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Mika was one of the performers for Casino Night Under The Stars in Monte Carlo on Saturday and I felt tempted to go as I had always wanted to hear Grace Kelly live in Monaco (one of the places where I hadn’t seen a concert yet) and booked a trip and then took part of every possible competition on the Casino Facebook page to win one of the dance floor passes. I was finally lucky to win a pass (most of the fans I know had already won one) and it gave an access to an exclusive area in front of stage so it was possible to see the show properly and from close distance.

The pass offered also drinks and a free game at the casino so I ended up having a very cool and unusual gig experience first watching the gig outside in front of Casino and then having a little game session inside. I’ve never dared to try those machines before but it’s actually very easy. You just push the button and then either win something or lose your money. Saskia and I won some money! We were naturally thrilled. Lol!

As so typical for big free events organized by companies for sales promotion purposes the event was quite poorly organized security wise. I always find that annoying and pay attention because companies should take responsibility of people’s safety, have a proper plan and enough professional security routines to control also big crowds. After getting in the dance floor area everything went well though and I was in a better mood as soon as the first artist (Charles Pasi) started. He was good! I liked his performance and felt entertained while waiting for Mika.

It wasn’t a proper Mika show so he didn’t have his normal stage set or light show and for some reason had some technical troubles on stage. It didn’t really matter though. He managed to keep up his usual good energy level and positive atmosphere and the audience had a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the evening. His performance felt short (it was probably shorter than planned) but the special venue and visiting the casino after the gig made it up and I was generally really pleased with my trip. Before leaving to the airport Saskia and I had a little chat with a couple from Manchester who happened to be in Monte Carlo that night and was still listening to Mika songs happy and high after the gig. I always love seeing how much people enjoy his shows. A few pics above, might post more later.

Rochefort is a lovely place with boats, beautiful buildings, parks and flowers (the flower/boat pics in the gallery are taken right next to the venue). The show was one of the first festivals announced this year so a lot of fans had made early plans to travel there. I loved meeting people and had a relaxed day in general.

The security arrangements for the festival were strict, even a bit exaggerated. I saw scary looking scanning equipments at the gates and decided to leave my bag and bigger camera in the car just a few minutes before the gates were opened. That way I had only my tiny camera in my hand which meant no good quality photos but also no extra fuss at the gates and I was lucky to get a great spot with a good view.

The program started early, I enjoyed watching the first act (a girl band) but wasn’t listening so carefully. Olympe’s performance didn’t convince me but he seemed very sweet and I could understand he has a lot of fans. Cristophe Willem was good. Really good actually. His music is not my style but he has a great voice and he was excellent on stage. When he finished his performance I almost had a feeling the show was over.

And it hadn’t even started yet! I was wondering if Mika knows Willem is that good on stage. I wanted him to show he is clearly better and hoped he doesn’t have any kind of a bad hair day. Not that he can’t do a good performance even those days – his show is always good quality – just wanted him to be at his best.

He came on stage and the show was fantastic from the beginning to the end. There was no doubt who was the headliner for the event. He did a proper length gig with several new songs and with a great mood, great positive energy and a lot of chatting and talking to the audience. I couldn’t understand his chatting of course but haven’t understood it for years and just enjoyed the show song after song. It was wonderful.

I especially loved hearing new songs. Talk About You, Staring At The Sun, Good Guys, Ordinary Man. French fans had prepared little surprises for several songs so we had balloons, hearts, stars and big printed pictures of “good guys” described in the song to show during Good Guys. I was happy to hold a Rufus pic! Mika seemed to like the idea and smiled watching and counting pics.

He did Ordinary Man properly with piano, it was a lovely treat. I heard Boum Boum Boum after a break, my biggest hope for that night. He makes it like a different song at gigs, going from calm to passionate emotions, I really love the atmosphere!

I very much enjoyed Talk About You and Staring At The Sun. Neither of those songs are my favorites on the album but I really love them performed live and can’t wait to finally hear my real favorite songs from the album (heard No Place In Heaven and Promiseland but only once). So much looking forward to the tour in September/October.

I felt really happy after the show and saw only happy, smiling people around me. The HEAVEN text in the hat a French fan is wearing above pretty much explains our feelings for the night. So much positive energy gathered in one place! I can’t decide which show I enjoyed more, this happy, long Rochefort gig with several new songs or the crazy, funny gig in Landerneau the day after, both really good experiences and a great way to end the season. Thanks everyone! X

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On my way back home from Southern France after seeing the last two festivals for the summer festival season. I really enjoyed this trip. I’ve seen dozens of Mika shows in France and like it how familiar everything has become and enjoy seeing so many faces I’ve known for years already.

To be honest festivals are generally hard. Messy, big areas with thousands of drunken people, most times located far away from everything, the weather always burning hot or pouring rain. I carry my camera with me because with a bit of luck festivals offer a very rare possibility to take photos with a bigger camera, sometimes even in day light which is the biggest luxury I know and it’s stressful and means constant worry about the security. Festivals are also often chaotic and you never know if you manage to get a good spot or not.

However, when things go well the show is always fantastic. Mika is brilliant at entertaining big crowds and I love watching how the audience gives him energy and how he gives all his energy to the people during the show. When he is the last performer or the only act for the evening the gig is normal length and like his usual shows except outdoors and always well worth traveling.

This time I saw two wonderful shows. Rochefort was a long, proper Mika show with several new songs. Landerneau was a festival set but felt longer and much more energetic than the Belgian one with lots of crazy, funny details. I will later write a proper report about Rochefort with photos and videos, now a short report about Landerneau and some more pics. My technical skills are poor, at home I use only natural light and photoshop photos as little as possible and the result for my gig photos depends always on pure luck but makes me still happy to try and I loved taking some photos in Landerneau.

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It was difficult to find a public transportation from Rochefort to Landerneau but I was lucky and got a ride from Corinne and his husband. A huge thank you to them both for being so helpful, couldn’t have done this otherwise. We slept a couple of hours in Corinne’s holiday house and arrived Landerneau around noon. The gates were opened at 2 pm and everything was relaxed and we went in trying to decide where to stay.

The Landerneau venue was different compared to Rochefort and didn’t have a proper front row. The stage was high with a little extension (just like in Belgium) and I wanted to stay in front of it (and would have obviously got much better pictures from there) but was too short to see anything else than the extension and didn’t want to risk the show in case the security tells strict no to taking photos and eventually went to the left corner to see also the piano. Regretted it a bit during the gig but enjoyed seeing the piano and festivals are always tricky this way, it’s very difficult to know the view in advance.

The line-up was really bad and not my taste at all. I bought food immediately after going in but the crowd started to pack around the stage soon after the program started and after that it was simply not possible to leave our spots even for toilets without losing them so I just tried to concentrate on every artist. I had seen Lily Woods a couple of times before so I knew some of their songs and enjoyed their performance (and loved her outfit!) but found the reggae bands before and after them a torture. The first band was quite experimental and had a lovely message (love and equality to everyone) but sounded absolutely awful and I couldn’t understand who let them on stage and literally thought ”just shoot me now” when saw another reggae band coming on stage with their big woolly hats.

I simply dislike reggae music unless it’s nicely hidden in pop and find the lazy rhythm irritating. However, I always try to be polite and supportive towards every festival act because I feel it’s my responsibility if I take a front row place and sometimes genuinely love discovering new music I would otherwise never listen to. For example I absolutely loved the punk band in Belgium and Cristophe Willem in Rochefort even neither of them my usual style of music, just really liked their stage performances. This time I really tried to smile and awkwardly danced along while listening to the second reggae band but the singer still totally picked my vibe and kept giving intense looks and raising his eyebrows and made me feel incredibly embarrassed. Thousands and thousands of people and the singer immediately read my real feelings? I hope it’s equally obvious to Mika that I love his music.

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The show in Landerneau was fantastic. He started with Relax and no matter how typical it is I can’t imagine any song being a better start for a Mika show (maybe Promiseland for the new tour?). After Relax he did Talk About You and Big Girl and after that his usual festival set but can’t remember the exact set list or order because paid so much attention to everything happening on stage.

The crowd was drunk and wild and he did crazy, funny things keeping it entertained taking a lot of contact with people talking especially to a random guy in a pink bunny suit, wearing a bunny hat offered to him and then asking the bunny guy to dance on stage with him. A lot of interaction with the band, loved it! Teasing Max several times, taking Tim’s hat, joking with Curtis who was lying on the piano and laughing so hard he could hardly play his saxophone. A lot of chatting with the audience and sweet attention and smiles to the fans. At some point he suddenly had women’s bra in his hand. He gave them a couple of confused looks and hang them in the microphone and later offered to our direction (my face being “noooo, you are not throwing someone’s underwear close to us”). Lol! A lot of silly dancing and every way a very colorful, cheerful festival performance.

I took photos and laughed at everything and – again – focused carefully on some songs to remember them later. I was especially happy about my live favorite Boum Boum Boum because haven’t heard it for a while and now heard it two nights in row and the new Love Today which is even more intense than earlier, not sure how that’s even possible. After the show he stopped quickly to say thank you to the French fans he knows well, saw me and gave a quick handshake because he is always so polite. It was somehow funny but very sweet of course, as an opposite to my cold hands his hands are always soft and warm. More about these festivals when back home.

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I never posted my New Year’s post, not sure why. Happy New Year, everyone! Odd years are traditionally good ones and this year will be very special with the new album. There’s mixed information about releasing it. I don’t mind if it’s happening later this year. There are so many things happening already and I’m just happy we have an album to look forward to.

My January has been busy and I could travel to Paris only for one of the two recordings days and chose Tuesday. I was disappointed to hear that Mika’s team had performed on Saturday already. I was naturally hoping to see his final team and how he is choosing it and if I had known it had already happened I might have cancelled my trip. However, I couldn’t know so I was there and had a good time anyway! It’s always good to see Mika and to be honest, Zazie and Florent Pagny probably had together better teams than Mika and Jenifer (who’s team performed also on Saturday) together.

The locals told that the atmosphere on Saturday was emotionally very heavy due to the sad events last week. People were still shocked and at least three people in the audience had fainted during the recording on Saturday which is very unusual (never seen that happen). On Tuesday people seemed to be more back on their routines. Everything looked normal even people naturally mentioned the events. I couldn’t see anything unusual like extra security at the airport but I’m sure everyone in Paris is still alarmed and for example the studio kept their gates closed which they don’t usually do.

The third round of the Voice (blind auditions and battles being the first and second) means that every coach brings their contestants on stage in groups of three and chooses one contestant from each group for live shows. Every team performed three times (3 times 3 contestants/songs) so in the end each coach had three contestants in their teams for live shows. Every coach had also an “extra card” and they chose one more contestant from someone else’s team so now every team has four members for live shows starting in  April.

Mika and Jenifer had already chosen their teams on Saturday. I heard some spoilers about Mika’s team and I can remember his contestants from earlier rounds. Maybe not the best but still good, very international and many ways his style of a team so he can be pleased with the recordings so far. I can’t remember Jenifer’s team but heard the girl with the unique, traditional/folk singing style is going to live shows. Absolutely a silly decision, imo, and I wonder if Jenifer is that emotional with her roots or if the production made it to offer something unusual.

Zazie has a great team and I really like her style. I liked many of the songs she had chosen for her team and that the majority of her contestant were male singers (much more my taste than female singers, I don’t much listen to female singers as they so often have this cold, metallic sound in their voice that gives me as much pleasure as a visit to a dentist). Two contestants in Zazie’s team were predictable favorites and they both continue to live shows even the second one had a very unsuccessful song choice to sing on Tuesday.

Florent Pagny likes good and strong but somehow for my taste boring singers. However, this year his team is better than last year and one of his contestants is actually very good and interesting so the competition will be very hard for each coach and the result depends on how versatile and charismatic the contestants will be on live shows.

Mika had still his extra card to use. I thought he is keeping it to save the girl who was originally in his team but surprisingly he used it earlier for a young boy from Florent Pagny’s team. The boy looked nervous and insecure (obviously knowing he doesn’t have a good chance against a very strong girl in his group) but did still a great performance and I really liked him and wished he could continue. Suddenly Mika pushed the button! Well he had to push it once but I was happy he did it that moment and thought I could give him a hug for doing it and that it was worth coming just to see him choosing that particular contestant.

The weather in Paris was awful and it was still raining when we got out the studio after the recording (after 1 AM) and I left immediately as Isa had kindly offered me a lift to the airport, a huge thank you to her for doing the extra driving, she had still a long way to drive to Belgium. I was lucky to find an open door at the CDG – the airport is mostly closed at night time – and did my best to stay awake until my early morning flight. Traveling from talent shows IS different than traveling from concerts because there’s no adrenaline to give extra strength. I wonder if it’s same for Mika or if the television work is equally exciting for him.

Thanks again to everyone I met in Paris, it’s always a pleasure and see you hopefully soon! Only four weeks until Montreal. I almost can’t believe it’s finally happening. Time to start planning.

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The Voice France battles were recorded a week before Christmas. Made sense for me to travel for Thursday and Saturday so I could also take part to the fan meeting organized on Saturday morning. I often travel to see Mika before Christmas and thought it might give a warm, christmassy feeling and it did indeed.

Battles are less entertaining than auditions or live shows though. We can see more reactions from the judges during blind auditions and live shows offer live recording excitement and proper show elements. At battles the judges are mainly focused on commenting and I obviously can’t follow equally well even Melissa helped me with translations once again. I enjoyed watching but was a bit sleepy on Thursday and let my mind wander in random details on Saturday.

For example, some of the young female contestants were dressed in outfits suitable for old women, why on earth? Soon after my style thoughts two young contestants from Mika’s team came on stage looking fresh and natural wearing jeans and Mika actually pointed out how “not over-dressing” has an effect on performing and being more genuine and totally agree with that. I really liked the girl wearing retro jeans but don’t have any clear favorites this year.

Several contestant (mostly from teams Mika/Zazie) look interesting and I want to see if any of them can grow enough to win the competition. At this point of the season many performances are still clumsy. I can’t give spoilers or details but I liked most song choices from Mika’s team even of course I can’t always understand his talent decisions (I’m not really musical and my taste is selective). Most times I did though.

As everyone probably knows the idea of battles is two contestants singing the same song and their coach deciding after that which one is in and which one out. Every coach had a possibility to save one contestant from another team and Florent Pagny used his card to save a really good, young contestant from Mika’s team. Happy for that Mika gave Florent Pagny a kiss and saved a contestant from his team as a return (not his usual style of a singer but nicely played anyway, imo).

Made me smile to see Mika and I enjoyed watching his working once again. He was wearing a magical velvet suit that looked black but was actually green as we could see under certain lights. The judges performed Come Together twice both nights and it wasn’t such an awesome version (as a group performance) but I loved seeing Mika on stage as always and everyone was dancing and and the whole performance was lot of fun. We saw Igit performing on Thursday and Florent Pagny on Saturday and neither of them my style but both proper singers so can’t complain and we didn’t have much hope to hear Mika singing anyway.

As I already mentioned earlier it’s good to see fan groups for different artists getting along so well and making friends. Something we can’t take for granted. The staff working around recordings was really nice again and seems they have learned that fans make a trustworthy and cheerful audience as there’s no sign of the strict attitude they showed in the very beginning.

I stayed at a hotel quite near the studios and on Saturday morning walked a twenty minutes way to an Irish pub where the French fans were gathering for a fan meeting. A huge thank you to Meggy and Melanie for organizing once again! So much fun to see a big group of people together, having lunch and chatting listening Mika on the background.

He promised to send “something to the party to make the last recording day smoother” but I wasn’t sure he can actually remember it in the middle of busy rehearsing. He did remember though and called (well, asked his team to call) to the restaurant to take care of the whole party and it was incredibly sweet -not just because of the money but the gesture – that he remembered and bothered for his fans. So kind and made everyone in a happy Christmas mood. A few pictures of the party below.

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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.

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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.

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For some reason I haven’t earlier blogged about the Parc des Princes show in Paris 2008. Partly because it was an arena/stadium show and even I had a great seat I was so far away I don’t have much material to share. Partly because it was only my second Mika show – I was still a newbie at live gigs – and the event was such a massive emotional experience it’s not even possible to describe or explain it all.

The show – designed together with stage and costume designer Es Devlin – was literally a circus. It was so colorful and full of details it almost caused a sensory overload. It must be one of the most important moments of Mika’s career and I’m grateful I saw it. At the same time wish I could see it all again, now with my current experience and point of view to be able to register and remember every detail and to see the whole event from a different perspective.

My first thought would be how huge and important it is! Big on any scale and for any artist. I would think how special it is for Mika to make his childhood dreams come true (by creating a real circus) and I would wonder how many people and working hours are needed to prepare a concert that big/what kind of a financial risk the event must be. I would take hundreds of pictures and document every single detail.

That time all I could think was myself and that I needed a Mika concert. I felt I hadn’t slept for 8 years. I needed energy and I needed something to blow my mind in a legal, somehow healthy way. My children were still very young and I couldn’t travel on my own so I took my whole family (including my sister in law) and spent a week in Paris to be able to see the show. It was wonderful! It worked exactly as I had hoped and kept me happy for months.

I don’t think arenas are ideal for any artist, they are more suitable for bands, imo. The stage was giant and Mika was running most of the time. I had a seat and I was a bit jealous watching people partying in front of stage. The zoom in my camera was non-existent so I was super jealous watching professional photographers walking around the venue as a group with all their equipments (some of them had even trolleys!). Why can’t I walk around and use a giant zoom like they do?! “Because they are allowed to and you are not, you are supposed to be in the audience” (my husband said and gently pushed me back to my seat). My view was actually really good. I loved watching the show elements brought into the crowd, I loved watching the massive audience.

It was a magical night and a lovely week in Paris. A beautiful start for my later “Mika in France” experiences. A newspaper article and a couple of my old videos below. To tell the truth I don’t know what the article says, I just happened to see it in a cafe. After 6 years and dozens of shows in France I (sadly) still don’t speak French. Love Today was probably the best part of the show (be sure to watch the whole video with the giant dragon). Just can’t get enough is one of Mika’s rare covers.

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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

I was lucky to have a ticket for the Voice last night so decided to travel to Paris again (tickets are a lottery after all and never know how it goes with the other shows). I really enjoyed my weekend with the French fans, a huge thank you for your help, everyone! A few words about the live show as everything felt very different than last week.

Well I didn’t find the show as entertaining as a week ago simply because I couldn’t see the stage and all the show elements. An ideal spot was difficult to find and I rather took a spot near Mika than the one next to the stage (yes, fangurl decisions). Also, I generally found the songs chosen to the contestants better last week. Too sad or emotional songs can easily sound like trying too hard and be more risky.

However, Mika’s team was awesome! Marina, Fréro Delavega and Elodie performed their songs and I might be biased but they were better than anyone! They all did well but I loved Fréro Delavega’s performance with circus themed elements (it made me think of PDP and as they used the whole stage I was able to see quite well) and Elodie’s great version of Wicked Game (one of my all time favorite songs) so I was happy that Elodie was voted safe and that Mika decided to keep Fréro Delavega in the contest.

It was confusing and a bit emotional to see Mika in such a different mood than he usually is. He obviously wanted to be anywhere else than in front of millions of people doing a live television show and looked preoccupied (but can’t blame him as he has had a lot on his mind lately). I couldn’t understand his comments in French of course and I had to ask translations from the girls. They told me he was brutally honest and the other judges seemed to respect his opinions.

So he wasn’t his usual lively self after a tiring week but seemed to enjoy watching his team (Fréro Delavega with their stage elements brought a genuine smile on his face) and relaxed in the end when the show was almost over. The highlight of the show was naturally Mika singing EMD with his team (watch it here). Loved watching him on stage again! I like his team at the moment but don’t have a clear favorite. I was so sure it’s one of the boys but now I really like Elodie as well! Also, I like the other coaches more than I thought I would as they all seem to be quite warm and empathic with their teams. I really enjoyed seeing the show and everything happening behind the scenes.

I spent my weekend in Paris for the first Voice France live show. Almost embarrassing to admit how happy I was to see Mika and spend a few hours watching his television work (hadn’t seen him for months). It made my week and my spring and practically my whole year (in case there really won’t be any summer shows or festival performances, what a sad thought). I love watching Mika at work. Obviously I would rather see a concert than him judging a talent show. However, I do enjoy watching his television work and especially seeing what’s happening behind the scenes. Foreign television shows are difficult for me to follow at home but being there, seeing people’s reactions, talking with local fans and seeing what’s really happening when cameras are off are totally worth traveling.

Was so much fun to travel again. I knew to expect some little things going wrong and didn’t mind my hotel doing double booking and sending me to another one or changing my hotel room in the middle of the night. It’s kind of a part of the package when traveling in France. It’s a part of the charm. I met the local fans on Saturday in front of the studio (a very large area, so difficult to find the right building). We spent a nice and sunny afternoon together. Just waiting, sitting, having coffee. Paris spring looked lovely, so early compared to Finland. The trees around the studio were blooming and I saw the first butterfly for the summer! It was white/pale yellow – a very good omen for the summer – and made me in a good mood and to look forward to the evening. We were let into the building around 6 PM and left our jackets/bags/belongings and had security checks and took our places in the studio. The studio was was not the same as for the auditions and battles but looked almost exactly the same. Only VIP guests had seats and fans/other people with invitations went to the standing area. I could hardly wait the show to start as we knew the coaches would sing (first a medley together and later songs with their teams).

The coaches were introduced before the show started and I was staring Mika’s trousers, what an earth was he wearing? Totally the same shade as the shiny curtains I had in my first student apartment in 90’s. The show started and I could finally had a closer look at his suit. And omg, his suit was full of butterflies! So pretty, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. He was covered with butterflies! I can’t imagine anyone else wearing a suit like that (a picture of the butterfly suit here ). He looked nervous during the introduction and it made me really nervous as well (not just for him but also for his team). There was excitement in the air like always a moment before a live television show. The coaches did their medley (with Relax), had their seats and the show started. First Garou’s team, then Jenifer, Florent Pagny and finally Mika and his team. Three contestant from every team did their songs, the coaches gave a few comments and every time after three performances Nikos announced who was voted safe (by the television audience). The team coach saved one more contestant from their team and the third one was out of the competition. In the end one contestant from every team was out.

Mika had a bad flu. I felt bad for him as always when I see him working sick/not well but live television shows are almost impossible to cancel unless emergency so he just had to do his job. He looked sick and was sneezing and blowing his nose as soon as the cameras went off but he concentrated on every performance during the live show and handled everything well (so he probably didn’t feel comfortable but was able to focus as needed, no worries). The level was very good, there’s a proper competition and I really can’t tell which contestant is most likely to win. Kendji was voted safe from Mika’s team (his performance here) and Mika had to choose between Caroline and Spleen and he practically had no other choice than to choose Caroline. Not going to lie, I’m glad Spleen is out as he was my least favorite and made my ears hurt. I wonder if Mika was really prepared to send him out though. It’s possible he expected (well, I did) Caroline to be the audience favorite as she is the best singer of the these three contestants and that would have made Mika to choose between Kendji and Spleen. That didn’t happen though and the audience seems to like Kendji. I like him too. With suitable songs he is easy and so relaxing to listen to and can go far in the competition (even not as talented and experienced as some other contestant, just my opinion of course).

Caroline hasn’t been my favorite but must say I really enjoyed her performance on Saturday. I liked the song chosen for her and she did well and looked magical on stage in her lovely dress. Every song was like a small show itself with lots of different show elements: fire, dancers, lights, glitter, smoke… Quite grandiose, I guess it’s a part of the concept. Spleen started his performance outside of the studio and walked trough the backstage – cameras following – before coming to stage to make his performance to look a bit different. The schedule was more hectic than during the auditions or battles and the coaches had to tell their opinions quickly with not much time to think or breath. I enjoyed the show, it was surprisingly entertaining, but naturally the best part was to see Mika performing with his team (they did Just Can’t Get Enough, saw him singing it at PDP concert almost six years ago) and see the busy behind the scenes action: ten people suddenly appearing, people jumping to the stage to move props and guiding the audience and a hairdresser putting Mika’s curls in order.

I’m sure his own music means a lot to him and he sounds happy to tell news about his studio work. We just don’t have a possibility to see concerts at the moment or even in the near future so I’m grateful I can still see some other things like television recordings and meet my Mika friends while waiting. The filming took 2,5 hours and when the cameras went off he came and said a quick hi to us (in the audience) and it was sweet and I really appreciated it as it’s always means more when he takes steps to us. It was good to meet so many people, a couple of pics from my phone below.