June 22, 2011 3:58am PT by Jethro Nededog
'The Voice' Semifinals: 10 Behind The Scenes Secrets
The Hollywood Reporter was in the audience for The Voice semifinals show on Tuesday. It was once again a very hot evening – we’re talking temperature, though the show wasn’t bad either. And we kept our eyes peeled for anything out the ordinary, fun, or just plain strange in order to bring that experience to you, our dear readers.
Before we get to the behind the scenes action, let’s do a quick recap of the eliminations. The show began with narrowing down Team Cee Lo Green and Team Adam Levine to two semifinalists each. For Team Cee Lo, America voted for soul and blues singer Vicci Martinez. Then after a very long explanation of how he arrived at his decision, Green decided to save Austin, Texas’ Nakia. He even said that he felt the other performers would appreciate his decision. Understand it? Sure. Nakia is clearly one of the strongest singers in the competition, let alone his team. But, appreciate it? Um, sorry Cee Lo.
Levine had a similarly hard time narrowing his decision down after America voted pop and soul singer Javier Colon through to the semifinals. And to kick performer Jeff Jenkins while he was down, Levine admitted that he arrived at the show thinking he’d save the Freeport, Texas native. Instead, he went with Casey Weston. Ouch. Can we rewind back to the blind rounds please?
What hit us right before the show was that all eight of those performers prepared songs just in case they advanced. So, all that hard work and none of it will make it to the screen? They didn’t even get the obligatory group number. Wah, wah.
OK, now to what you really want to hear about – here’s the behind the scenes secrets that you didn’t get to see on TV:
1.) "Live" is in the mind of the beholder: We will preface this with many shows pre-tape performances, so it’s not a strange occurrence. Levine’s performance with his band Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera on their new single, “Moves Like Jagger,” is one such case. They shot it just before the show went live.
2.) We’d watch Levine sing the phone book: While Levine waited to perform “Moves Like Jagger,” he began singing random lines to the audience. No one's complaining.
3.) Christina’s Hair: It was a very hip version of Donald Trump’s complicated frock, no?
4.) Judges' toast: Oh, sometimes one needs a little something to take the edge off – especially if you’re about to dash someone’s hopes of musical stardom. We peeped Levine, Green, and Blake Shelton toast each other with white cups and then quickly drink the contents shot-style right before the show started.
5.) Frenchie Davis has her favorite: It’s always interesting to see who’s rooting for whom among the contestants. While Levine was making his cuts, the other semifinalists lined up at the side of the stage led by Davis, so that they can join the newest semifinalists for a group shot. When Levine decided to keep Casey, the robust Frenchie jumped for joy.
6.) Makeup! Have we mentioned it’s very hot in the studio? We know, we know – every week. But, Tuesday was especially warm. In previous weeks, we’ve seen Green with his handheld fan, but this week we noticed that during every commercial break the makeup and hair people swarmed around the coaches as they sat in their big red chairs. What were they doing? Sure, the typical makeup and hair retouches. But, they also spent most of the commercial break with rolls of paper towels to soak up the judges’ sweat. Here’s the thing. If sitting in the audience felt like a sauna to us, we imagine that the judges get it in triplicate sitting under those bright, hot lights.
7.) Xenia needs to go: No, we don’t mean she needs to leave the competition. We mean she needs to go (you know, to the little girls’ room). Right after her performance, a crewmember rushed her down the ramp, her face not registering the expected relief one would feel after finishing her performance. Then, we heard the crewmember say to her loudly, “Bathroom?” It’s a good thing Shelton has been working on Xenia’s shyness.
8.) Audience warm up guy, we need caffeine: Oh, the poor warm up guy whose job it is to deliver all the legal rules to the audience while cracking jokes and making sure we clap and stand like good studio audience members. “You watch at home,” he tells us. “Here, you participate.” It’s in the last half hour of the show when the audience, who has been sweating for a straight hour and a half, really makes the guy work. He even comes off a bit desperate to get us on our feet or clapping like crazy people. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.
9.) Blake gets points: We’re really trying not to judge here, because who knows why Levine and Aguilera pre-taped their performance. Maybe the other members of Maroon 5 had to get out early? Or it just made timing the show easier? Whatever. We do want to give some credit to Shelton who performed his hit single, “Honey Bee,” totally live and made it look easy.
10.) The obligatory Carson Daly observation: At one point, Daly was standing to the left of us and we realized that he was practicing his next few lines to himself. We then heard someone remind him to smile, which was very amusing with all the critiques about how laxed his hosting style is. In the end, he got the lines out perfectly and remembered to show those pearly whites. Good host, good.
Watch Blake Shelton’s live performance of “Honey Bee” below.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro