Father and daughter try out separately for ‘The Voice' – but only one makes it through
The Voice is a family-friendly show — sometimes literally, with last week’s auditions featuring a sibling trio. But on this Monday’s Blind Auditions episode, a father and daughter were torn asunder, when 40-year-old music veteran Patrick McAloon and his 16-year-old daughter Ruby both tried out, separately… and only one of them turned any chairs.
OK, so maybe it wasn’t that dramatic. I am fairly certain that the McAloons aren’t estranged and will still be speaking to each other at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. But still, this was a Voice first. And considering this series’ ever-increasing fetishizing of teen contestants, it is a bit of a bombshell that Patrick, a longtime touring sideman for Pat McGee, made it through instead of diamond-in-the-rough Ruby.
To be fair, Patrick’s experience gave him a big advantage during his pretty and plaintive cover of the under-appreciated Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train” — which is why Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, and John Legend all spun around. (Nineties alt-rock fanatic Adam easily won Patrick over in the end, after they bonded over their shared fondness for Sting and Peter Gabriel.) Ruby may have fared better if she’d performed the first song she ever wrote as a kid, “Butterflies Are Cute.” Or, it would have been a cool TV moment if she’d done the same Soul Asylum song as her dad, but with her own spin. But her song choice, Selena Gomez’s wordy and rapid-fire “Back to You,” seemed way too challenging for her. She sounded “unsure,” as John put it.
On the happy side, Patrick’s new coach, Adam, promised to coach Ruby by association. On the downer side, we all know disloyal Adam was probably lying. But Ruby at least has plenty of years to try out again.
These were Monday’s other successful auditions:
Jacob Maxwell, 20: “Delicate”
I enjoyed this long-haired WGWG’s understated and earnest Taylor Swift cover because, let’s face it, the whole gender-flipping shtick is a classic singing-show tactic. But I didn’t think Jacob’s voice was anything too spectacular, and apparently neither did Adam and Blake. (“Adam and I both were just waiting for kind of what you did at the end,” Blake shrugged.)
Who turned? John and Kelly.
Result: Team Legend. Jacob seemed to be an Adam Levine fanboy, and he probably would’ve joined Team Adam if he’d had the opportunity. But John won Jacob over by comparing his voice to Jeff Buckley (NO) and James Morrison and his looks to Leonardo DiCaprio.
Karly Moreno, 23: “Starving”
This Sk8r girl was button-cute, but her voice on this Hailee Steinfeld song was squeaky and weak. Her vocals seemed… starved. John later said her audition sounded “pure” but lacked range. He wasn’t wrong.
Who turned? Only Adam. I’d actually expected Karly to end up on the Island of Misfit Toys, a.k.a. fifth coach Bebe Rexha’s online-only Comeback Stage team of rejected second-chancers.
Result: Team Adam, who likened Karly to Regina Spektor (NO). “She’s got Adam now, and that’s probably even worse than not making it onto the show at all,” joked Blake. Or maybe Blake wasn’t joking.
Carter Lloyd Horne, 19: “Drinkin’ Problem”
This formerly homeless Georgia troubadour poured (no pun intended) all his heartache into his grizzled Midland cover, reminding me of ‘70s country silver fox Charlie Rich. Every season has a young kid with an old soul, and this kid was especially old-soulful. How could someone not even of legal drinking age do this song so much justice?
Who turned? Kelly and Blake — but at the very last minute. I would have buzzed in much earlier.
Result: Team Blake. Maybe Carter didn’t find it flattering when Kelly told him he sounded like he was 50 years old.
Talon Cardon, 18: “Say You Won’t Let Go”
This waiter sang a hit by X Factor U.K. champ James Arthur, but this was not a winning performance. The song was in way too low a key, Talon’s diction was slurred, and he strayed so far from the melody that I barely recognized the song.
Who turned? Shockingly, John — again, at the very last minute. Talon’s final note did sound pretty good, but that was hardly enough to redeem this entire performance. Adam threw some subtle shade by implying that John was “banking on potential” by turning for Talon.
Result: Team Legend. But I suspect Talon will be quickly sacrificed in the Battles.
Alena D’Amico, 26: “In My Blood”
This likable girl with a big personality, from a big Italian family, did a song I really never need to hear on any singing show ever again. But she had a beautiful, polished, classic pop-diva voice. I knew right away she was Team Kelly material.
Who turned? Blake and Kelly.
Result: Team Kelly, of course!
Kanard Thomas, 28: “Riding With the King”
This young dad works for a B.B. King blues band on a Holland America cruise ship. And his Eric Clapton/B.B. King cover sounded like… well, a performance by a B.B. King blues band on a Holland America cruise ship. John “didn’t feel any flair,” and Blake said “the performance should have more edge and a little more desperation and angst.” They weren’t wrong.
Who turned? No one, unsurprisingly.
Result: Team Bebe, surprisingly. Why is this guy getting another shot?
Now let’s all take a commercial break and enjoy this clip of Bebe Rexha shilling for Lay’s:
Dexter Roberts, 27: “Like a Cowboy”
This Alabama country boy’s sob story was he got very sick a few years ago after he contracted Rocky Mountain spotted tick fever while hunting. The missing piece of that story, however, which Voice producers conveniently failed to mention, was that Dexter made it all the way to seventh place on American Idol Season 13 — and he actually dropped out of that season’s Idol tour due to his illness. But that omission is no shock, considering that the show has refused to acknowledge even coaches Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson’s Idol pasts. Anyway, I’m glad Dexter is feeling better and giving singing another go. This audition was solid — actually better than I recall him sounding on Idol.
Who turned? All four coaches.
Result: Team Blake. If only Kelly had been able to bond with Dexter over their shared Idol backgrounds, she might’ve had a shot!
Jej Vinson, 22: “Passionfruit”
Jej’s family moved to the U.S. when he was 15 years old to pursue the American dream, and Jej’s dream is to make music. I think that dream is going to come true, because this was one of the standout auditions of the season so far. Jej’s unique Drake cover showcased beautiful control, an impeccable sense of dynamics, and a lot of heart.
Who turned? All four coaches, who were totally freaking out. Adam told him, “You’re a better singer than all of us.” Said Blake, “We all feel like we’re looking at the winner of The Voice this season.” And Kelly was thrilled just to shake Jej’s hand.
Result: Team Kelly. She may be on to a threepeat Voice victory with this guy.