Mika @ The Voice France "battles" in Paris 1/2014

The Voice France has started with pre-recorded auditions and battle rounds (live shows starting in March-April). I watched the streaming for the first episode on Saturday night. The production had cut and mixed different filming sessions (meaning they were not in a chronological order) but the cutting was good and gave a very real impression. The feedback Mika is getting is fantastic and purely positive, so happy to read the reviews and comments!

The concept compared to X Factor Italy is very different indeed. In Italy the judges were in a huge, theatrical part and I’m realizing only now how much pressure Mika must have felt surviving as a new person in the middle of three other judges who had developed their roles and characters for years and it makes me respect his success in the show even more. The system was entertaining especially in the beginning but in the end I wanted to focus on Mika and my favorite contestants and that wasn’t so easy with the demanding judge system (the other judges simply took their space). In the Voice the focus is more in teams and contestants and the coaches keep lower profile which is probably more relaxing for Mika (naturally also the language is already familiar to him).

Personally I find the concept for The Voice more interesting to watch especially after the early rounds (auditions/ battles). The button system is fun and the level for the auditions was high as the contestants were already pre-auditioned. During battle rounds every coach makes his/her team members to battle and sing their songs in groups of three (this time three, there are battles for two as well) and then chooses one contestant out of every group according to their performances. This phase is more cruel for the contestants and also stressful for the coaches but still interesting for the audience to watch.

However, even the level in The Voice France is generally higher than it was in X Factor Italy (just my opinion, of course) the concept for X Factor let judges to find some very special artists in the first phase and some of them grew significantly during the competition and at least so far any of The Voice contestant doesn’t sound that special or interesting to me.

A few comments about the recording I went to see last night (can’t tell too much because don’t want to give any clear spoilers about Mika’s team!). This time it was all about Garou’s and Mika’s teams, the two other coaches had their battles a couple of days earlier.

– I went to the recording with the French fans and met more people in front of the studio building. The studio was the same as for the auditions and this time we all managed to have seats on the left side of the coaches so we had a great view to the coaches and an okay view to the stage.

– The coaches did a song together, a very pleasant surprise! The French song itself wasn’t that interesting for me and Mika did only a small part of it but it was still a very nice bonus! They did the song three times if I can remember right.

– Mika was wearing his red tartan suit. He needs to wear the same suit for every battle recording so it’s possible later for production to cut and mix recordings. It was a bit too tight as always and obviously itchy (wool?) and he had his smart hair and he looked totally his adorable self. He was serious and looked nervous and worried and not comfortable in the situation (eliminating people out of the competition).

– As our musical taste is obviously very different – mine very selective and his naturally wide and so much more and differently developed – I expected my opinions about the performances to be very different than his but surprisingly he put almost every group in the same order as I did in my mind. I just wish I could have understood all his arguments for and against the contestants (Eva sitting next to me helpfully translated the most important parts but I still need a lot of explanations).

– Some singers who had to walk out in the end (there were even different stairs to those who are in and and to those who are out to point out in which group they belong to) were obviously upset and hadn’t expected the result. I agreed with Mika’s opinion but was also happy to see how he and all the judges were very empathic hugging and comforting the contestants even when they were not in their own teams.

– Mika was really focused on his coaching work and didn’t pay any attention to the audience and actually made it quite clear that he doesn’t want to take any contact with the audience/his fans as an opposite to the other three coaches who took a lot of contact with the people. It gave the impression he was stressed or at least he took this part of the job very seriously.

As a conclusion: I’m not sure I will like any of the Voice contestants as much as I liked some X Factor competitors but I generally find the concept for the Voice more interesting to watch from a fan’s point of view. It’s needless to say how pleased I am with the way Mika started the season and I’m very much planning to follow the season during the next few months. I loved watching the first episode including also the parts I had already seen during the filmings and thought (once again) how much I enjoy watching shows if I’ve seen the situation at least partly live.

I’m not a big fan of talent shows and watch the both shows only to see Mika working with his teams. That’s why it’s not important to me to compare the shows, variety makes the situation more interesting. In Finland only one or two singers in every three years can make a proper career out of a talent show. Afterwards no one can remember or even cares which of these shows we are talking about. If a singer is talented and charismatic enough any of these shows can be a starting point for a career. I have no idea how it works in Italy or France but I’m hoping for the best for the singers Mika is mentoring and coaching and curious to hear if any of them will make it in the future.