The Voice recap: The Neverending Sob Story

Rockers steal the show, but two major trends are keeping this season from hitting a high note.
Ep. 04 | Aired Mar 4, 2014

RUGE AWAKENING '80s rocker Megan Ruger kicked off the episode with some stylish vocals, but she's falling victim to the same problem as others this season: the Unnecessary Backstory.


Megan Ruger, 26, Twin Lakes, WI
Genre: ‘80s rock by way of Patsy Cline
Unnecessary Backstory: “When I was 10 years old I found out my dad wasn’t my biological father.”
Song: “Just Like a Pill” – P!nk
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Megan -- typically the judges tend to turn rather quickly for powerful rockers, but Megan’s audition wasn’t frontloaded with a lot of showy high notes. When she did finally hit her upper register, Blake and Usher took notice and swooped in at the last second with double turns. You could tell Usher was obsessed with Megan’s rocker look, but Blake had the edge since Megan lives in Nashville (although, in her pre-tape, she expressed a desire to ditch the city, so Blake would not be the ostensible right choice). Megan asks who likes ‘80s rock more and Blake raises his hand, so unsurprisingly Megan goes for Team Blake.
Potential-o-Meter: 5/10 but she needs more oomph

Morgan Wallen, 20, Knoxville, TN
Day Job: Landscaper
Looks Like: Paul Dano in Malibu
Necessary Backstory: Was offered a record contract but mom turned it down so he could have a normal life
Unnecessary Backstory: Rejected from his baseball scholarship after a torn UCL
Song: “Collide” - Howie Day
I really liked Morgan, who didn’t know how to get into music if not for a show like The Voice. That’s the kind of guy the show needs -- pure, wholesome, nicely talented and totally untouched by the music industry thus far. Shakira immediately (and I mean immediately) recognizes the value of Morgan after just a few seconds, and maybe it’s the pleasant rasp that makes Usher eventually spin as well. Morgan’s got great control up high and there’s no shame in his simple runs. A commercial break wasn’t exactly necessary to show Morgan’s eventual decision for Team Usher, but whatever, that’s the world we live in now.
Potential-o-Meter: 6.5/10 if he can be more confident

James Cavern, 26, Sacramento, CA
OMG He’s: British!
Necessary Backstory: Pressure to be a doctor from his parents, who don’t understand his love of music
Song: “Let’s Get It On” – Marvin Gaye
Oh man. James was a total surprise in so many ways, and I was so disappointed that nobody turned. To be fair, the song doesn’t elevate great singers -- it merely showcases good ones. I’d be interested to hear James sing something else if he came back in the wildcards, which might very well happen since Blake has so few team members so far.

In the interim, Shakira grabs a PR rep named Dani Moz and a single mother named Music Box. NAMED MUSIC BOX. Blake adds a high schooler named Lexi Luca.

Emily B., 33, American Falls, ID
Day Job: “Session singer”
Worked On: Pitch Perfect, The Muppets and Cee Lo’s Christmas album
Necessary or Unncessary (I Can’t Decide) Backstory: Underwent two brain surgeries to fix a rare eye syndrome
Song: “Wicked Game” – Chris Isaak
Emily’s pretty fantastic, and it’s Shakira and Blake who recognize it. Late To The Party Usher is, of course, late to the party, but he also turns. Shakira stands again, because that’s what she does when she really wants somebody. After some awfully boring banter, Emily chooses Team Shakira, but not without a vow from Blake to steal.
Potential-o-Meter: 8/10

Stevie Jo Rosenbaum, 19, Tyler, TX
Parents: Heavy metal band members
Genre: R&B/soul
Unnecessary Backstory: His sisters made fun of him
Song: “There Goes My Baby” – Usher
So apparently the interesting thing about Stevie Jo is that he isn’t black, which manages to surprise every coach even though plenty of other auditioners don’t look the way their voice might suggest (also, do we need to have a discussion about what races “should” sound like, because it’s season six and that’s kind of ridiculous at this point). Usher turns after Stevie Jo hits a money note, but neither Adam nor Blake bother turning because they assume he’ll go with Team Usher since, after all, it’s his song.
Adam Says: “I was pretty sure that you weren’t a white guy. He sounds like Usher, he looks like Blake.”
Potential-o-Meter: 7.5/10 if Usher doesn’t hate him by next week

Audra McLaughlin, 21, Philadelphia, PA
Not: Audra McDonald
But: Audra McLaughlin
Unnecessary Backstory: “I had a really tough time growing up. I had a learning disability.”
Song: “Angel From Montgomery” – John Prine
Not only does Audra have the greatest singer-songwriter name EVER, but she’s also got a pretty incredible voice to back it up. The entire episode teased Adam looking for “the one,” and since she’s the last contestant, it’s not much of a surprise that Adam turns first (followed by everyone), but Audra eventually pledges her loyalty to Team Blake. She’s got sort of a country spin piled on top of a much stronger pop voice, so it’ll be fun to see which muscle she chooses to flex given her coach.
Potential-o-Meter: 9/10

Thoughts on tonight's hour-long ep? Do you agree with me about this season's unfortunate trends? Leave a comment, yo, and I'll see you next week.

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