Emily sings Chris Isaak’s sensual “Wicked Game” with a beautiful tone punctuated by sweet falsettos. Adam remains picky, but Shakira, Blake and Usher all turn around.
“The fact that you made it yours definitely gave me a lot of hope in what I could do with you and creating your originality,” says Usher.
“Your falsetto is incredibly strong, and you nailed it,” says Blake
“You made an intelligent choice by changing the arrangement, and I hope you make another intelligent choice by picking me,” says Shakira.
Emily demonstrates said intelligence and joins the pop diva coach.
Stevie Jo – 19 – Texas
Texas teen Stevie Jo may come from a rock lineage (both of his parents performed in a metal band), but his genre of choice gravitates toward R&B. He sings Usher’s “There Goes My Baby,” earning a well-deserved spin from Usher. Seeing the white R&B singer in front of them post performance proves to be utterly confusing for the coaches, who mostly keep the focus on his race instead of his voice.
“It’s a white man!” Adam declares. “I was pretty sure that you weren’t a white guy.” Oh my god,
Karen Adam. You can’t just ask people why they’re white.
“I actually thought you were black, too,” says Usher.
“He sounds like Usher, but he looks like Blake,” says Adam, in case the original point wasn’t clear.
Usher praises his new team member for his taste in music (naturally), and his solid performance. “You really did a great job maneuvering in and out of the record,” he says.
Audra McLaughlin – 21 – Pennsylvania
In a night without a #4chairs, or even a single spin by Adam Levine, a real show-stopper is needed to close out the night. Audra McLaughlin is that showstopper. The 21-year-old earns spins from all four coaches with her powerful yet controlled performance of Bonnie Raitt‘s version of ”Angel From Montgomery.”
“I was compelled to turn around by what I heard,” says Adam, who calls her beautiful and smolders her with his eyes.
“I really want the world to recognize you for the amazing, immaculate voice that you are,” says Usher, laying it on pretty thick.
“Your voice is out of this world,” says Shakira, adding, “I can help you get to the top.”
Throwing a hail Mary, Blake plays the Miranda Lambert card. ”My wife introduced me to that song,” says Blake. “When you started singing it, I was holding you to Miranda’s standard.”
The wife card works, and Audra joins Team Blake.
They were here too!
Their performances didn’t make the show, but these contestants did make the next round: Dani Moz and Music Box (which, to clarify, is a name) join Team Shakira, and high school student Lexi Luca joins Team Blake.
It was a slow episode for Adam, but all of the coaches will be tapping that button when the Blind Auditions wrap up next week and they have to work extra hard to woo the remaining contestants to fill out their rosters.
Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.
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