fans_paris

Another trip to Paris, two more The Voice France auditions. I have so many thoughts in my head I don’t know where to start. Trying to organize them and sharing a few observations I find interesting/important.

First of all, it’s always easy to go to the studio as the atmosphere between different fan groups is good and relaxed. I’ve known some French Mika fans for years and always enjoy spending time with them. Talent shows bring new fans who can’t behave – and even stalk and disturb him – but these people don’t hang out with us, I don’t know them. I see them but I try to keep a distance and know who I can trust (and I’m sure Mika does as well).

Florent Pagny has a small and extremely loyal fan group. These calm and polite ladies have been his fans for almost thirty years. Some of them were Florent Pagny fans when Mika was still (literally!) wearing diapers! Respect. Most times they go in first as it’s like their natural place and it’s easy for the rest of us just follow them, they definitely know what to do. Jenifer fans are not as organized as Mika or FP fans (maybe because she doesn’t take much contact with her fans) but she has fans and they are easy to recognize (all pretty and Jenifer style). I haven’t met any Zazie fans yet. She is still new in her role as a coach but generally a liked person.

We don’t queue for seats (we are guided to our seats and most rows have a good view any way) but to just enter peacefully before big crowds and to spend some time together. If someone needs to work late they can arrive last minute and we just make space for them. There’s not much tension between fans. It’s not important for us who’s team will win the competition in the end as long as everything goes generally well for our artist and we all have fun. People often say talent shows are not a place for fans. It’s not actually true with The Voice. The production is expecting/encouraging fans to be there. I can’t know how Mika is experiencing it but long time fans try do their best not to disturb his work.

Mika gigs I’ve seen during the past 7 years have obviously left a permanent mark in my nervous system. I see or hear a small trigger – a security guy appearing at the door or sudden loud music (coming from a car passing by but sounding like a quick sound check) – and start salivating like a Pavlov dog. I can taste the excitement in my mouth. I have to remind myself it’s just a television recording. I will enjoy it but it won’t cause me an adrenaline rush. Everyone around me feels the same. Fans could be used for animal testing! Our minds associate little triggers – queuing, seeing other fans/security or going in to the venue – to concerts. Sometimes it’s frustrating to be that close and still not see him performing (especially when I know he is doing invitation only gigs I can’t see no matter how much I want) but it also gives comfort. It’s always good to see him, it’s always interesting to watch him working.

Traveling to see things in real life is generally important to me. It shows the other side of the coin, there’s a whole new world out there. I sometimes almost lose my faith with fan communities and need meeting people in real life to have it back. Communicating online (on twitter or forums) makes us often see our differences. Face to face we can see what’s common in us/what we share. I like being a real person instead of separate sentence in social media. I want us to make an effort to get along and to be polite to each other.

I’m often so focused on Mika/his performance that I ignore other people I meet. This time I paid attention and I realized people can be awesome and I want to say thank you to everyone I met. To people I’ve known for years and to people I’m learning to know. I had a lot of fun and enjoyed our time together. A special thank you to Melissa who patiently translated me both nights. Her English and knowledge are accurate, her translations were priceless. To make her job a bit easier we skipped some parts and focused on Mika and Zazie and their comments. It’s becoming awkward that I don’t speak any French or Italian so I’ve decided to learn and already booked some lessons. I wanted to do it ages ago but I’m poor at languages so my motivation wasn’t good enough (really hope I can make it this time).

It’s not just about seeing other fans in a different light. It’s also about seeing Mika in a different light. Seeing him only in photos – wearing his fancy suits, surrounded by his new, adoring fans – makes him distant. People say he has changed a lot. I don’t think it’s true, not the way people mean it. It’s still good to see it. He knows how to look lovable and not too important in his new suits. He comes and sits in his chair and just goes with the situation. He battles with the other coaches, rides on his chair and without a warning is lying on the floor in his white, shiny suit (his team probably tearing their hair out backstage). He is sighing and patting his tight jacket, stomach full after eating too much. Yawning and looking bored, not knowing where to put his long legs and suddenly sitting in a lotus like position. I was staring him my mouth open. I really had no idea his suits are that comfortable/flexible material!

It’s easy to be in the audience. I can watch contestants and still let my mind wander. Mika can joke with the other coaches (to entertain people) but when the song is over he has to be ready for a constructive comment, say something useful to the contestant who will possibly remember his words for the rest of her/his life. It’s a big responsibility and he wants to give a professional impression. And I don’t need to remember every contestants afterwards but he needs to learn to know his team well. It’s his job to make them sound and look as good as possible. It can’t be easy to separate two different concepts in two different countries/languages. I often wonder if he keeps these two jobs, his music and all the other projects neatly organized in their own spaces or if everything makes a big beautiful mess in his head. Either way, he is doing well.

It must be hard and tiring. Despite of that a part of him is always awake and sensitive for people. Small, sweet gestures that never cease to impress me. He sees a little girl with a drawing and goes and takes it and even gives her a little kiss. He goes to people who can’t have an easy access to him. He smiles to the audience, says thank you and waves good night. He pays attention and makes people feel special. It’s not possible to have chats with him after recordings (and I don’t want to disturb him by talking to him) but he lets people know he is aware of their presence and I appreciate it because I know he has far more important things to do and on his mind and I know he is being patient with people. I think he can still breath in France, the situation is not (yet) out of hands like it is in Italy where people stalk his house, try to invade his parties and bother his family.

About the two audition nights. On Monday the level was poor. I can’t remember any contestant, sorry about that. On Tuesday the level was extremely good. I felt for Zazie who already had a full team and couldn’t push the button that night. She was obviously suffering, some singers were really good and original! Mika got a couple of good/strong and a couple of extremely good contestants. He lost a couple of battles to Jenifer but I wouldn’t cry after these contestants as choosing Jenifer over Mika as their coach tells something about their personality, imo. These were the last two audition nights so everything was a bit “whatever”. During some particularly good performances the coaches wanted “someone” to choose the contestant, whoever it is (just to keep the contestant in the competition). The staff didn’t give us any instructions, just waved their hands, saying “do whatever you usually do”. We tried really hard to clap and stand up when needed, whatever we saw other people doing. In the end I was so tired I could hardly sit without falling asleep.

We saw Frero Delavega as a guest on the first night (interesting for me who doesn’t live in France) and Garou on the second night (not so interesting, tbh). The coaches performed their song again twice on both nights! Not sure if they really had that many problems or if it was just to entertain the audience but definitely not complaining, I really like the song. For a short moment it looked like Mika was tempted to let all his energy out but he controlled himself, of course, being a part of a group. A couple of late night photos below, the dancing pic is my favorite.

fans_dancing

group_pic

paris
I spent a long weekend in Paris and saw the Voice auditions both on Saturday and Monday. My schedule was not as tight as usually so I had some extra time to see Paris and to give some thought to talent show issues. I enjoyed watching the recordings surprisingly much even it’s the second season for us to watch. I wanted to use a possibility to travel and meet fans I wouldn’t otherwise meet between the gigs and must admit I miss Mika if haven’t seen him for a long time, watching talent shows gives a bit comfort (even it’s not the same as seeing him on stage).

I often wonder what he really thinks about these talent shows. He never tells his honest opinion and is probably not even allowed to while working for the shows. I’m always impressed to see the amount of work he puts into the television shows. It’s such serious work and nothing like free, creative lifestyle we imagine artists usually living. He works really hard and under strict rules. I felt absolutely exhausted in the end of the both recording days and all I did was watching and following the show (so can’t even imagine how he felt after focusing for hours and hours).

I really enjoyed watching the Voice coaches after the lately XF judge drama/game. I have no idea how the coach relations work behind the scenes but the side showed to the audience is lighter, funnier and more entertaining. I’m sure we will see sharp comments and emotions during the competition but generally the atmosphere is less tense and dramatic and more focused on contestants. Mika is not acting any differently, we just see two two different concepts and two atmospheres. I prefer more relaxed atmosphere but I’m still interested in seeing him working with his talents in both countries (especially as he has a good chance to win in Italy).

Surprisingly the settings for Saturday and Monday nights were very different compared to each other. Saturday showed the new coach Zazie as a star. She is definitely brilliant is her role (obvious even to me following the show via translations). I liked many of her comments – actually very similar with Mika’s points of view – and found her interesting and fresh compared to Jenifer and Florent Pagny. I do like them both but also already know their style and find it boring. Neither of them takes risks like Mika or now Zazie who won several contestants Mika wanted for himself on Saturday, simply giving good arguments (being funny at the same time). I didn’t like most of the contestants they fought for so I didn’t mind Mika losing the battles. He looked a bit confused but used his sense of humor (which seems to fit well with Zazie’s humor). I hope they will make an interesting couple during the season. Some challenge and competition will do him good and the audience will enjoy watching them as long as the spirit stays good.

The level for Saturday wasn’t so good (imo) and I found even many singers who were chosen to the competition annoying. Mika saw potential in some contestants and in the end of the first recording session his team started to actually look quite promising and very much his style despite of losing a few battles for Zazie. On Monday the level for contestants was better and the setting looked different. Mika had his confidence back and he got a couple of particularly good contestant into his team. Zazie kept lower profile and Mika focused on the two other coaches he ignored on Saturday.

It’s often easy to guess which coach each talent will choose. Classy, strong voices go traditionally to Florent Pagny’s team. Jenifer gets safe, fashionable singers. Talents with a lot of potential and an interesting voice seem to know that Mika is the best choice for them. Now Zazie (with her quite radical taste) competes with him. We saw a couple of surprises on Monday. I was happy to see a talented girl with an absolutely fantastic voice and classical style going to Mika’s team. She had a great energy so I’m very much looking forward to Mika choosing her more pop style songs. On the other hand, a young girl with a lot of potential and very unique style chose Jenifer over Mika (I felt sorry for the girl as I really can’t see Jenifer developing her talent).

Mika’s team looks colorful and interesting already. He has a great eye for new potentially successful singers, we know that two talents from his last team are high on the French charts with the biggest success in the history of the Voice France. He sounded proud of his contestants on Monday and for a good reason. I’m not surprised. I was expecting both Kendji and Frero Delavega doing well and enjoyed watching Kendji performing on Monday much more than watching Sister Christina on Saturday even I don’t otherwise listen to his music.

The two recording nights were full of funny little details. I leave sharing jokes and comments to French fans. My own favorite for this weekend was the coaches singing Zazie’s song twice on both nights. I kept my fingers crossed hoping that one of them will forget the lyrics so we can see the performance several times. So bitter sweet watching Mika singing like this. Always lovely to see him on stage but the moment was tiny and made me miss his gigs even more. I really like the song and was told the lyrics are clever (just wish I could understand them).

Another and even more special moment happened on Monday when Melachi did a little appearance on the show sitting first on Mika’s and then on Florent Pagny’s chair. She was beautiful and totally uninterested in the audience/photographers and just wanted to sit near Mika and lean her head on him. The whole audience had a collective awwww moment watching them. I’ve mixed feelings about Mel appearing at television recordings. I love dogs and especially seeing Mika with his dog. I can totally understand how much he is missing her when not together. On the other hand traveling is stressful for a dog and would never bring my own dog to a situation like a television show and wonder how Mel was experiencing it.

Mika was wearing his white, shiny suit with red details. Elegant suit as always even not as stunning as the previous one with the flower detail. I prefer navy but loved his cool red “watch” (designed by a Belgian designer) he was wearing as an accessory with his suit. His hair looked like a sculpture and his stylist kept spraying it trying to control an exceptionally wild curl. He seemed sharp during the night and his make up artist added his make up every 15 minutes so I didn’t realize he was not well until saw him after the show from a close distance. I felt so sorry for him as he was obviously dead tired and I wished he wasn’t always so patient with his fans, all he needed that hour was rest.

The organization around the Voice France works well and fans seem to be welcome  as long as we leave the best seats to young and beautiful people. The French fan base looks suddenly surprisingly old: mostly women 30-50 years. Some youngest fans possibly followed Kendji after his win last year. Was so good to see familiar faces in Paris again. The long-time French fans were lovely as usually, I always enjoy their positive vibe. This time I had a possibility to spend time also with Melissa, Camille and Isa. A huge thank you to the girls for being so kind and helpful and giving me translations, really enjoyed getting to know them all better. I met Wesley from Brazil and he is absolutely adorable, I had no idea as I hadn’t met him before. Such a positive person, I wanted to bring him home Finland with me. A couple of photos from my mobile (again, let me know if not okay to post them here). The last one is really tired and taken after 2 AM.

paris_fans

paris_fans_night