I already shared a few photos about the Fnac album signing session but decided to also write a few thoughts about the event and how the situation in Italy looked as X Factor is obviously bringing Mika a huge amount of new fans and success. I arrived Milan late hour evening before and learnt from FB and Twitter that Fnac was selling 500 Mika albums with a special signature pass (to guarantee his signature at the event) and that most fans had already bought theirs day before (almost 3/4 of passes already sold). I decided to go and buy mine as soon as the store opened in the morning, met some familiar people in front of the store and stayed in the queue chatting with people the rest of the day.

The security working for Fnac was obviously used to organizing signing sessions, they were friendly and relaxed with everyone and moved us upstairs inside the building during the afternoon. A couple of young girls were a bit overexcited/pushing in the crowd but mostly people were nice, polite and well-behaved, patiently waiting for hours to get their 5 second moment with Mika and to have their albums signed.

I didn’t travel only to have 5 seconds with him. I love meeting him even for a short moment and it’s always worth traveling to see how he is and if he looks well and to say quick hello, just to let him know I was there and that I care. But the more I travel to concerts and different events the less it is about me and more about feeling the atmosphere and watching him with other people and I always LOVE what I see. This time I wanted to also meet some Italian long-time fans and hear their perspective and thoughts about the X Factor success, learn to know new Mika fans and generally just observe Italian people and see their reactions to the event. And guess what. No one said “Mika who” or asked why on earth we bother queue for him. Practically everyone knew his name and had a very positive image about him; he has clearly won over the majority of Italian people.

I’ve seen several Mika shows in Italy so I knew younger fans can be very excited and expected them even to scream a bit. Everything was generally quite peaceful though and people patiently waited for Mika who was an hour and a half late. As I knew he had been doing French Voice auditions in Paris until early morning I didn’t mind waiting. When he finally arrived the situation got totally hysterical. Instead of letting him him walk in as usual and maybe even ask people to stay calm and wait for their turn an army of security made him run into the room and caused a little shock to everyone, several photographers taking photos of the situation. All of us long-time fans just stared and couldn’t believe our eyes and new fans, especially younger girls, started to hysterically scream his name and couldn’t stay still. I wasn’t sure if it all was a bit scary or really funny and Mika seemed to have the same mixed reaction, looking the crowd his eyes wide open laughing at the same time. Never seen anything like that around him, I couldn’t avoid the feeling his label and the Fnac store wanted to raise the hype as much as possible and encouraged people to be a bit hysterical with dramatic behavior from the security. On the other hand he is hugely popular in Italy at the moment and seemed actually pleased with people’s reaction and totally deserved his moment, even it was a bit weird to watch and not something we usually see.

The photographers took more photos and the signing session officially started. Some young fans got very emotional and girl after girl was asking him hugs and trying to give him quick kisses, some of them crying after having their albums signed. He patiently hugged everyone who was asking for it and I know he doesn’t usually feel comfortable hugging a lot of people but this time I was smiling watching it because he kind of started it himself hugging the first person asking for it (and patiently went on during the whole session, lol). I still find it amazing how intensively he paid attention to each person on their turn and genuinely seemed to have a real connection with everyone even he met hundreds of fans (someone said 800, not sure about it). I took some pictures of people meeting him before it was my turn and he signed the album I was holding in my hands and we had a quick chat about the X factor show until the security guy next to him decided I’ve used my time and grabbed my arm to guide me out and we both laughed as the whole situation was hilarious.

I couldn’t believe my eyes seeing how popular he has become in Italy in only a few weeks and not just because X Factor makes everyone in it a celebrity but because he is good at what he is doing (and should get more credit of it, just saying). He has showed he can be entertaining and still professional and focused on music and Italians seem to appreciate his honesty and genuine opinions. Everyone I met was amazed how someone coming from a foreign country can learn their language so quickly and charm everyone practically from the first moment.

I felt very proud watching him. I don’t need to love talent shows (I don’t even much know these concepts) but if doing X Factor in Italy/Voice in France gives him more freedom to do his own music as he said in an interview it’s worth it. I hope he has enough energy for everything. Doing hours of television recordings and even live television shows in foreign languages and meeting thousands of fans (three more signing sessions to come) always in different countries must be more tiring than touring? I’m glad I did my little trip to Milan even I’m going there again later this month. I didn’t plan it, it just happened. Loved my short moment with Mika and was good to meet so many people again, see you all soon xx

Roberta
Gaia
Valentina
Violetta
Michele

Spending a sleepless night at the airport after two extremely busy days in Milan (please forgive my tired and poor language). So much fun seeing what’s going on in Italy! I will write another report about the signing session and my impressions of Mika’s new success in Italy, now just a few words about the X Factor live show I saw last night. I can’t believe I ended up in Milan in such a short notice and without proper planning (I managed to buy a ticket to the show and it felt like winning a lottery so decided to travel). Some random thoughts:

– I really wanted to see how everything looks in reality; it’s always fascinating to see how television shows are recorded/what’s the atmosphere behind the scenes. Did you know the X Factor Arena in Milan is just a huge tent and not even a proper venue? I didn’t, I was a bit disappointed to see it. A very entertaining evening though, I was almost surprised to notice how much I enjoyed watching the live show. I was far away so my photos are tiny but I could see the stage very well and the acoustic was excellent.

– My interest was divided between Mika’s girls, Michele, Ape Escape and the general level of the competition. Roberta has been my favorite of Mika’s girls since the beginning and did really well this time. I can’t describe my surprise and disappointment when she was voted out. I felt sorry for her and for Mika as she seemed to have the strongest possibilities (of all his girls) to grow in the contest (but just didn’t have time to do it yet as she was in the competition such a short time).

– Another one of my favorites is Gaia who was under voting as well but manage to keep her position (The Street Clerk was voted out). Gaia has a huge personality and talent but somehow doesn’t want to let it out, looks she is almost fighting back. I’m afraid she is simply too young but hoping for the best for the next week, of course!

– Valentina has an amazing natural style and Violetta is beautiful and sensitive but they are not my personal favorites because of their singing style. They seem to do well though and had a great success this week. Somehow they need really fitting/suitable songs to please my taste (didn’t happen this time) but they have very visible own fans (I was sitting near a noisy group with letters VALE) so they might go far and I genuinely hope that for Mika’s sake, love watching him guiding the girls!

– Ape Escape has been strong from the beginning and I’m not sure why they are taking part to a talent show but probably needed some kind of “final kick” to their success that will inevitably follow anyway. I really like their singer and his strong style.

– Michele is super special and the only talent show contestant I’ve ever seen creating his own magical world with almost every song. Michele is very lucky to have Morgan as his guide. I don’t think the song last night was the best he has done but he was still fantastic, imo, and his performance was the only one that made the whole audience naturally stand up without much thinking (even I didn’t see any loud Michele fan groups, was probably just too far away from them).

– I can’t deny that some contestants, like Aba, are really growing. Not my favorites so I haven’t paid a lot of attention to them but they are clearly growing. Can’t wait to see the same happening to Gaia!

– I was childishly excited about every Italian word I could understand but it’s not nearly enough and I’m trying to remember several important and interesting comments I hope someone to translate after the recording is uploaded. Anyway, feels more like a competition week after week, doesn’t it? Mika looked amazingly stylish and I’m sure there’s no need to tell how much I enjoyed watching his work as a judge. He is obviously the star. Everyone inside the venue was holding their breath during the special silence before he was announced to stage.

I saw The Voice France (season 2014) auditions in Paris last night and really enjoyed my trip and watching the event so decided to share a little report. First of all, as the audience was not allowed to have any cameras or mobiles in the studio I couldn’t take any photos of Mika sitting in his red chair. Also, there was a small article in Le Parisien, read it here (it made in the cover with a small pic). Looks the show is already getting publicity even it’s not aired for months.

I had a lovely weekend with my French/France living Mika friends. I can’t thank them enough for always helping in every possible way even I mean a huge trouble for them. They always first find me (I’m always lost) and then our way to see Mika and translate me all the important situations. They let me stay at their homes, find me suitable special food and buy my festival tickets or book my trains/taxis/hotels if I can’t do it myself (with my two word French vocabulary). I’ve seen a lot of Mika events in France and I always love going back. Thank you! It was good to see so many familiar faces again!

I arrived Paris on Friday night and spent the evening at Leila’s place. We met the other girls on Saturday afternoon and took a train to the TV studios. As you can see in the pic the weather was absolutely horrible, it was pouring! We stood in the rain while waiting to be let in the studio building and after the recording ended while trying to find taxis for hours. I was still so happy to be in Paris that I smiled all the time. If I need to spend time in pouring rain there’s no better place to do it than Paris. They make movies about walking in the rain in Paris! Think about that next time when there and the weather is not so good.

It may sound silly to travel from Helsinki to Paris only to see television show auditions but I know I will appreciate this effort later when watching clips of recorded shows in March. I will remember the studio and watching Mika sitting in his red chair. Having a real memory of different situations makes a huge difference for me. It’s not always possible to experience everything in real life and I love watching videos and reading other people’s descriptions at home but whenever I can I try to make an effort to be there (where something interesting is happening) to have a real image of the place and situation in my head.

I loved watching Mika in his role as a coach! He was exactly the combination of funny and serious/professional I expected (in advance and after watching X factor Italia) and always respectful and kind towards contestant. However, the concept for Voice is very different compared to X Factor. The coaches choose their teams based on what they hear (meaning they can only listen to them and not see them at all) and later guide them for weekly live shows and let the television audience vote contestants out one by one. I was surprised to see that the atmosphere in the Voice France isn’t nearly as “crazy” (word used in its positive meaning) as it is in X Factor Italia and the coaches are not showing as much character and personality as the judges in Italy. I’m curious to see if Mika wants to control himself more during the Voice live shows or if he will be as spontaneous and colorful as he is in the Italian live shows.

The other Voice France coaches are Garou, Jennifer and Florent Pagny and I don’t know any of them as artists or public figures but my first impression was that they all kept lower profile than Mika (who was his usual funny and relaxed self) and were even quite boring except Garou who was joking with Mika and flirting to the camera and to his fans the whole night (very entertaining for us audience to watch). On the other hand, this was only my interpretation of this particular audition night and the French fans told Florent was chattier on Monday and recorded episodes can naturally be cut and edited as the production likes.

The studio was built in a big warehouse style space as recording studios usual and was much smaller than it will look in television. The stage was the shape of square put sideways (I have no idea how to say this in correct English, sorry) and the four red chairs for coaches were in front of the stage, the audience sitting behind and both side of the coaches. We took our places behind the coaches to be able to watch their facial expressions during songs (and saw their backs when they were talking to the contestants). The studio was bare with only a few Voice logos but the light show will look impressive on television.

The level of the contestants was high, imo, even most of the contestants who were rejected were much better than usual talent show winners in my own country. I was surprised to hear and see it and first couldn’t believe when none of the coaches pushed their light buttons for a couple of fairly good singers but then realized they all are fairly good (to be so young and not famous at all) and that the coaches were looking for something special and a bit exceptional (something not so easy to find). I could see all the coaches were tired towards the end of the recording session and probably had difficulties to concentrate properly and I couldn’t help but wondering if some of the contestants would have been chosen if the timing was better and I felt bad for them. A couple of moments were even a bit touching, probably partly because everyone was tired (didn’t expect that at all). I sat near Eva who translated me a summary after Mika’s every comment so I could follow what was happening and people’s mood and the atmosphere is always there even you can’t understand the language (obviously it’s not the same as it is to people who can understand everything but can’t help it).

The biggest surprise was before the auditions started when all four coaches performed Bohemian Rhapsody together and we could hear Mika singing a bit. No need to tell how happy it made us fans and I started to miss his gigs even more than I already did. I loved seeing Mika joking (especially with Garou) and taking a lot of contact with the audience during the night. Fans seemed to be welcome and the person warming up the audience even asked who was there for Mika/Garou/Jenifer/Florent and encouraged people to clap and take part of the show. We got instructions when to applaud, stand and be noisy and Mika was chatty (between songs) and dancing in his chair (during songs) and seemed to enjoy entertaining people. He didn’t push his button many times even it seemed he wanted to as he already had several team members from Monday.

In the end he was obviously very tired and one moment couldn’t stop laughing between songs but breathed a bit and concentrated to give long comments to every contestant even the audition wasn’t over before 2 am. Every coach seemed to be a bit on the edge and Jenifer yawned so much it looked she could hardly stay awake. Mika waved us a couple of times and said quickly good night after the show which was really sweet thing to do as it was really late and he needed rest already after several super busy days. He raised his eyebrows a bit when he saw me because he knew I’m far away from home and I was thinking for a second if I need to tell an excuse for being there but I couldn’t bother. It was so much fun to watch his joking and dancing (in his chair) the whole evening as I haven’t seen him for ages! Took a couple of hours to find a taxi after the auditions were over but luckily I was not alone and the girls helped me to find a taxi to the airport. Such a lovely short trip!