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Monday 20 May 2013

'The Voice' Australia: Behind The Scenes

Last week I went along to the last of the live shows for 'The Voice' Australia and I had a blast.

Now, I am as much a fan of Ricky Martin as the next 30- or 40-something woman who should know better than to scream inappropriately at this fabulous pop music icon (and yes, he's scream-worthy in person), but for me, the excitement lies in experiencing the behind the scenes stuff.

You know, the warm up guy's antics (veteran warm-up man Michael Pope, take a bow - how on earth do you remain so comical and pumped for over THREE HOURS?!); seeing what happens during the commercial breaks, from the re-touching of makeup, to the polishing of floors, to quick lint wipe-offs. And then there's the almost-acrobatics performed by the floor manager, weaving in and out at the right time, the camera guy and his assistant who shadows him as he carts a 'floating' camera, running in and out to capture the best angle possible during the live broadcast. It's all fascinating to watch, and time and again you realise just how hard the crew work to make this show... flawless.

Oh look, here's me at the very end of the show, before being herded out in amongst the loyal fans who hung back to grab autographs from the judges. The judges were all very lovely and giving, especially to the young, avid fans.

So, back to the whole production of the show.

Media is taken through an entrance separate to the general public. As we chat with fellow journos (I meet the delightful 'A Current Affair' reporter Alison Piotrowski, who is the official 'The Voice' reporter, covering everything to do with the show, from profiling each person through, to behind the scenes coverage) we are taken through the 'guts' of the set. My plus one is an excitable yet cool customer and we see the fabulous loyal fans lined up, and are shown to our seats. We are sitting on Seal's side, and as soon as we sit down one thing is obvious: the set is smaller than it looks on TV. It's still a 1000 people+ venue, but the magic of TV inflates... everything.

It's 7pm , and it's time for the judges to grace the stage, and out they come. Seal is first  - loud screams. He's a man mountain and cuts an imposing figure. Next is Joel, and yes... he looks tad shorter than you'd expect. Newly coloured and shaven hairdo: check.

And then there's Delta. She cuts a statuesque figure as she strides across the stage in her long, flowy pink frock, and perfectly coiffed newly shorn locks. The woman looks like a goddess.

And then... Ricky Martin. The screams are deafening; the new judge's fan base is vocal, loud, and kinda obsessed. But it's oh-so-fun to watch. You can imagine that women who loved him when they were young girls - in the early days when he was in Latino boy band Menudo - have grown up with him and have no shame in going nuts in his presence. Oh, okay... here's a pic of Menudo:

And here's a pic of the judges as they're introduced at the start of the show:

Seal, Joel, Delta, Ricky at the last live 'Showdown' show. Pic: courtesy The Voice Facebook page

After the judges are introduced, UK-boy band The Wanted come on stage to perform the world exclusive-first of their new song 'Walk Like Rihanna.' The crowd cheer and the atmosphere is fantastic. A gazillion girls do their back-up dance thing, and it's wonderful watching the production. Except... they have to do it all over again, as it's missing that extra something. The performance is then interwoven into the live broadcast later that evening.

Hearing the singers perform for their spot in the final 16 is quite the experience - the old adage that everything sounds better live is true. Christina Torres and Emma Pask were crowd faves and sound exceptional in their own way (Christina won a spot in the finals) and being so up close to the action is a dream for any fan of the show. As Michael Pope points out, the venue holds around 1000 people, but up to 2 million people are watching at home. So, if you love the show as I unashamedly do, it's a wonderful, close-up opportunity to be a part of it all.

And, from Monday May 20, the live shows continue, this time each Monday, where all the final singers get to sing. For die-hard fans, you won't want to miss the serious end of the TV talent comp.

Tune in to 'The Voice' Australia each Monday at 7.30pm

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