The second Casa Mika season is still continuing on television but the recordings are all done and for us who liked to be in the studio and watch everything live it’s practically over. Luckily there are still two episodes to watch via streaming. I’m afraid the ratings for the show haven’t been nearly as good as last year but that’s definitely not because of the quality of the show but for other reasons like the timing and also the fact the big audience in Italy simply don’t know to value high quality as much as we all had hoped. I’ve really enjoyed this season and I collected some of my favorite details below. The past four weeks have been a project for me as well and it had a personal meaning to be there for the last recording and I really appreciated that I was able to do it and I saw some performances that will always stay in my memories.

During the last recording we saw the party confetti version of It’s My House I had hoped for all these weeks. I love confetti. It makes a mess and I feel childish to admit it but I love it. Different theme versions of It’s My House have been one of my favorite parts of the season and I find it surprising. It’s not a song I love the same way I love his best songs and it’s not the kind of song where Mika can go deep inside of the song like he can do with his most stunning songs. It’s rather like one of those songs where he needs to built something around the song to make it work (the same way like Celebrate or Talk About You) but – or maybe for that reason – it fits perfectly for television and it could fit on his concert setlist as well. I loved the show elements for the aquaworld we saw last Sunday (probably aired during the third episode) and I loved the confetti party version from Wednesday. Every detail – the stage and even his suit – was matching with the colorful theme and the idea was cool and will surely look fantastic on television.

It’s not easy to make high energy songs work on television the same way as controlled, slower songs do without impressive show elements. Hearing stunning versions of songs like Any Other World, No Place In Heaven or Happy Ending or beautiful covers either in English or Italian where Mika is fully focused on the song is the biggest reason that makes me travel to Italy time after time instead of only watching the show on television. Mika is at his best when he’s doing strong songs sitting at his piano or otherwise purely focusing on his singing. Not only because his voice sounds better that way but also because he’s reached the point where his performing side is strong and describing enough to make those songs extremely stunning.

It’s good development, it means he’s maturing as an artist. Also, a television recording means different circumstances for high energy songs compared to a concert. In the studio there’s no (the same kind of) adrenalin or energy included. During a real concert both Mika and his band can listen to the audience and respond to the current energy, they can also make small changes and let the energetic songs evolve night after night and all that can’t happen during a controlled and considered one time only performance they do for a television show.

About the audience. Most of the time studio audiences don’t know what to do. People stand up and clap in a wrong rhythm when they should either sit and focus on a very special performance or dance and party. It would have been a good idea to have a person who guides the audience and clearly tells when to sit, when to stand and how to clap like many other big productions have (like it is at the Voice, can’t remember the guy’s name but everyone who’s been at the recordings knows who I mean). It might have been worth it especially nights when most people came to see their first recording like it looked on Wednesday.

One of my favorite details during this season was the fiction part, it was well done in every way including outfits, style and designs and there seemed to be a good story to follow all the way. I loved some collaboration ideas as well. I’m not an opera person, I don’t know much about it and in the beginning I thought it would make me bored but I loved watching especially the last one we saw. I loved some guests, some others not so much. Rita Pavone and Massimo Ranieri made me smile and enjoy the show because they are the kind of old stars Mika can have fun with on stage, he doesn’t need to take care of them, they take care of themselves. The level of guests varies and I understand it very well. Recordings are done in such a short time period and it must be difficult to fit everyone’s schedules together and must be a challenge to find interesting enough guests for every episode.

This year the production had chosen several a bit provocative details to show to the audience. We could see Mika taking off his clothes, we could see him in the bath tube with Fedez and we could see him giving a beautiful lady a long, long kiss. Some fans might think it was all done just to attract more viewers but it didn’t look to me Mika thought it that way. It looked to me he wanted to show he has no limits on stage. That he can do whatever it needs to be done for the show and I think he was quite brave doing it all, he’s sometimes very shy. Also, it was all genuinely quite funny. There were many funny details between music and more serious topics.

I would naturally like to see Mika in the main role all the time. On Wednesday he did several solo performances and I absolutely loved it and in the end of the session we all had the feeling he let his music talk and tell the message. He said good bye to the house and did the last song and I had tears in my eyes, partly because good byes are always sad but partly also because the performance was so incredibly beautiful. It’s not that I want Mika to be stuck in Italy doing Casa Mika for the rest of his life, there are many other options for him. He can take the concept to other countries or he can bring it on stage or he can just take some ideas and use them at gigs. I want him to make music one way or another, where ever it happens. There’s so much potential to use in numerous different ways.

After the recording the atmosphere was actually very happy. Italian fans had planned a wonderful after party and invited us all to be a part of it. It was raining but they still set a beautiful table with a white table cloth and real candles and fairy lights and beautiful glasses and serving dishes and it was all really Italian. Italian people love dressing up and making things fancy and beautiful. They had wines and pizza and even potato crisps (practically the only thing I can eat in situations like that and believe me I was hungry after not eating the whole day) and when Mika was ready with his own after recording duties the security invited us inside the Casa Mika gates and the table and everything else was brought with us and Mika came to see it and he saw the amazing house themed cakes and the fancy champagne bought him as a gift and I think he could understand the effort the girls had made because he showed a very sweet reaction. He opened one of the bottles and poured some sparkling wine to everyone and patiently cut and served the cake and was generally as kind and thoughtful as only he can be and it left a good, happy feeling to everyone. A very sweet thing from him to do.

Another Italian adventure behind, thanks everyone xxx

I haven’t posted any blogs after the past three recordings so I’m collecting a few thoughts here. I was at the studio a week ago on Sunday night after the mfc party and I really enjoyed watching the filming together with my friends but didn’t have any special thoughts to share afterwards and blogged only about the party (photo galleries here). I returned to Milan on Wednesday even I didn’t have a ticket (I still wanted to travel to keep my flights for this week, they were connected) and wasn’t lucky with overbooking. I stayed outside the studio the night because that’s the whole idea with overbooking, you might get in at any time during the recording in case there are free seats. However, no luck for me with that on Wednesday.

It was sad, to be honest, to listen to “my house is your house” outside in the cold knowing it’s just a song and that obviously that time his house wasn’t my house at all. It came to my mind maybe I shouldn’t be doing all this. Maybe I shouldn’t take risks all the time because it’s not possible to be lucky all the time (for any of us). I couldn’t wait to be back home and get some hugs from my family and also have a little rest. After a day off I went back to Milan, this time with a ticket and last night saw a beautiful, beautiful recording!

Suddenly occasional few hours outside like a few days earlier didn’t feel that bad anymore. It wasn’t the first time things don’t work out and it wasn’t the last time they don’t work out, sometimes it simply is like that. What’s important, most times everything works out like it did last night. Everything was beautiful. The whole session was absolutely beautiful from beginning to the end. As beautiful as it can be.

A few random thoughts about these recordings below.

It’s amazing to watch how confident Mika is compared to the first season. I’m sure he’s a bit stressed, the work is hectic and something unexpected is happening all the time but we can’t really much see his stress at all, he looks just very confident and relaxed and chats with the audience during breaks. He’s very focused and it’s easy to see how important it is for him to do things well, he looks determined and ambitious and that’s always attractive to watch, isn’t it. I find all that really charismatic in anyone and as you all know Mika can be charismatic just standing there. It’s impressive to watch him on stage and I’m sure the whole audience feels the same.

We haven’t seen any particularly interesting international guest this year – not as interesting as last year – but on the other hand there are some interesting collaborations and I’ve very much enjoyed seeing them. Also, I think the topics are more serious this year and that’s good development and something I had hoped for this season in advance. I’ve been surprised by the response Gregory is getting on twitter, people are really touched by this character and sharing their own experiences about depression, anxiety or other kind of darker emotions. In Finland people are naturally melancholic and for us sadness is a normal part of life and it’s natural to talk about it but I think Italians are not that direct or used to it and for them it can be easier to talk via Gregory. Maybe, not sure if that’s the explanation, in any case the idea works really well and I’m happy to watch the warm response the character is receiving. Unfortunately my Italian is not good enough to understand any monologues and I need to wait translations to properly understand everything.

Last night we saw performances with Fedez and I think that was a good thing as we had earlier already seen several older guests and this balanced the age structure (Fedez already posted about his visit so it’s not a surprise to anyone and not something to avoid mentioning). After Fedez some stunning solo performances from Mika. I felt extremely lucky to be in the studio last night and I know I will feel lucky to watch the performances again on television and also to have the clips to watch later. Everything was perfect, the voice, music, outfits, show elements. Now looking forward to the show on television on Tuesday and the last recording session on Wednesday. The season will be over before we properly realize it started xxx

Back home from the third Casa Mika recording. I’m keeping my update short and try not to give any details in advance. We saw one international special guest – something different than I had expected – and would be difficult to describe the session without revealing too much. Also, we didn’t see any solo performance from Mika so I didn’t feel as excited and emotional as I did during the previous sessions even of course I enjoyed watching him with guests and appreciated the opportunity to follow the production work as much as I always do.

This time Mika was mostly in his role of the host of the evening and interviewed and entertained. He is good at that all and it was a pleasure to watch him but naturally, it didn’t give me the excitement and extreme happiness I usually get from his own music performances. He did some songs with his guests and with them he’s very much focused on them, making sure they get their share of the spotlight, trying not to draw too much attention to himself. All what we can expect from a good and generous host.

One of the songs he did on Sunday together with an Italian well-known guest was a particularly great performance and it seemed to me both the guest and the host had equally fun. The audience was very lucky and the performance had to be repeated (I think they made a mistake with their choreography) and even Mika seemed to enjoy doing everything all over again. My favorite kind of Casa Mika performance even this popular Italian song wasn’t familiar to me in advance.

In case someone thinks it looks too easy for people like me to be there and see everything I want to remind this is actually not that easy at all. Milan is far away from Helsinki and being there twice a week means spending two nights at recordings and four days and nights traveling between Helsinki and Milan leaving only two days to spend at home with my family. I can do all that only because my family is being endlessly patient with me and I try not to take it for granted. My husband takes care of everything at home while I travel and he does it because he knows how important this all is to me and how happy it makes me.

It does make me happy. It’s wonderful to see Mika on stage again and to hear him sing both alone and with guests. There’s a new tone in his voice compared to some old recordings I’ve been listening to at home during the gig break and I love hearing it. I don’t think things can stay exactly the same all the time and thinking of time passing by makes me aware of how precious everything is. When this moment is gone it will never come back. We need to enjoy everything as much as possible.

For many fans things happening purely in Italy seem like minor events on Mika’s career but a show of his own in general, especially a show of his own this big is a huge possibility and would be an amazing opportunity for any artist. It means also huge pressure. There’s a massive production and people who write and people who design and people who take care of every technical detail but it’s Mika’s name written on the wall with giant letters full of flowers and it’s him on stage in different glittery suits practically the whole two hours. It’s even his responsibility to make everyone else look good and whatever the result it will reflect back on him and the channel investing in him.

Italian television audience is not like us fans, it’s demanding in a different way. Luckily the studio is full of people who already love him and everyone’s attention is on him during the whole recording session and I’m happy it’s like that. I want him to feel the instant response from the audience so he can remember how it feels and how important his music is to people in case he has forgotten it.

The cutest thing actually happened after the third recording when I heard Mika talking about the special guest he had that night using words a child would use and being very serious in his excitement. I think he just used words he had in mind. In the middle of those crazy busy schedules and hard work and after being such a professional television host the whole evening he genuinely talked like an excited kid. I thought it was adorable. He’s very special that way. I often think there’s a part in him that’s not totally grown up, sometimes he makes me think of my 6 year old nephew. I’m happy to know the television world has not yet ruined him and hope it never will.

At the moment this show is as close to Mika making music as we can get and I’m looking forward to seeing many memorable performances before the season is over. I will be back in Milan on Saturday. There’s an MFC party on Sunday morning and I’m planning to take a lot of pics and will post them after the event. Can’t wait to meet everyone xxx

In the pic above is only a cardboard version of Mika but I thought it was funny they brought it outside next to the Casa Mika car so the audience could take selfies with it before going in. It’s not allowed to take any photos inside the studio so no pics of the setting to share but I wanted to write a small update in any case, otherwise seems impossible to keep my notes in time order.

I know my emotional response to the first recording (part 1 here) seemed silly but actually many people told me afterwards they felt exactly the same way and that it was lovely to tears to hear Mika’s voice and to watch him preparing his performances and to see only him on stage after such a long break in gigs lately. On Sunday during the first filming there were no tight schedules with guests and the atmosphere was warm and cosy, Mika was very casual with the audience and chatted and shared his slightly nervous feelings with people which added the emotional vibe.

On Wednesday the production went through the whole first episode and filmed all performances with guests. Mika was chatting as casually as he did on Sunday but he had to also stay extremely sharp because the schedule was long and full of different components: music performances, interviews, monologues, small fiction parts and other details like clips filmed in advance and showed on the screen. The whole session was really interesting to watch and follow on many levels, not just Mika’s part and the guests but everything what was happening in the studio. The production group is big and I could recognize many faces from the last season.

I was seated a barrier located directly in front of my face and the lady from production responsible of the audience kindly offered us a couple of places with no barriers and further away (she saw them after everyone had arrived) but as soon as I stood up my view was stunning so I preferred to stay at my barrier seat and had really a brilliant view during the parts where the audience could stand or dance and saw actually very well between the barriers everything else as well and I told the lady after the session how perfect it all was. The production for a show this big is like a huge machine and I feel we fans are extremely lucky to have our opportunities to watch everything this closely and I hope people working for the audience know how grateful we are.

I’m trying not to give any spoilers about the upcoming episodes but as Rai has already announced some of the guests it doesn’t matter I mention them here too. Most songs would be better performed by Mika alone (my honest opinion), I’ve never been keen to hear duets for that particular reason. However, of course the whole idea of the show is Mika opening his house and welcoming people into his world so letting his guest to take their time and space is quite essential to the concept no matter how much we all would prefer listening only to him.

And I do love watching him with people and I admire his sensitivity and ability to face people as persons and everyone as they are and have always thought what a complex person he must be on the other hand giving such a private impression and on the other hand being so patient and generous with his attention to people around him. He’s got a lot of practice in that and he’s very professional but I still find it astonishing to watch every single time.

The most interesting guests are always those who impress Mika as much as they impress the audience and I love watching his gestures and how much he seems to respect people’s experience and long careers they’ve built. On Wednesday my favorite guest was singer Rita Pavone who had an incredible energy and who totally rocked the whole studio. She and Mika did a performance together and people in the audience had a blast dancing and partying.

Because the show is Italian I’m naturally not always familiar in advance with the guests and think they’ve been selected partly because of timing like always with different television shows – there are always singers and actors willing to promote their latest projects – and whether I like these guests or not usually depends on their performance that night. International guests are artists suitably visiting Italy or people Mika somehow personally knows and this time we saw Dita von Teese who’s performance I didn’t know to look forward to in advance but which I eventually found very impressive.

Her figure looks absolutely stunning, I must say. I was wondering how it even can be that stunning but as she told herself, she was born a blond-haired Midwest girl and has probably worked hard both for the character/role and the figure. I would have loved to hear her talking longer to learn to know how she is as a person but at least we heard a small interview between her burlesque performances. I’ve always thought burlesque means a certain style and certain type of show elements but I guess the main point is still to take clothes off. Anyway, I found her performances exciting and her as a guest very interesting. Also, her part in the show was entertaining many ways and I’m sure people will love it.

I really love the small time traveling idea located between guests as it seems to give rhythm to the show and connects the studio space and beforehand recorded clips together and it works well and I can follow it (and also the taxi parts familiar from the last year) quite well despite of my weak language skills. However, Luciana Littizzetto who joins Mika several times during the episodes speaks incredibly fast and understanding her with my practically non-existing Italian is impossible and from my point of view those parts feel long but the Italian audience seems to think she’s very funny.

The highlight for the season start is the performance for It’s My House, an obvious choice for the first episode. It’s My House was filmed again on Wednesday and the performance was full of energy and show elements and seeing it now twice is not enough for me and would love to see it again and again and hope Mika will do it at least one more time maybe in the end of the season with lots and lots of confetti. Also, I loved the old-fashioned Italian song we heard both on Sunday and Wednesday, his voice sounds extreme pleasant in a song that style and I could have listened to it for hours.

One of the performances Mika did on Sunday was so stunning they didn’t film it again on Wednesday at all but we saw the recording on the screen and it was as breathtaking as I could remember it being. The second recording ended around 2 am. Even all the performances gave me a lot of energy I was still very sleepy in the end of the session and could only imagine how exhausted Mika must have felt after focusing so hard for so many hours without any breaks but I hope the joy and pride of having his own show we could see on his face and even in his moves and gestures made him forget the tiredness.

I met some new and many familiar faces on Wednesday and had a lovely time, thanks everyone xxx

Watching Mika winning the Rose d’Or Awards Entertainment category and getting his award in Berlin last night was touching and made me so incredibly happy for him. It’s good to see him getting official recognition, so genuinely and well deserved. I asked the ceremony organizers if I could take a few pics for my blog and they were super nice and told sure, it’s okay, and I took my camera with me. I’m not much of the photographer so I stayed a bit side not to disturb anyone. Mika saw me at the red carpet though, looked surprised and smiled directly in front of me telling “one for you!” and I quickly used the opportunity to take a pic. The ceremony was nicely organized and we had a possibility to congratulate him after the official part. A report to follow as soon as back home. X

I spent a long weekend in France and had a lovely time. I’ve visited Paris many, many times but I’m learning to know it properly and seriously falling in love with the city only now. I had a couple of extra days so I walked around, visited a museum, bought some books and checked a few gluten-free restaurants and cafes to visit them again with my family next time we are in Paris. I had looked forward to this final television show. I generally enjoy live television, there’s a particular excitement in it and I enjoy watching people working around the production. Of course there was the usual bittersweet feeling related to my trip as this was my last one once again and now there’s nothing to look forward to in the near future. The pics below are taken at the radio station where Mika did an interview for Saturday and fans used an opportunity to give him some gifts (thanks to Eriko, listen to the interview here).

I felt bad after seeing the results of the last week’s show because Mika had voted Audrey over Vincent (who still went to the final after the audience votes) and in my eyes his decision looked almost like an insult towards Vincent. Vincent hadn’t made much progress during the live shows but I had assumed that was partly because of the format which put him on the same level with the other contestants and instead of letting him be different asked him to be ordinary and like everyone else and he seemed to be only average at that. I thought since the beginning there’s something special in Vincent, not in his technical skills but in the way he performs, there was something passionate and even and a bit mad in it and I thought that Mika (if someone) could bring out whatever was special in him.

It didn’t seem to happen though. I wanted to think it will happen if we can just be patient. After seeing the results I thought even Mika had lost his patience and given up with Vincent and for that reason voted Audrey. That was an irrational conclusion of course. Maybe as a professional he understood why things didn’t work out and also, even if from my point of view only Mika’s opinion matters and all those audience votes meant nothing this contestant hardly thought the same and being among the final four talents was an achievement itself. I could see both Mika and Vincent were well prepared for their night this week and Vincent did really, really well and finally made some progress (at least in my honest opinion) and can be pleased with his part in the competition and how it ended.

We saw many actually quite interesting performances during the night. Nicola was clearly the weakest contestant during the final. None of his songs impressed me in any way. He might have tried a bit too much and had also bad luck and the least interesting special guest as his duet partner. Lucie was better than earlier and I liked her songs. She looked absolutely stunning during her New York performance and did well with it. I’m warming up to Florent’s music. I’ve liked him as a person since the beginning but never much paid much attention to his singing even I know he has a great voice. Lucie had Shakira as her another special guest and no one noticed anyone else than her on stage so Lucie was totally in the shadow of her but it was quite an opportunity for a young girl to be on stage with a star like Shakira and probably well worth sacrificing this one song especially taking in account Lucie wasn’t a favorite in the competition at all.

Lisandro was the big audience favorite and (I admit I’m biased in this as I’m a mother and in my world teenage boys can do small wonders every day) I kind of hoped and assumed Lisandro would win even I supported Vincent as my personal favorite. I watched Lisandro this week and he looked amazingly ready for his new role and was incredibly smooth with people shaking hands, giving hugs, smiling, posing in pictures, chatting and doing even small dances on the street in front of crowds (a pic of him below).

Lisandro’s first song was not his style and generally not suitable for him but as soon as he started his performance with Soprano every single person in the studio knew there goes the winner. There was no other possibility and at some point I turned my head and saw Mika’s face and imagined him thinking ”oh fuck there goes the winner” even of course it couldn’t be a surprise to him. I thought Lisandro is a better singer than his coach but Matt is a fantastic dancer and their talent/coach performance was for that reason quite impressive as well. Lisandro deserved to win the competition without a  doubt. He is still a kid and yet someone ready to be a pop singer and probably has a better possibility to make it than talent show winners in general.

Vincent did super well with his solo performance Take On Me from A-ha and I hope Mika feels proud of him. He performed well also with his guest partner but the French song was not familiar to me and I practically missed it because the guitarist took over both the stage and my attention. Yesterday – Vincent’s duet with Mika – was absolutely beautiful. They sounded lovely and balanced together and I thought Mika was very thoughtful and sensitive with his talent and well remembered he was was there not alone but had someone to take care of and also that Vincent’s singing didn’t disturb my pleasure of listening to Mika at all and that’s a big compliment and more than I can say about most people I’ve heard singing together with him.

I had so looked forward to finally hearing Mika’s singing and even it was only one song and together with his talent it was still breath-taking and put my life in order like it always does. I sometimes have moments when I question this weird dedication but he needs to sing one song only, just one, and everything makes sense again and every hour of traveling feels well worth while. The whole world becomes like a different place than it was before. Everything looks suddenly brighter, colors are much stronger and there’s a fresh, beautiful smell and I feel harmonious and happy and confident that everything is like it should be. In seconds. It’s like magic.

I wish he could make music all the time. He enjoys his busy cosmopolitan life and wants to try everything new and different and challenge himself and probably thinks business wise as well and I understand that all well and think he is extremely good at several areas, much better than most people can ever be. I still think he is at his best when he sings. And if he wants to stand out as much as he has potential and to be something truly special he should include singing and making music in whatever he is doing. Like do Casa Mika built around his music. The art of song covering great song writers. Musicals. Symphony. Singing is his super power. It’s like a part of his soul. I want to be understanding and supportive and I enjoy watching whatever he does (and will do it in the future) but for selfish reasons I cry just thinking of my life without his music.

I had hoped that something I see or hear at the Voice would make me excited and look forward to the future but it didn’t happen. I was lucky to see Mika quickly a couple of times but there was no possibility to actually talk with him. He was sweet and polite and greeted me in English (paying kindly attention that way)  and then quickly continued discussion in French so I wasn’t in the conversation or wasn’t even expected to ask anything (only fair remembering we were in France) and didn’t get any excited vibes. I know he has mentioned a new album but to be honest I haven’t got an impression he can dedicate enough time for it in the near future and expect more television or other projects whatever they are. The second season for Casa Mika is confirmed though and I live in hope I can follow it like I did last year and I leave my blog here to wait for either that or something else that might come up.

I really enjoyed this The Voice season and especially the final night. We saw Shakira as an international guest and she came on stage giving a few handshakes to people on her way and I was surprised she assumed people are prepared for that and was grateful I wasn’t standing where I was last time (because I wouldn’t have been prepared) and was told that she is hugely, hugely popular and actually a big star. She was charismatic indeed. She started her performance showing some incredible – and I mean absolutely unbelievable – moves and you know, after watching her a while I kind of hoped she would come to me and shake my hand as well but she didn’t, just high-fived people on my right and left. Impressive lady.

The evening was entertaining and after midnight the show ended and we took a pic and said – reluctantly of course – good bye to Mika and to each other and left everyone our own ways. I left with Isa and Ani and we stopped at a restaurant to have drinks and crashed a random birthday party and were invited in to have wine and cake and to watch burning lanterns sent on the sky and it was a weird but funny ending for a wonderful day. We saw a crowd on our way out from the area and recognized Vincent in the middle of it and I took a pic with him but not sure how it turned out and will see it later. The girls gave me a lift to my hotel in their car (I was worried to walk alone) and I heard later they were robbed on their way to their own hotel and felt shocked about it. Luckily they are okay (just small bruises) but everyone please remember for the next season that the area around the studios is not safe at all.

Thanks everyone for this spring and the whole season. Special thanks to my dear French friends! I miss you all and hope to be back soon. It was such a pleasure to meet you again and to do things together. I add below a few pics I took this week. Take care xxx

Back home from Paris. I haven’t slept and have a really busy week ahead so just a very quick summary about the show this week. The weekend itself was sunny and also quite funny, I laughed a lot. The recording event was very crowded and I was totally lost both during and after it, a huge thank you to the French girls who patiently helped me to find my way in the chaos. 15 calls from the uber-driver while he tried to find me in the studio area. 15! I gave him five stars just for not leaving me there in the middle of the night.

The teams gathered together a moment before the show was supposed to start and Mika appeared on stage wearing his best stage outfit black trousers and a white shirt looking super, super, super stylish and making my heart almost stop. I’ve seen him doing some amazing concerts wearing that kind of an outfit but no concert this time, of course. He added a glittery jacket and sat in his chair between Florent and Zazie and the show started.

I had no idea what to expect this week. Matt’s team was the first one to perform. The young boy from his team is seriously good indeed. He is very confident and performs like an adult despite of his young age. He was voted safe by the audience again and after that Matt chose the girl as his second talent for the next week’s show. I wouldn’t have done that but I don’t much care about female voices any way.

Zazie’s team was next and the first guy from his team had the most interesting song in the group (With Or Without You) and he did it well and was therefor my favorite from Zazie’s team this week. Her two other talents had boring songs like most contestants this week. I wasn’t surprised the Italian guy was voted safe, he seems popular and is good even sounds quite similar every week. I hoped Zazie would choose the first guy as her second talent and she did.

Florent’s team was visually as stunning as last week but I didn’t like the songs chosen for them this week. The girl who did I Will Always Love You was saved by the audience and I totally agreed with the television audience. Not because I liked her version, even the song is massive and bold, but because I generally like her performing. She is a true show girl and a great dancer and I can well see her as a professional performing artist in the future.

Team Mika was the last one. Audrey started and she and Mika were extremely cute together having a sweet little dance moment in the end of the song. Audrey is sweet and I wish her well but I still hoped she would be out so Mika wouldn’t have to choose between the other two. She was saved by the audience though and Mika had to make the difficult choice.

Just like last time in a similar situation I hoped he would choose Vincent. Also just like last time I didn’t trust him to do so. He can be unpredictable and this week Imane was better than earlier and Vincent wasn’t having his best week even the song was a good one. He did choose Vincent – just like he did last time – and I was happy (and again, a bit ashamed that I had doubted his decision). Vincent is definitely my favorite, he has a very unique style.

This week was Florent’s turn to do his solo performance and I was happy for his fans who could see him performing. Sigh, we haven’t seen Mika’s performance yet, I selfishly hope it won’t happen next week when I’m not there (but don’t know the schedules at all). xxx

A small report after the first live show. The studio is officially outside of Paris but I was lucky to have a couple of extra days to walk around and enjoy the city so the weekend felt like a short holiday in Paris. Live shows are different compared to other studio recordings. There’s not as much possibility to observe Mika and the other coaches as during auditions but the atmosphere is very cool and it’s easy to feel the excitement coming from the live recording situation. Live shows are always quite entertaining because of added show elements and the level of contestants feels better than during the first recordings as the talents have gone through coaching and got advices and their songs are more carefully chosen and interesting than in the beginning.

Going in to the studio was crowded but I managed to take a place near the barrier which made my back hurt less during the long standing. I tried to avoid drinking anything during the day (there’s no possibility to go to toilet while recording) so I was happy the staff gave us water and this time we could even have our mobiles and take a few pics during breaks so everything was really quite comfortable and we could just enjoy the show.

Mika’s team started and all his talents did well but to be honest my focus was totally on Vincent who is my favorite and I loved watching how Mika lived through his performance note by note and word by word holding his breath a little bit and looking really happy after everything went so well. We could see on the screen how he showed a tiny part of the song to Vincent in the middle of his coaching and I could see it made everyone happy and would bet it made the television audience happy as well and I found it funny because all he did was a few seconds and it made us all so pleased.

I had assumed Audrey would be out this week because her voice is so unique it can be even too unique but the song this week was really suitable for her and the audience voted her safe along with Vincent so Mika had to choose between Imane and The Sugazz and he chose to keep Imane just like I expected. It’s a shame that The Sugazz is out, they were one of my favorites during the auditions, but I didn’t feel too bad for them. They are a group and have done this long before The Voice and will continue after The Voice and to be honest their song was the least interesting from the whole team this week and all I cared was that Vincent was safe anyway.

After Mika it was time for Florent Pagny and his team and how amazingly pretty his girls are and how beautifully they were all styled last night! I rarely pay this much positive attention to the styling at The Voice, it’s mostly quite awful. All the girls performed nicely and the girl in the metallic outfit was a wonderful dancer and one of the youngest girls looked so breathtakingly beautiful she could be the next Miss Universe as well. They were all such a joy to watch and surely also to listen like Florent’s contestants usually are. However, my taste is too far away from Florent’s style and I simply couldn’t keep my thoughts in the songs chosen so I didn’t listen to them carefully enough. Even Billy Jean which I would otherwise absolutely love was so unrecognizable I didn’t much enjoy it.

In the middle of the night it was a turn for Matt Pokora and his solo performance. He had a huge dance group, both fashionable looking guys and girls (in their underwear!) and I must say I hadn’t figured out if Matt is more a dancer or a singer but after his performance I would say a dancer? The audience seemed to really like him and his fans next to me knew all his choreographies and after seeing how much the audience liked him I could well believe he is as famous in France as my French friends have told he is. His style is very different from Florent’s but still equally far away from my taste and I can’t much remember his performance but I paid attention during the whole evening how genuinely supportive he seemed to be with his team and it was nice to watch.

The third coach was Zazie and she has an interesting team and I generally like her style and watching her. I can’t understand a word but always immediately get the vibe she doesn’t want anyone out and would love to everyone continue in the competition and it’s quite sweet. All her contestants are different compared to each other which makes her team the most colorful along with Mika’s team and I found the guy singing in Italian good and the audience seemed to like him.

Matt’s team was the last one to perform and I could still remember a couple of the boys from the auditions. A youngest looking member from his team is a kind of wonderkid singing and dancing and performing like a pro despite of his young age and it looked Matt was already celebrating him as a winner and you know, he can be right and the contestant will probably go far in the competition. Still fingers crossed for ”our team” and Vincent and hope he will do as well next week as he did this week.

Mika looked young and very charming in his new boyish hair style. It was nice to see him smiling and was such a pleasure to meet so many fans, the French girls who welcomed me as they always do (which is incredibly kind as I mean always extra trouble for them) as well as many international fans. Thank you so much, everyone! I had almost forgotten how much I love hearing French on my left and Italian on my right and seeing people from many different countries grouped together. So Mika style and an important part of this all. X

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I need something interesting to think about all the time. My mind demands feeding the same way my body does, actually it’s often even more demanding than my body is. I don’t know any other way to live, I need constantly something to focus on to keep the traffic in my head smooth. Music is one of my favorite forms of positive mental energy. After a Mika gig my head is overflowingly full of new thoughts and ideas, all I need to do is to put everything in order.

Between gigs I have to find other ways to keep my mind fed. I read stories and non-fiction, watch films, documents and video talks, listen to podcasts and search internet. The theme can be anything as long as I find it interesting and it makes me think even it’s not really useful for my real life at all. I love weird stories and reading about human mind, psychology, creativity, artists, writers, design, different cultures, traveling, animals and the earth, just to mention a few themes.

When I spend time with my collages I just go back to my childhood and enjoy watching different colors and shapes together. I cut and glue and let my mind wander around. I miss Mika and his music and this time wanted to play with little hearts. The first collage is about tolerance and the second one about having courage to follow our dreams. In the third collage the fox is having a party in the confetti rain. Mika makes my life a party. I love it and kind of expect that from him. From other artists I expect nothing, from him I expect a little party every now and then.

I have some ideas for my blog and wish I could use them and had real photos or news to offer. We just need to wait something to happen. While waiting, take care xxx

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. It felt important to travel and see Mika 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

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Happy New Year from Florence with a couple of quick photos I took in the end of the second sinfonia pop concert (cameras were not otherwise allowed of course). The second night was even better than the first one. Mika was more focused on his singing so we got many especially stunning versions. He was very careful with some important songs but still managed to create a lot of drama around every song so there was a good balance and I really enjoyed the whole night, very special. The fireworks were crazy and the dinner organized by the opera and included in the concert tickets nicely organized and it was good to spend time with so many familiar people from all over the world. A longer report later. xxx

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The first of the two sinfonia pop concerts at Opera di Firenze was so, so emotional my heart could only barely handle it all. Mika sounded absolutely beautiful, he wasn’t controlling himself a bit but instead threw himself into every possible emotion, mood and tone and seemed to enjoy it a lot, his stubborn curl (you know which one I mean) kept flying left and right, he couldn’t stay still for a moment but danced, waved his hands here and there, even jumped (yes he even jumped). Ida was stunning. Her part in these concerts is so essential, she really made many songs as they should be. Simon Leclerc wasn’t being strict at all. I was almost disappointed that he wasn’t until he went wild and started to guide even the audience! Too funny and somehow so sympathetic. The big choir was strong and powerful and had an impressive effect in many songs.

The orchestra made me feel very emotional but as this was already my fifth symphony gig I already knew that I can’t stay in one emotion no matter how strong it is, I have to move on to the next one in the next song and the one after that and I managed to do that and could focus almost every song and saw colors and images and stories I haven’t even noticed before and really can’t wait to write a long report about the set list and different songs. Last Party and Over My Shoulder were both as fantastic as I expected and definitely my usual favorites but the biggest one was surprisingly Ordinary Man, didn’t expect that at all. I jumped into the self-pity feeling in it, couldn’t help it and it was simply wonderful, I really loved the version and very convincing Make You Happy as well just to name a few songs.

Wonderful, almost overwhelming night that made me totally exhausted – in a good way – like these symphony concerts always do. Can’t believe there is another one tomorrow, we are extremely lucky. The MFC party before the concert was so much fun. A huge thank you to the Italian fans for organizing, everyone seemed to have such a good time. I took a lot of pics, will blog about the party when back home.

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I made new collages and tried to include some Casa Mika related elements in them. Can you spot those elements? I have traditionally always the same wish for Santa and year 2016 he was very generous with me. I saw many beautiful concerts and had several once in a lifetime experiences (the full Asia tour, the Bercy concert, the first Casa Mika season…) and we still have Florence to look forward to next week (yes I double checked, it’s really happening next week). I couldn’t be happier or more grateful and want to thank everyone I met during my trips this year. Wishing you all a wonderful Christmastime and happy, relaxed holidays with your families and loved ones.  xxx

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My blog post about the first part of the Casa Mika season (episodes 1-2) is here, now a few words about the latter part (episodes 3-4). I missed the main recording for the third episode (so couldn’t wait to see that one on television) but was lucky to be there for the fourth episode. The recording was the weekend just before my birthday so I had planned in advance to be in Milan that time and kept all my fingers crossed for tickets for both nights and was lucky to get them. So happy!

First of all a huge thank you to the Italian fan crew, it was a true pleasure to be there and meet everyone again. This is the time of the year when my country is literally the darkest place on earth and it cheered me up to be in Italy in so many ways. Everyone was in a party mood and had so much energy that it would have been impossible not to catch a part of it for myself and I felt so much more energetic after the weekend than I did before it.

Secondly, can’t express how much I’ve enjoyed this project and how incredibly grateful I feel that I could follow it this closely, it was so important to me and it means a lot to have this memory. Casa Mika has been one of my favorites of the all projects Mika has done so far. I didn’t expect to feel this way in advance but this was such a big challenge for him and it was wonderful to watch how he made it happen. I’ve seen him doing television work many times before this but none of it can be compared to the amount of work and investment and presence he had to put into this one and the performances he did for his own songs during these shows were some of the most interesting I’ve seen so far and I’ve seen many.

I saw the third episode on television (despite of short parts filmed while recording the second episode) and my favorite part of the show was Good Guys with the dancers (loved it that he had chosen matured dancers and generally included all age groups in different performances) and especially the performance with Eros Ramazzotti. This was the song Mika has written for Ramazzotti wasn’t it? I had never thought I could like it so much, it was lovely to hear them singing it together! Such romantic song and not my usual style at all but lovely indeed.

Then it was time for absolutely breathtaking Underwater and it was so beautiful it almost made me a little bit sad because I hadn’t seen it live (how could I miss such special live performance, I should have made more effort to be there) and most of all because I suddenly realized there might not be any gigs next year, maybe not before the new album is out and I had to remind myself that Florence is only a few weeks away so it won’t be long until I can hear Underwater again even if there’s a break next year. This Underwater was one of my favorite Casa Mika performances (and will definitely watch it again later).

About my Milan trip and the recordings for the fourth episode. Rai has already advertised having Kylie in their show so I won’t spoil anything telling that one of the highlights for Saturday was naturally to watch her performance and warm chemistry with Mika. She is so tiny and pretty and cute! Definitely one of the guests I wanted to see live. I generally love watching Mika with his guests, he is a good host and very warm with people. They did their new Christmas song and it was lovely and christmassy to see them on stage together.

Mika did a beautiful cover in the end of the Saturday’s recording (the girls on the couch with him) and I couldn’t wait to hear the song and totally didn’t expect another one of his guests to join him and neither did the rest of the audience and the collective disappointment when we realized it (that he won’t sing alone) was the size of a house! Lol! They did well together though. I would have loved to hear him singing the cover alone but on the other hand can’t blame him for being generous and sweet and wanting to share the moment with his guest. Lovely ending for that Saturday anyway and my favorite part of the whole recording.

We knew to expect an orchestra for Sunday but I still couldn’t handle my excitement when I saw the stage full of seats – enough for a symphony orchestra – and the short last recording was naturally the best part of the whole season. There’s nothing better than Mika with a symphony orchestra and I had thought in advance that just one song is more than enough reason to be there but we were lucky to hear first an Italian song (not for Casa Mika but for another purpose) three times and then the ending song for Casa Mika two times. Even his speech between those songs had the orchestra on the background. Lovely, lovely ending for the season, it couldn’t have been more beautiful.

During the third take of the Italian song some people started to feel restless and chat a bit. Well it was the third time we heard the song but still couldn’t believe it. There’s only one rule for symphony performances and it’s sit still, be quiet, listen to the music and think grateful thoughts. Talking is not okay unless someone needs urgent medical help and I won’t even start about singing along. I mean you want to sing along with a symphony orchestra? Well wait to be invited for their vocalist. I can’t control myself if someone is disturbing while Mika sings symphony, I will be watching everyone in Florence.

So it’s all over now with Casa Mika recordings. It all happened so quickly and they had to do all the work in such a short time period. I still can’t understand how he got everything done so well. I loved it how some people working there could already remember I was a foreigner and said good bye and see you next time in English. There might be another season, I wouldn’t be surprised and by that time I can hopefully understand Italian a little bit better.

Italian fans had organized Mika a wonderful Casa Mika themed cake for the final recording, it looked amazing and he came out later on Saturday to say hello to people. The cake looked stunning (it was made by a professional cake designer) but he was brave to cut it and share it with people. I wasn’t close enough to take any pics, there were a lot of people and I knew he wanted to meet and thank his Italian fans so I stayed a bit further away and used the opportunity to say hello to the girls. They weren’t interested a bit (poor exhausted dogs, I bet they couldn’t wait everything to be over) but it’s rare to see them from close distance and they are so sweet, so polite and so well-trained.

Hope to post a couple of blogs before Christmas. Take care everyone xxx