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Eugenio

I spent my weekend in Naples and absolutely loved the city and its shabby beauty. Hysterical safety warnings before my trip were highly exaggerated. Well I do believe the criminal rates are high and wouldn’t walk alone in some parts of city not recommended for tourists but the centre felt safe and reminded me of any Italian city I’ve seen (okay, I saw one street fight but it looked like a cat fight and totally private issue).

I was glad my plane arrived early on Saturday so I had time to walk around a bit. I went to see the square and saw the band on stage. So nice to see their familiar figures, immediately noticed Max, Curtis and Tim from far away! I met some Italian fans and we walked down to the sea to watch the beautiful view. A huge thank you to Eugenio who took time to show me the castle and told about Naples, he is such a kind person! We took a traditional photo together, see it above. I wish I could have seen Vesuvius as I find volcanos extremely fascinating and would love to see it some day. A bigger group of fans met later on Saturday to eat original pizza Margherita and I can’t eat pizza but had lovely gluten-free sea food spaghetti instead. Very much enjoyed meeting people from so many different countries.

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I went to the venue next morning to meet the others and not sure what I exactly had in mind (a lazy picnic style fan gathering in front of the stage while waiting for the gig…?) but it didn’t happen. The place started to fill early in the morning and as there was no proper queue at all – only a crowd – people were just let in and the places in the few first rows were quickly taken. I managed to have a great first row spot but noticed soon that it would be very hard to keep it. Everyone was pushing (quite aggressively, actually) and people were so close to each other it was difficult to even breath. I saw it was not possible to leave our places without losing them and that buying food or going to the toilet was not an option during the day.

We used all our strength to keep our places (I bet everyone’s muscles are hurting!) and it felt uncomfortable but I’m used to festivals and big crowds and just took my space and waited everyone to calm down which will always happen until the moment Mika starts when people get excited again. I don’t think people around me were pleased with me either, I’m stronger than I look. The situation did calm down and I survived through the day easier than I thought in the morning. I really wanted to see the show and was later happy that I decided to travel and didn’t let the huge crowd to keep me away. Maybe it’s just me but I think life is more adventurous if we tolerate some discomfort and sometimes it’s just worth to pay the price.

It was really disappointing though that a huge free concert like this was organized with such poor security arrangements. There were a few “security men” during the Mika show but a young boy we asked for help and instructions when people were seriously afraid to get hurt at front in the morning told us it’s not his problem and that his job was only to keep the stage safe. I’ve seen numerous big festivals and events and this is not the way things should be done, it’s important to keep the audience safe as well.

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Waiting at events and festivals is easier if something is happening on stage during the day. I loved the hosts and the party band entertaining the audience before solo artists (they were actually quite good and I enjoyed the hits they played) and found a female artist called Arisa a surprisingly good singer (even I naturally didn’t know any of her songs). Everything was filmed on screens and between songs and Nutella adds/films we could watch ”kiss cam” and ”dance cam” which meant that people who were filmed were supposed to either kiss or dance and most people joined the fun. I kind of forgot that everything was streamed via internet and feel embarrassed thinking people could watch us during the whole gig and before it (I must have looked as exhausted as I felt, lol) but I got some lovely worrying and supporting tweets, thanks everyone!

We didn’t get any Nutella (I think they gave out Nutella at some stands but wasn’t possible for us to queue for it) and I was craving for it during the whole day while watching Nutella pictures and adds. Just before the gig some Nutella and bread were offered to the front row, they smelled heavenly – I couldn’t eat them but was happy for my hungry friends – and I’m tempted to have a another Nutella party at home. We heard some familiar pre-gig music after 9 pm and finally the stage was ready for Mika, the band took their places and the Origin of Love intro for the gig started. Mika appeared on stage in his new red pattern jacket and started Relax and I loved the moment and had waited it for a long time and thought it’s always worth traveling and waiting.

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About the show. Everyone was able to watch it online and it’s possible to see the songs here (thanks to Berenike for uploading it) so I’m just writing a few thoughts about it. First of all, Mika had invited Chiara as a guest and I love their version of Stardust and was pleased to finally see them performing it live! I would have preferred the original version of Origin as its an important song for me and I had looked forward to it and was a bit disappointed to miss it. I understand Mika wanted to give her time on stage though and I didn’t mind she joined to Lollipop which is more like a party song and not personally important to me.

I loved watching the concert. It was amazing to see him on stage after all the waiting! The sound was poor, and even I could see his strong usual self during some songs I thought several times that he needs to practice and sing and perform more. He was still smiling and it seemed he had genuinely missed performing and long breaks without any extra time to practice/prepare are expected to be seen and heard so I didn’t mind. The audience was massive! I read 60 000 people came to the square. He didn’t take as much contact with the big crowd as I’ve sometimes seen him doing but he chatted a lot in Italian (I naturally couldn’t much understand, thank you so much to Iola who patiently translated me during and after the show!).

A couple of videos I took below to show how it all looked from my point of view (Stardust and Underwater). As you see it wasn’t easy to hear their singing, I took the vids with my mobile but they give a realistic example of the sound (and the screaming audience, lol!).

I cried a little bit during Happy Ending and I don’t think I was the only one. It’s hard for fans that every new event is a new ending and I can’t help but thinking he needs a strong new start because what was there is not enough in the future. I read a translation of an interview he gave before the Naples gig (where he says he doesn’t care about success) and I hope – from a bottom of my heart – that there won’t be too much pressure from his record company and that he will use as much time as needed to make the new album look and sound exactly him and creates music that tells what he thinks and how he feels at this time and age because doing a new album only to use the publicity created in France and Italy is the worst option I can think atm, I think he needs something he can be genuinely pleased with, something important and interesting enough (for him) to use as a material (for example for a new show concept). I often sound impatient and I admit it’s difficult to wait for new tours and shows but – rationally thinking – he should take his time.

Just my thoughts. Each of these new endings are somehow bittersweet experiences. I LOVED seeing him on stage again. There’s nothing I rather watch, there’s nothing that gives me the same energy. I prefer televisions shows and random festivals over silence/nothing at all but it takes always time to get over another ending (however, I will be here waiting). A few less emotional comments. It was so good to see the band again!!! I took a few pics. Awww, see Curtis below. And Tim. And them all. Loved Mika’s new boyish haircut. Very much enjoyed our meetings with Italian fans on Sat/Sun/Mon and eating gelato. I met and chatted with awesome people! Thank you everyone, you know who you are. Good memories. xxx

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I already knew how live shows are done (recording/technical side) and had seen the Voice contestants performing several times but was so tempting to see Mika’s team to win and especially his Barbara performance with Kendji that I decided to go to see the Voice final and was afterwards very happy about this decision. I read in advance about the special guests for the night and didn’t find them interesting (and guests could only mean less time for Mika/judges to be on stage) but eventually they were all maybe not my taste but still experienced and entertaining and definitely made the show more colorful by performing together with the contestants. Kylie Minogue started doing a medley with the finalists and each of the other special guests performed one song with a chosen finalist.

I felt so lucky to be there when the show started and Mika and the other judges appeared on stage. Mika was wearing a classic and smart still very unique navy/white Valentino suit with an eagle appliqué and took a few deep breaths before sitting in his chair. The contestants looked dapper in their dark suits and did first their medley with Kylie who looked sweet (first time I saw her). Garou and Florent Pagny looked casual next to Mika and Jenifer who was glowing in her black mini dress very pregnant already. She had killer high heels which she had to take off while sitting and I felt for her and loved it how Mika paid attention and took care of her when they walked off the stage after their performance.

The finalists did first the medley with Kylie, then songs with the guest artists, then their solo performances and in the end each of them songs together with their judges. Maximilian was the best contestant last night, imo, even I knew that Kendji must be the winner and couldn’t wait the announcement to see Mika and Kendji and their faces. Wesley was “adult style” and extremely boring, Amir really sweet but boring and Maximilian and Kendji my favorites for the night exactly as I expected in advance.

I loved the songs chosen for Kendji! It was obvious he was going to win no matter what happens during the final and he is young, inexperienced and had worked with his limits for several weeks already so I really hoped Mika to choose him suitable songs to see strong, good performances and I think the choices were brilliant. His solo performance showed his origin (exactly like I hoped) which was only fair as it was one reason he was voted in the first place – referring to both the support from the gipsy community and his own style people seemed to like (well I liked it).

I was worried before Mika and Kendji did L’Aigle noir together (thanks to Eriko for the clips). I know how wonderful Mika is doing Barbara songs and I couldn’t bear the idea of him doing it together with someone not equally good. I thought the song is too serious for Kendji, that he is simply too young and inexperienced and already saw him ruining this beautiful rare experience but he didn’t. Actually, he did really well, imo. I can’t understand how it was possible but it was a beautiful, touching performance, totally a positive surprise and I really enjoyed it and even it was so serious I couldn’t help but smiling during the song as I was so relieved it went so well and I was lucky to hear Mika singing this beautiful song. Such a highlight for the show and a good way for Kendji to win the competition (especially combined to the more rock style song he did together with Jean-Louis Aubert).

And then the most exciting part: announcing the winner. Mika looked nervous but surely knew how strong support Kendji had behind him and finally Nikos announced him as the winner and people celebrated and no one looked surprised, not even Kendji himself and he went to sit with Mika and looked pleased but not in an arrogant way. He is so young, I wonder what’s going to happen to him next, wishing him the best.

Mika looked happy (well he must be happy everything went that well and that he was such a star – again – after the previous success story in the XF) and it was time to celebrate. The guest artists did their own performances and finally Kendji his gipsy medley again while the others (finalists and judges) were dancing behind him (Mika and Garou doing their last dance for the season). And it was over and Mika waved good night and he and Kendji started their busy posing for photographers and I bet the French media is full of them (sadly didn’t have time to research papers before leaving).

The French adventure is over (for a while, I’m sure he is doing a lot things in France in the future as usual) and I want to say a huge thank to French fans who have been extremely patient and kind with me. I’m not one of them and don’t belong to there yet they have always helped me in so many ways. The Voice production was also extremely nice with fans and I soon learned to recognize different fan groups. Excited Kendji fans were given s few extra barriers, added security and a lot of extra instruction before the final live show and I think they did listen to carefully as everything seemed to go well.

The audience was loud though and it was difficult to hear Nikos and the judges talking and everyone (literally everyone, not just me with my non-existing French) actually missed Nikos mentioning a new Mika single in June. Such fantastic news even we can’t be yet sure it’s true.

The main reason why I want to see live show recordings is naturally seeing Mika and hearing his singing during these long waiting periods but I also love watching how television work is done behind the scenes and enjoy observing camera men, hair/make-up people and Mika/judges preparing for live shows. I wonder if he hates people watching him when he is trying to focus but he can’t really help it, there are always people watching and at least most of his old fans are quiet and give him silence to concentrate on his job while new Voice fans are constantly shouting his name. I was in a situation where he was surrounded by people and it was scary and uncomfortable – people immediately coming very close, putting their cameras in front of his face, everyone shouting his name – and I expect he will see more of it, being on television/media week after week.

Congratulations to the winners once again! Below a couple of tweets with pics.

#TheVoice@GiracKendji a été sacré The Voice hier soir en direct sur TF1 ! REPLAY ► http://t.co/SW43vU12ifpic.twitter.com/t2uSU7MnPi
— The Voice Officiel (@TheVoice_TF1) May 11, 2014

I went to see the Voice France semifinals last night, enjoyed my evening a lot and was a happy fangirl watching Mika coaching his team during the taping. Of course times are different these days. I used to see amazing concerts and had so many expectations and now I’m grateful he is there. Well I would love to see more (concerts and tours) but at least I have a possibility to see him working and I’m happy to have that.

He came to stage a few minutes before the live show started to introduce his team together with the other judges and their teams and was looking so fatherly in the middle of his young contestants Elodie and Kendji. His outfit supported the image as he was wearing a grey suit with a big appliquéd lion figure, looking maybe not as elegant as previous Saturdays but so sympathetic, kind and playful. Obviously he is not old enough to parent teenage children (and most probably not ready and willing to start with 17 yo troublemakers, lol) but all his manners reminded me of a father figure and I suddenly had a new image in my head and could totally see him doing a few more talent show seasons just to collect the money and then settle down, raise a family and enjoy creating and writing music. A bit worrying (from a fan’s point of view) but still a sweet thought. I kept thinking of this new side in him half of the show and admired his boyish showman side the other half. He put up his usual show with Garou, both joking and doing crazy things between the performances.

For me the live show was more entertaining than last time because I could see the performances well and simply because the level is always better the further the competition goes. I found some show elements like big choirs totally unnecessary (they didn’t make boring performances any better) but on the other hand every performance was somehow different which was good for the show structure. Mika and Garou had the most interesting teams and Mika looked nervous and worried for his team until the voting was done (not in a bad way – just in a natural way all the judges live along the competition with their teams) and after that maybe not bored but at least less focused.

He told very clearly he was hoping to see Elodie in the final and was such a shame indeed that she didn’t get enough public votes. I’ve seen her performing a few times now and she is incredibly adorable and very talented and even just a young girl she is stronger than any of the boys and I agree with Mika she would have deserved to be there until the end. On the other hand, Kendji did his part well and has a huge public support (even though not as talented) and I totally understand why people vote him. His gipsy charm is is very powerful and not only talking about his appearance even it obviously brings him a lot of young fans too. I hope he can show his own style/sound with suitable songs in the final and I actually believe he will win the competition as the best singers are out already anyway and the other finalists are not that interesting, imo.

And then it was over once again. We didn’t see Mika singing this time and I was a bit disappointed about it but I did enjoy watching everything and had a good time. The weather was cold and windy and I’m probably catching a cold but the chilly afternoon was still sunny and we had fun waiting the doors to open. The French fans organized a nice surprise to Mika (Meggy and Melanie did the main work – a huge thank you to them – and a lot of fans were involved) ordering him hand-made chocolate art delivered to his dressing room with pretty flowers and we were wondering if he ever got the present when he suddenly tweeted about it. A nice gesture from him, imo. I’m sure he knew it would make his fans smile. Below pictures from Mika’s twitter and instagram to show both the chocolate piano and his lion suit from last night.

I’m already back home and absolutely exhausted. Traveling to event’s like The Voice is more tiring than traveling to concerts as the adrenaline music gives is missing. I’m still glad I went and I had a good time indeed -it’s always good to experience things in real life.

Photo: Mikasounds/twitter
Photo: Mikainstagram