Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several years (or just don’t watch network TV), you’ve probably heard about or watched the wildly popular TV show, “The Voice” on NBC; where aspiring singers compete for a recording contract with the help of four successful artists as coaches. Having been an A&R exec at EMI Music in my past, my role was to scout, sign and develop artists for the label — so I’m intimately familiar with the process that these aspiring artists are going through in an attempt to become a star in the music industry For awhile, we had “American Idol” and “The Voice” on air at the same time — but since Idol wound down, “The Voice” has reigned supreme in this category. The current celeb coaches are Blake Shelton, Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani and Adam Levine.
Recently I was invited to take a tour of the set and watch a taping of the show as a member of the studio audience. I’ll admit right upfront that I’m a bit jaded as I’m in the industry, and it wasn’t my first taping of a show; whereas nearly everyone else participating was a tourist where this was a first time event and a really big deal for them.
Having been a talent producer as well for decades, honestly I couldn’t stop myself from wearing my ‘behind the scenes’ glasses. The things that were most interesting to me were things like how the set was laid out, the lighting, the flow for the host and coaches relative to where the singers were on stage, watching the teleprompter that host Carson Daly would read his lines from, and the audience coach who made sure everyone stood and clapped & sat down where they should on cue. And it’s funny that the way the set is lit, and the lighting during the show, makes it look like there are several layers of audience members, when in fact they’re mostly in a circle on one level. That’s Hollywood for you — a lot of it is sound and lighting, smoke and mirrors. But I get a kick out of witnessing all that.
I also had fun watching what would happen with the coaches during each break for commercials (and there were a lot of them!). I was really close to where they sat. Most people know that Blake and Gwen are dating, and during the show they’re separated by Alicia Keys — but at each break, Gwen would walk over and hang out with Blake; fun!
ALSO, I was intrigued that each of the celeb coaches had a dedicated hair and make-up person that would come out and fuss over them & touch
them up — at each break — which was often (!); seemed like a bit of overkill to me.
The show ran really tight, and it operated flawlessly, like a Swiss watch; you can tell that the coaches, host, and cast have all been working on this for several years. And they all really seemed to enjoy interacting with each other, and to be having a good time with it!
Last but certainly not least, I really enjoyed several of the singers who were competing — there was definitely some strong talent in that line-up. It’ll be interesting to see which, if any, of the finalists break out and make it big! If you have an opportunity to go to a show taping (and you haven’t), it’s worth taking the time to experience it first-hand!