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!