Carson keeps describing Shakira's team as "eclectic," and I feel like it's not really a compliment. It meets our expectation of Shakira's lack of strategy as a coach, certainly, but no one else's team is being labeled at all. Before this round of blind auditions, we catch the coaches in a "candid" moment with Carson backstage, just shootin' the shit, talking about how their coaching styles have influenced each other. Blake makes a lot of jokes and Usher is just like, "luck favors the prepared." It sometimes feels like Usher is the only one taking this seriously.
The first auditioner is Ryan Whyte Maloney. He has a sort of rockabilly aesthetic, and used to be a garbage man. While he was garbaging and gigging in Las Vegas, he met his wife, who took the kids and left him for a more stable environment. From what I can tell, he did not follow them. Carson has a weird video message for Ryan from his kids, who shot it in a dark room and/or the set of an episode of Criminal Minds. Ryan admits to Carson that he doesn't see his kids very often. So wait, what is actually happening with this family situation? He wanted to pursue his music dreams so stubbornly that he lost his kids because of it?
Ryan says that if he makes it big on The Voice (his big break!) he could make enough money to go visit his kids more. Aghhh, what the hell? He says his kids need him and he wants to be a better dad, so that's why he's going on this show. This is backwards logic. That's like saying I want my boyfriend to respect me more so I'm going to keep stripping.
The coaches comment on Ryan's shoes as he gets on stage, because shoes are the true measure of a good singer. Ryan's playing the guitar and really squeezing out "Lights" by Journey. This is one of mine and Adam's favorite songs. His voice sounds very early 2000s emo/rock but laying it over some classic rock was a better choice than, say, Good Charlotte. It's too strained for my taste, but Blake and Adam push their buttons right away, followed by Shakira. Usher waits until the very end because he's not desperate. Usher says he took his time because he wanted to see if Ryan would continue to work for that turn.
Usher is very cool, and then Adam craps all over the stage by being like "you sound like Steve Perry" and saying they are already friends because they both have high voices. Ugh, Ryan is going to bother me. Blake says he doesn't think Ryan sounds like Steve Perry, and that he sounds like an original. Before choosing a coach, Ryan mentions yet again that he has two kids. If we were doing a drink every time he said that, we'd already be hammered. He says his son would tell him to choose Blake, so he ends up on the country team. Blake dances in front of the chairs, the crowd craps their collective pants.