The vote is in: Morris wins 1,000 big ones, ‘The Voice’ title

By Nathaniel Conant

November 8, 2012

[caption id="attachment_13745" align="alignnone" width="300"] Gavin Morris, winner of "The Voice," receives a large check and poses with coach and judge Morgan Breckenridge.[/caption] A couple of ways to spend $1,000 would be to go on a shopping spree, take a vacation, save it or spend it all on booze. Those choices were not exactly what Gavin Morris had in mind right away. When "The Voice of Western" contender accepted the giant $1,000 check for winning the competition on Nov. 1, he said he had another idea for the money. “I’m sure my wife sitting in the back has plans for it,” Morris said. The final chapter of "The Voice of Western" was back in its original location in Spratt Hall. The show started off with the Western Appeal, Missouri Western’s a cappella group. After four weeks of building suspense, finally the special guest judge was announced as Mark Stier, the director of Student Life. He was a man of few words throughout the night but added some funny comments such as calling contestant Joe Dahman's and judge Derek Thompson's rendition of  Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World” as "magical." They started off with "Trash in the Camp" from the Disney classic “Tarzan," in which Thompson (also a part of the a cappella group) jumped up on the stage to join in on. After that, Thompson and the group did a mash-up of the smash hits “Somebody that I used to Know” by Gotye and “Too Close” by Alex Clare. After that the contestants got to sing a duet with their judge/coach. The first of the duets to perform was Sarah Waters and Lauryn Roberts. They did a comical remix of the song, with Student Government President Jacob Scott being serenaded on a chair in between the singers, “Take Me or Leave Me” from the Broadway classic “Rent.” After them, Joe Dahman and Thompson recreated the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World." Like the song's artist,Kamakawiwo'ole, Thompson played the ukulele while Dahman sang. Last of the duets was judge Morgan Breckenridge and Gavin Morris. These two did a crowd-rocking version of “Nobody’s Perfect” by Jessie J. After the duets were finished, the solos and the actual competition began. The solo performances were to go in the same order of the duets with Roberts starting off. She had originally planned to sing a Celine Dion song but, with Waters’ encouragement, she changed her mind and did a slow version of Lady Gaga’s  “Poker Face.” Her voice was able to shine throughout the song and she got a standing ovation as she left the stage. Next up was Dahman, as he sang a song that he was very confident with, “Breakeven” by the Script. His acoustic version of the song had very little that the judges critiqued and the crowd was equally as impressed as Dahman left the stage. Last but certainly not least was Morris who sang Gavin DeGraw's “I’m in Love with a Girl." From the start he encouraged the crowd to get on their feet -- they listened. This may or may not have been a major reason for the judges’ decision as they said -- and showed -- their enjoyment of his stage presence. After the judges went backstage to discuss who they thought had won, the DJ played a few songs to keep the crowd busy while they awaited the results. Once the judges had come back they announced that Morris as the champion. However, beforehand, Morris' confidence wasn’t very high after listening to his competitors’ performances. “Coming into the finals I was already nervous, then Joe got onstage and killed that song and Lauryn came out and did amazing, like she has every week so far. I wasn’t sure how I was going to ‘wow’ anyone after those two,” he said. During the final show, Student Life Director Isaiah Collier could stand back and relax. All of his planning and getting everything ready was over and now all that was left was to watch the performances in the show that he had brought to Missouri Western. One of Mr. Collier's reasons for satisfaction was the growth of the crowd each week growing meant people were enjoying it. "The size of the crowd grew significantly each week," Collier said. "Tonight, almost the entire theater was full of students and parents." *To see a video slideshow of the finale, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7W16iuIiQE&feature=youtu.be