A short update about the second night for the Voice France third round. Thursday night was naturally more boring than Tuesday because Mika had already chosen his team and we saw Florent Pagny and Matt Pokora choosing theirs and their style is different and not as interesting as Mika’s (a bit biased saying that of course, lol!).

Mika was chilled and his part was only to shortly comment every performance and otherwise there was not much to focus on except wondering what he was doing with his little notebook. He kept sending notes to the other coaches, maybe for his own amusement. I paid too much attention to different sounds myself and it made me feel uncomfortable throughout the night. Many of the contestants have the kind of voice that makes me shudder and just like on Tuesday, some songs were poorly chosen which added the effect.

Again, it was quite easy to guess which contestant is staying in the competition and which two are out so it looked a bit silly that the three other coaches many times chose different favorites even the performances were not that good and it gave the impression the production wanted to make the level look better than it actually was (what makes sense from their point of view of course).

However, I have no idea how the system works for real and if the production guides the coaches in these situations or not. Also, if the coaches make their own decisions, whether they plan them beforehand or in that particular moment after seeing every performance. Of course the coaches are professionals and can better see the potential in young people (than an average person in the audience) and I assume they know some background information from behind the scenes the audience can’t know.

Being a good singer is not enough for talent shows unless the talent is something absolutely spectacular. The contestants need to be interesting and have personality and a good story behind them the audience to remember them well. After the recordings on Tuesday and Thursday I can hardly remember everyone from Mika’s team and only one or two from the other teams. I can remember two boys from Matt Pokora’s team on Thursday simply because young male contestants are stereotypical talent show material and have always their own target groups.

This year Mika has a very interesting contestant who can go far and if all goes well win and I would like to see his team winning this season. I wonder if he is doing another season after this. The Voice can’t give him much challenge at this point – how could it – and I’ve always thought this man lives for new challenges. The rumors tell they pay him well though and maybe it’s all becoming a nice routine with familiar people. We will see, I’m only speculating here.

Live shows for this season will be later this spring. I really enjoyed spending a few days in France and would love to do that even more. A huge thank you to the French girls and everyone else I met during the recordings for your company, help, chatting, translating and trying to teach me French (not much progress there I’m afraid). Hope to see you all soon xxx

I’m doing a couple of quick posts to describe my trip to The Voice France third round recordings in Paris. I always have some mixed feelings about spending this much money and time for a television show just to see Mika’s profile and to hear him talking in French language. This is not his own show. He doesn’t usually sing during recordings at all and we had already seen the group performance from the coaches for this season. Also, the contestants are not that kind of style I would listen to at home without this show.

It still felt important to travel and see him especially now when we possibly have only rare other events to look forward to this year (in case he is planning a small break to focus on his new music). It’s comforting to see him at recordings and with translations I can quite well follow what’s happening. My usual translator Melyssa couldn’t be in Paris for the third round (and I missed her!) but I was luckily sitting next to Ani who kept me updated during the night, a huge thank you to her for that.

The first night (Tuesday) was reserved for Zazie’s and Mika’s teams and the other coaches only gave their opinions after every performance, not pushing their words too much so both Zazie and Mika could focus on making their own decisions which was especially hard for Zazie. She doesn’t want to sent people out, it seems she would like to keep them all and fortunately on Tuesday the others were helping her a bit with this issue saving some of her contestants and that definitely made her happy.

The idea of the third round is to group the contestants in groups of three and hear them all performing one song chosen by themselves. The coach for the team decides which contestant continues to the live recordings and which two are out of the competition. Every coach can “steal” one contestant from other teams to their own teams (so the stolen contestant is not out but just changing his/her team). Many of the songs chosen were not best possible at all and some contestants could have done better if the songs had been more suitable. The level was not really high and it was easy to guess who will continue and who is sent out even the groups were well and logically done grouping similar types together.

I’ve had two favorites in Mika’s team and I hoped in advance that they both can make it to the live shows. My first favorite is a contestant who seems both very strong and very vulnerable and sensitive (as a person) at the same time. I liked him since the beginning and was happy he chose Mika because I know Mika can be sensitive and caring and give the contestant good and careful guidance. However, the performance for the third round was nervous and not as good as the auditioning and I was worried Mika might choose not to keep this contestant in his team. He did keep him though and I loved him for that and felt a bit ashamed I didn’t trust him in this decision. It was all emotional and a bit teary and will cause a lot of emotions in the television audience as well, I’m sure people will like the contestant.

My other favorite in Mika’s team has been a colorful group I like a lot because all three in the group seem very different as personalities but after performing together for a long time have grown together and give a good impression as a group. The group seems ready and experienced and something that could be successful if they just got visibility and some help to sharpen their style. They did well during the third round and continue to live shows and after seeing all these contestants again these two (the individual contestant and the group) in Mika’s team were the ones I can remember best even Zazie has some strong contestants as well.

The first of these two nights was entertaining to watch. I felt a bit tired after taking an early flight in the morning and of course I do wish I could understand Mika’s commenting. I regret and have lately much regretted not learning French. Thanks to my friends I can follow recordings quite well despite of the language and the issue hasn’t bothered me too much. Still, the truth is if I can’t understand him when he shares his thoughts I can learn to know him only through his music and it’s the most important but not the same as understanding everything.

I didn’t have a possibility to wish Mika happy new year in Florence and hoped to do that in Paris but naturally he had such a crowd around him that it wasn’t possible. However, he saw my face from distance behind the crowd and said a quick hello and happy new year which was nice and kind of made my wish to came true. Thursday night can be more boring for Mika fans because his team is already done but I will write a short update after that one too. X

A small report about The Voice France blind auditions from Thursday to Sunday last week. Every audition day was different from each other and I’m very glad I did them all even the recordings were not equally entertaining. It was interesting to see all the talents and final teams and get a bigger picture of everything. Mika was naturally very tired (as said earlier, his schedules are insane) and his moods went from trying really hard to can’t bother to pretend anything and from being funny and witty to even a bit biting and then simply just staring and blinking (it looked his contact lenses hurt his tired eyes) and then finally happily giggling when his team was almost full and then full and the work done.

Mika looked more tired than the other coaches and to be honest his fans looked more tired than the other fans, our lives are synchronized that way. But we all made it and he did very well with his team which is now genuinely interesting and colorful and he got two most interesting talents of all the contestants (more than hundred contestants auditioned). We can’t be sure one of these two will win – both Zazie and Florent got some very good talents as well – but Mika definitely got the two I hoped most for his team.

Thursday was better quality talent wise and much more entertaining than the previous audition a couple of weeks ago. The coaches were maybe in a better mood or simply made more effort to be more entertaining and the night was full of funny details. Mika was extremely lucky with the contestants and his team started to fill so quickly he might have even wished he hadn’t pushed the button as many times as he did. He managed to get in his team probably the most interesting talent in the whole competition, it will be great to see how everything turns out. It will be important to make careful decisions and I’m curious to see what he ends up doing.

The coach team is very good in my opinion. I’ve always liked Florent Pagny, he is very pleasant in an adult, warm way. His fans are very kind and calm ladies and it feels natural to think both the artist and his fans are alike (otherwise they wouldn’t have stayed around him for so long). Zazie is funny in a smart, clever way. I can’t understand the language (which is a shame as I’ve heard she is extremely good with words) but still get this impression just from her gestures. Matt Pokora is the latest addition in the team and I don’t yet know how to describe him. Not that I have anything bad to say, he makes effort to be energetic and seems to be a nice guy. I just can’t catch anything about him and can’t yet remember his team as well as the other teams.

Friday wasn’t nearly as entertaining as Thursday because talents were not as good quality and none of the coaches except Matt Pokora made much effort to be funny. He kept trying to impress the talents and gave a red heart to a talent he wanted to his team (jokingly made from the cover of his notes) and even recognized one talent because had seen him on Youtube but every time he seemed to bond with the contestant they still chose Mika which was slightly awkward. The coaches did their song together in the beginning of every recording day and it was really the best part of the show (along with Mika doing an audition one night, almost forgot to mention it!). All other guests were somehow related to The Voice (contestants from previous years) and not familiar to me but still entertaining as performances.

Saturday was a long day and we spent inside the studio building more than 12 hours all waiting included. However, the contestants were better quality than on Friday and the coaches used all their experience and professional ability to get through the long day and to add good talents in their teams. In the end of the recording our part of the audience looked a bit restless but the production didn’t say anything and I guess they could understand how long the audience had been there and how tiring it was. We saw some very touching moments during the day and because of tiredness every emotion felt a bit stronger than usually. I had tears in my eyes several times!

Mika fans were very international both on Friday and Saturday and in addition to the French fans (and me from Finland) there were also a strong representation from Italy and fans from Belgium, Germany, Spain, Bulgaria and China. It was really nice to spend time together and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who already missed being at gigs and was grateful we have recordings like this to gather together between tours. The French group made me feel incredibly welcome, I can’t thank them enough. Solange took care of the practical side (like tickets) and Melyssa made sure I always had my place next to her and patiently translated me every single recording (everything!). Isa (from Belgium) had a car and she took me back to my hotel every night so I didn’t have to walk alone which always makes me a bit afraid. A huge thank you to the girls and the whole group!

Then it was time for the last recording day Sunday and the night turned out to be the funniest of all four nights! The coached had to fill their teams so they seriously had to compete for every talent and it made them use all their charm. Mika was very sweet and smiling and he got himself a very colorful and interesting singing group and we all screamed when the group (after being on stage for a long time) finally chose him. Definitely my second favorite in the whole competition! Then all the teams were finally full and the last contestant didn’t really have a proper chance even his performance was good and it was sad but that’s how the system works. That’s all for now, the season continues in December with battles!

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When I was a child my mother used to watch only movies based on true story – otherwise they would be nonsense – and I never understood her logic. It still makes no sense to me. What’s the point of making movies look like a real life when we can make our real lives look like a movie. These days I often have a feeling I live inside a screenplay and I love it. I love every moment.

I’m not talking about fancy and glamorous Hollywood style films, those things mean nothing to me. What I have in mind is more like a low-budget, really weird alternative one. Even my home life is quite colorful, but when I travel, I see places as beautiful as any movie scenes, meet people who could totally be film characters and get in situations I can hardly believe myself even I’m there. And there’s a soundtrack. My life has a soundtrack, for real.

When I watch Mika on stage I can see a weird combination of an adult fairytale, old-fashioned musical and Marvel super heroes, happening right in front of my eyes. Regarding to traveling this summer was all my French and Italian favorites put together. The tour itself was probably my favorite summer tour so far and I’ve looked forward to writing a small summary and collecting my thoughts about it.

This tour was different compared to any previous summer tours I’ve seen during years. It was very carefully considered. By that I mean every night was separately planned as an opposite to the old system with a basic structure songs added or left out depending on the current feeling. This time I got the impression every setlist was separately considered which felt thoughtful and very professional.

I appreciated it that the show was significally different every single night. Of course I did. It made a big difference and not only to fans like me who saw many shows but to everyone because it meant there was an extra excitement before every gig. Every night could stand out as it was and there were particular, detailed news and individual memories after all of them just based on the structure.

Having everything so carefully planned in advance means inevitably less spontaneous, random interaction between Mika and the audience which is something he is so good at and something people who are used to it might miss. I can see their point.

However, it looked to me that all the planning allowed Mika to be focused on his singing and that’s basically what I hope him to do. I just want him to sing to me. So if he is now more focused on his singing and performing than he has been for a while I definitely won’t complain. I have absolutely nothing to complain. I’m just happy I saw all these concerts.

Molfetta was the most idyllic location with the sea, salty smell, fishermen and cats. Palermo had the most amazing setlist of the whole tour. Not sure people even realized how challenging and generous it was. Perugia Jazz festival was one of the coolest events I’ve seen and I’m not even a jazz person. Padova was one of my personal favorites. I didn’t think anything during the whole gig, just enjoyed the music and maybe for that reason it seems to be so hard to write a report (but I will at some point).

La Rochelle was big, messy and colorful. Nimes was special (the venue, stunning performance and very special atmosphere). Carcassone and Sollies Pont were the same, fantastic style as Nimes in a bit smaller scale. Then back to Italy. I spent a beautiful, pleasant day in Trieste but the gig was a bit loud. Chieti was like an opposite to it, one of my favorite summer gigs ever (I wrote about those two gigs here). Rome was a bit peculiar but we got some gems and Cernobbio was simply put super emotional. Very touching indeed.

I noticed that if something was wrong during any of the gigs it was quickly fixed before the next one which added the professional impression (I had always thought they don’t have time for that). I could see Mika was relieved in Cernobbio like always in the end of the tour. For him it means first holidays and then something new and interesting to do in the future. For his fans it means another ending (which I don’t like but can deal with).

Usually we are all tired together. Now I was exhausted and my friends probably felt the same but Mika could still do high-energy, very high quality shows until the very end of the tour. It made me wonder if he takes good enough care of his health. I didn’t worry much though. I used to worry that something bad will happen to him. I don’t worry much anymore. He makes me feel safe.

Even those rare times when we happened to be in the same plane I felt totally safe and calm. I can’t explain why I automatically assumed that someone who travels with his mother could possibly protect and save a whole plane but that was my first thought. He would figure something out. He will figure something out.

I can’t thank enough everyone who I met this summer. The German fans from my another, adoptive home country (how cute it is to say that). Isa and Ani (you ladies know how much I appreciate it that sometimes we can just have a glass of prosecco and deal with everything after that). The whole French group (I love it that I can refer to you all as “one group”). Italian families (Grazia, Valeria and the others who I meet also outside Italy, the long-time Italian fans, the gorgeous younger generation and also new fans who I now learnt to know better). My Korean friends and all my international friends from different countries.

Thank you. I will miss you. Hope to see you soon again. xxx

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I chose the photo above because it reminds me how fantastic the stage and the whole setting looks. The whole summer tour has been even better than I ever expected and I feel so much love and only want to express how wonderful everything both sounds and looks.

Despite of the busy tour schedule Mika’s voice is in a very good condition. He sounds beautiful and gives no signs of tiredness at all. The sound works really well at the moment, we have seen some amazing venues and I could write a whole post just to describe the heaven stage which has been evolving a lot since the original Heaven Tour, with a few big elements it looks colorful yet simple enough.

Summer tours like this are not for everyone. July is hot and queuing in the burning sun is not easy at all. Schedules are busy and crowds big and at some events it’s necessary to stand hours or the whole day watching other artists while waiting for Mika. For me it’s still all a part of my usual summer program and I love it and have really enjoyed this tour first in Italy and then in France.

Italy is my favorite summer holiday area and visiting places like Molfetta, Palermo, Perugia and Padova and spending time with my Mika friends at events like Perugia Jazz Festival was definitely the best possible way to start my holidays. I generally love gigs in France. Mika is close with the country, the atmosphere is always special and it gives me a warm feeling to meet the local fans. I know well and admire their loyalty and group spirit and connect them to many of my concert memories since the early days. It was so wonderful to see all the familiar faces in La Rochelle, Nimes, Carcassonne and Sollies Pont!

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The festival in Sollies Pont started with a supporting act with a very peculiar, almost painful style which is typical for France but not my cup of tea at all. I loved it how beautiful the chateau behind the stage looked before setting up the backgrounds and took a photo of the pink color that reminded me of the color of The Grand Hotel Budapest. So pretty!

Mika started with No Place In Heaven which one of my favorites on the album, makes me happy to have it back on the setlist again. It’s not for the biggest festival crowds because people need to focus for it but worked still fine in Sollies Pont. It’s one of the best Mika songs and I know that people who properly know his music love the song. I adore this simple version!!!! See a video below.

I don’t know who takes care of the lights but the stage looks fabulous. I don’t have many good pics of the full stage but it does look amazing and I tried to film a couple of videos to show it. I love it how dreamy the lights looks in the beginning of Good Guys making the atmosphere more gentle. During the best parts of Happy Ending the whole stage is glowing in different shades and the Heaven sign sparkles like pointing out this is it. This is heaven. It looks magical. There are so many details like a short rainbow glimpse also in Billy Brown and I pay a lot of attention to them while watching the show.

I loved the special ending in Relax (below), so beautiful! Maybe only a coincidence but the blue, white and red scene looked suitable. I don’t speak French but I could recognize parts of the speech Mika did already in Nimes. Happy Ending was absolutely breath-taking. It’s not as emotional or touching as Relax or Last Party but it’s kind of his signature and definitely impressive every single time and makes me always think of how extremely lucky I am to hear it live (also vid below). I wish I had a video of Last Party to show the foggy lights but it’s my most important moment of the show and I have a rule not to disturb it by holding or focusing on my camera. Boum Boum Boum was so funny, make sure to watch the whole clip.

This was the last concert of the tour in France and I was aware Mika mentioned it several times but tried to ignore the thought. I can’t handle endings, they make me too sad. I’ve been traveling the past 18 months. I perfectly know how lucky I am being able to do this and I’m grateful for every single concert I’ve seen so far. Also, I know Mika needs a break to do new music and I know both my resources and my family’s patience are limited so a break is not a bad idea and I’m even kind of looking forward to it. Still, it’s always hard to know that something is ending and that I can’t be sure what will happen in the future… Makes me cry a little but just thinking of it.

My husband and I had a long drive after the show and he would have preferred to leave immediately but was kind and waited so I could say good bye to everyone. In the car I fell asleep but he woke me up to see three foxes walking on the side of the road. They all looked cute, young and a bit silly. Traveling to Finland tomorrow and then back to Italy for a few more gigs. Some pictures below.