MUSIC

Is Morgan Wallen Just a Scumbag?

This morning it was revealed that Wallen's use of a violent, racist epithet seemed to give his career a boost.

Morgan Wallen

At a maskless pool party in Tampa, Florida, last night, Diplo caught the attention of TMZ after he spun "Heartless," his country-pop duet with singer Morgan Wallen.

The performance came mere days after Wallen was caught on camera drunkenly spewing the n-word, the latest controversial act in what has become a tiresome cycle of lewd behavior from the singer.

Wallen's career briefly hit a snag as a result of this particular incident. He was not only suspended from his label, but his music had been removed from multiple radio outlets.

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Last night, we kicked off The Voice Battle Rounds: The Squeaquel with some super fun, super delightful performances.

Tonight, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Usher and Shakira will continue to narrow down their final teams with one hour more of performances. Quick, quick time is already running out!

First up is Team Blake's Sisaundra Lewis versus Biff Gore. OH come on, Blake. Did you have to put the only two grown ups on your team against each other? He gives them a few old school soul songs to choose from, but Biff and Sisaundra decide to take on James Brown's It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World. HO boy, this is going to be a good one. Chris Martin and Blake are both pretty speechless in the final rehearsal, because they are dealing with a couple of pros. "I feel like if James Brown saw that, he would feel great," Chris says, like the sweet little love bug he is. The actual performance is, of course, fantastic. Biff is delight to watch and listen to, Sisaundra is inhuman in her range, everything is working so well for them. There are a couple of moments where I fear Sisaundra might be oversinging just a little bit, but when she closes the song with an insane belt, it's hard to find a flaw. The coaches are all on their feet, and rightfully so - that was pretty epic. Blake can only pick one soulful singer to rock into the live playoffs, and that person is Sisaundra. Sorry, Biff!

Next up we have Team Shakira's Ddendyl against Deja Hall. They have elected to sing A Great Big World's Say Something, In rehearsals, both the girls sound pretty good, but Deja is having a hard time connecting to the song, since she hasn't been in love before. Chris Martin very helpfully offers up Harry Stiles as a substitute, and then says "oh me too," when Deja looks at him incredulously. Chris!! Who knew he was such a charmer?! In the performance, Ddendyl has a really nice breathy quality to her voice, but she's definitely channeling the indie darlings who rule the radio waves a little too hard, to the point where it feels a bit like an impression. Deja really shines in her lower register. She's a soft singer, but there is some serious power there. It's a pretty fair match, but between these two very different singers, I find myself gravitating to Deja. Shakira loves them both, but wants to move forward with the person who she thinks has shown the most growth, and that's Deja.

Quickly before break, we see a speed round from Shakira's Emily B. and Kristen Merlin. They chose to sing I Can Love You Better by the Dixie Chicks, and Kristen came out the winner. Damn, that's two rounds in a row of Kristen being relegated to the background. She's going to have an uphill climb ahead of her once votes are in the fans' hands.

The final performance of the night is between Team Usher's Morgan Wallen and Stevie Jo, who are apparently besties. That's cold, Ursh! The fellas with flowing locks have chosen to sing One Direction's Story Of My Life, which is a song that I unabashedly adore (check out Razorgator to see One Direction live.) Call me a Directioner if you must - this song rules. Both the dudes seem to be struggling during rehearsals, but given the fact that there is only 10 minutes left in tonight's show, I'm guessing they're going to turn it around. These guys have such different qualities to their voices. Stevie is so clear and controlled, while Morgan is raspy and a little rough around the edges. They both have fun with the song, and I'm happy to say that given the predictability of The Voice's final performance, both guys are sticking around. Usher compliments them both profusely before ultimately choosing Stevie Jo. And just as Morgan's walking the plank, Adam saves him with a fist bump and a steal.

Next week we'll be back for the final battle round! That is, assuming this show doesn't once again change the rules, which is always possible.

Stand Out Performance: This is a tie between Sisaundra and Biff, who brought the house down, and Stevie Jo's mom, who fangirled so hard over Usher kissing her cheek that she forgot to congratulate her own son.

Coach MVP: I'm tempted to give this one to Chris Martin again, because he's just so darn cute, but Adam's smooth steal of Morgan was enough to sway me otherwise.

We're already halfway done with The Voice blind auditions! Can you even believe it? Time flies when you're having fun.

Tonight, the coaches have one hour to make magic. Heading into the back half of the blinds, here's where we stand: Adam Levine and Usher each have 7 artists, Shakira has 6, and Blake Shelton is bringing up the rear with 4 artists.

Megan Rüger moved from Wisconsin to Nashville, where she bucked the country tradition in favor of 80s rock. She's wearing insane studded black leggings and a sequinned tube top, so she's killing it already. She sings Pink's Just Like a Pill, and she may claim to be a rocker not a country girl, but she definitely has some southern flavor in her voice. It takes a surprisingly long time, but at the last moment Blake and Usher hit their buttons. Her Nashville ties kick in, and Megan joins Team Blake.

Morgan Wallen is a landscaper from Kentucky who's been singing since he was a kid, and who got an offer for a record contract when he was 8 years old. well, all right then. His mom decided it was best for him to be a regular kid, so he focused on baseball instead, until a torn UCL sidelined his scholarship. Morgan Wallen: the very picture of so close and yet so far. He's singing Collide by Howie Day. He has a really nice, gritty voice, and he catches Shakira's attention immediately. After another verse, Usher is also won over by the relaxed rasp in Morgan's voice. Ursh and Shaks share a moment, so naturally Adam has to climb into Blake's lap. You crazy kids, never change. Morgan chooses Usher, but there's no sour grapes between he and Shaks, which they make be clear by doing the robot together. Obviously.

James Cavern's parents fled Vietnam after the war, and they do not support his choice to be a musician. He's hoping he can prove them wrong, taking the stage to sing Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On. He's fine. Not bad, but not great, and definitely no Marvin. He seems really sweet, and I kind of think with a better song choice he could have sneaked through, but he can't hold a candle to Mr. Gaye, and the coaches don't turn. At least he has an adorable fiancé to comfort him!

Emily B. is a session singer in LA. She's sang for Pitch Perfect, The Muppets, and CeeLo's Christmas album, so she's doing pretty well. Or she was, until she had to get brain surgery. But she's better now, and she's ready to put the background work aside and become a STAHHH. She's singing Chris Isaak's Wicked Game, and it's so lovely. So, so lovely. She really takes her time, and she's messed with the arrangement so it's fresh and new and builds so beautifully. Shakira is the first to turn, but when Emily hits an amazing note, Usher and Blake jump in. The three argue about who has the most soul, but it's Shakira who ends up winning. I like this pairing.

Stevie Jo grew up with a couple of heavy metal rockers for parents. Despite the past local success of his own heavy metal band, Stevie now gravitates toward R&B. In fact, he's singing our own Ursh's There Goes My Baby. He's really great! There are a couple of moments where he loses it a little bit, but ultimately it's really solid, and he has a great falsetto. It's so fun to watch Usher listen to this. He waits for a specific note, and as soon as Stevie hits it, he's in. No one else turns, because how can they compete with Usher, but they're all thrilled to see that Stevie is a white boy from Texas. Definitely looking forward to what these two will do together.

Audra McLaughlin grew up with a learning disability and faced a lot of bullying as a child. She's now studying to become a medical assistant so she can help people the way that she was helped. Very sweet, this one. For her blind audition, she's singing Angel from Montgomery by Bonnie Raitt. She's really strong, and she gets Adam's first button push of the night. She is really interesting. She's like five different singers in one, easily transitioning from a belt to a raspiness, to a softness, and then a falsetto and back again. It's really impressive, and she does it so effortlessly. By the end of the song all four chairs have turned. Given the focus on how Adam has been waiting for the perfect person, it comes as a huge surprise to me when she goes with Blake. Better luck next time, Adam!

Stand Out Performance: Even though Audra pulled some intense vocal acrobatics, something about Emily B.'s Wicked Game really did it for me. She's great.

Coach MVP: While I appreciate Adam's instinct to sit on Blake's lap, this one has to be a tie to Ursh and Shak for their amazing robot dancing. Perfection.

Grab Houston Rodeo tickets for this month to see Adam, Blake, or Usher live!