The excitement was high and the energy was raging at the first live show of The Voice, which was held on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, CA. There was also some confusion, as the most overheard question among the gaggle of fans lucky enough to score tickets was, “What happens tonight? Who’s performing?”
“I don’t care, I’m just excited to see Christina Aguilera,” interjected one 20-something female fan with red and black striped hair. My thoughts exactly. The team selections were over. The battle rounds were won and lost. Granted, I had no had no idea what was to come Tuesday night but I didn’t care. It was just fun to see what is arguably the most talented crop of hopefuls and coaches to hit the small screen – at least on NBC.
Walking into the tiny pressroom just behind the stage, I passed a very relaxed Adam Levine and a very chipper Cee-Lo Green, who was holding a fur coat despite the perfect 71 degree weather.
“It’s cold in the studio,” the show representative explained, when I snarfed at his fabulous, but totally unnecessary, wardrobe choice. It wasn’t actually cold in the studio. It was so hot, in fact, that Green needed to be fanned off (more on that later).
The crowd gathered outside (nearly four hours before show time, mind you) looked younger, edgier, and shall I say cooler than fans who go to American Idol tapings. Unlike at Idol, grandmas and small children were not filling the seats. Instead, The Voice seat fillers have to be at least 16 years old (unlike Idol’s minimum age of eight) and ran the gamut of rocker chicks, Xtina-lovers, indie hipsters, club kids, and otherwise stylish music nuts.
On my way to the 1,200-seat Studio 16, I made a pit stop to the bathroom where I spotted fan favorite Beverly McClellan smoking a cigarette and chatting up a production assistant. I couldn’t tell if her red kilt was authentic so I asked. “Kilt!” she replied. “No skirts here.” Later, I asked her about whether she’d quit smoking and she said, “Oooh, Christina doesn’t know. But, no, I’m a smoker.”
While waiting in the restroom line, shy contestant Xenia apparently had to go really, really bad just moments before the doors were to open and her handler asked if she could cut in line. “Of course,” we all said. Once inside, the tiny singer was singing in her bathroom stall, practicing her song for the night.
Here are some other behind-the-scenes tidbits of the show, which began with host Carson Daly announcing, “Holy sh–, we’re going live tonight!”
Fan Favorites. Judging by the shout-outs from the audience members, it’s safe to say that Aguilera is the fan favorite (she had a gaggle of girls who were wearing Team Xtina t-shirts) with Levine a close second. In fact, a few solo shout-outs from female fans who wanted to express their undying love kicked off the night.
The judges’ performance. The coaches’ performance of the Queen medley was pre-taped. At 5:30 p.m. PT, Aguilera, Levine, Green, and Blake Shelton performed the songs twice. Producers picked the best of the two and went live with it at 6. In contrast, guests and judges on Idol pre-taped their important performances a week in advance. Just saying.
Hop to it, Carson! How does the host get pumped up to go live? He does a quick little hop and jumps into the air to get his blood moving. He told EW after the show, “It helps me get my energy up.”
It Puts The Lotion On The Rock Star. Levine might have turned down a makeup touch-up or two, but he was okay with his stylist massaging lotion onto his arms before going live. In all fairness, well-oiled arms do make tattoos stand out more.
Shelton sex troubles? File this under T.M.I. On a commercial break, a guy named Bill who warms up the audience asked Shelton about married life to Miranda Lambert and his response way, ”married two weeks and I’m still not getting any!” When Bill went in for a follow-up, the coach joked, “What kind of details do you want about my marriage?” Well, Blake, I think you just gave us some juicy deets yourself!
Dirrty Girl Ways. Aguilera told cutie-patootie country boy Patrick Thomas to drop his pants again. She said it once weeks ago and twice on Tuesday. Executive Producer Mark Burnett apparently liked her dirty ways: On a commercial break, he ran up and gave her a big thumbs up.
Team Cee-Lo & Team Adam. What were the other eight contestants doing during the show? After the taping, Daly informed us that contestants were encouraged to Tweet during the show. Carson even had his Blackberry in his back pocket the whole time. That might explain why the artists on team Cee-Lo and Team Adam were more interested in texting than watching the competition. At one point, it looked like Burnett was scolding them for not standing and clapping enough. I can’t read lips, but Burnett’s hand movements and finger-pointing seemed to be saying as much.
Back to Cee-Lo’s body temperature. Unlike most TV studios, Studio 16 on the Warners lot was a sauna, causing audience members to bead up. Green had a handler hold a portable, electric fan on his face and head to cool him off for the entire taping. He finally took the fan himself and kept it by his side, often cooling himself off when the cameras weren’t looking.
Sisterly Love. Seriously, Aguilera loves her ladies on Team Christina as much off camera as she does on. Frenchie Davis held her hand coming off the stage after their group performance of “Lady Marmalade,” and the pop diva couldn’t stop hugging her team post show, even when the show was over.