'The Voice': What you didn't see on TV


Image Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

A full hour before The Voice even began its live broadcast last night, the roof on Stage 16 — where the show is shot on Warner Bros.’s Burbank lot — was already about to blow off from sheer fan excitement. Why all the buzz so, so early? Turns out that “live” performance of “Moves Like Jagger” that the Adam Levine-fronted Maroon 5 did with judge Christina Aguilera was being pre-taped. It’s a common practice on these types of shows, mostly because of the complexity of doing so many performances, one after another, in a two hour time period. And sometimes it’s just easier if they can knock one of the more complicated ones out before the show begins and insert a tape during the show. Or, you know, they want to get the performance taped, up, and available on iTunes as soon as possible. Who knows.

The interesting thing, though, with this particular pre-taped performance was that they taped it more than just once. I arrived at the studio just before the first take of the song began, and by the time I reached my seat (about five rows behind, and to the left of, Blake Shelton), they had enlisted Maroon 5, Adam Levine, and Christina Aguilera to do the song yet again. For the second take, the warm-up guy chided the crowd: “Whatever energy level that was,” he said about the first performance, “we need to double that!” Both takes seemed pretty good to me, and who knows which they used. Betwixt it all, I heard host Carson Daly say: “I played this s— all morning.” Referring to “Moves Like Jagger,” of course. And: Really?

Of course, the evening wasn’t all performances by the show’s judges. There was so much more excitement! Including Cee Lo Green’s cell-phone love, a pre-show shot (?), and lots of love for host Carson Daly. Before long, the show launched, and here’s what I noticed during my time on the scene that you might not have seen on screen:

Pre-Show FUN! Just as the warm-up guy told us it was only eight minutes until we’d go live to the east coast (!), he brought up onto the stage a small gal from the audience who was wearing shiny boots. “You better hide those from Cee Lo Green!” he told the little girl and the entire audience. “He’ll take those things from you. Cee Lo loves shiny objects!”

Pre-Show SHOT! Yes, a shot! Or at least that’s what it looked like Cee Lo, Adam, and Blake were taking just before cameras went live. They each had a cup, toasted the three of them together simultaneously, and downed something from them quickly before they took their seats. The likelihood that it was alcoholic is zilch, of course, but do you blame them for needing something to get them through the two-hour show? But also: Why didn’t Christina join in on the fun?

Cee Lo Green Hearts His Smartphone During the Maroon 5/Christina/Adam pre-tape and at various other points during the show, where was Cee Lo’s attention? On his phone! Televisions viewers probably couldn’t spy it — because he’s mostly only shown on screen in flashes during performances — but I caught him texting away a handful of times. And I’m not talking about during commercial breaks. Is that rude… or just reality?

Awkward! It was awkward watching as Team Cee Lo headed for the stage. At one end of the line-up of contestants was Tori and Taylor Thompson standing next to Vicci Martinez. The closest Thompson to Vicci went to grab her competitor’s hand, and Vicci seemed like she wanted to hold it, too, but they they just sort of fell away from each other. It looked unfortunate. Awww. I feel like these things should be discussed before the contestants head to the stage. Are we holding hands in solidarity or not?

Where’s Christina? The only judge to really leave their seat during the show was Christina Aguilera, who would regularly get up and disappear during the short breaks. What was she doing? That’s a good question! Several times, she barely made it back to her seat in time before the cameras began rolling.

Casey’s Calming Presence While almost every performance in The Voice studio causes the audience to rise to their feet with reckless abandon, Casey Weston’s soft and slow performance of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” brought people to their chairs. It was sort of amazing and special, considering getting the audience amped up seems to be the standard route on this show.

The Pre-Tape Rolls When the warm-up guy announced that it was finally time for the pre-taped performance of “Moves Like Jagger,” he told the audience to get ready to go crazy again! Overheard from a woman a row in front of me: “Really? For a third time?” I couldn’t help but laugh! ‘Cause it’s so true!

It’s Not Over Yet As we were heading out of the last commercial break, the warm-up guy teased the crowd: “Once we’re done, we’ll shoot everything again in Spanish and then we’re done.” The crowd groaned at the thought. But really, he had to do a lot during the final few commercial breaks to keep the crowd excited: “I need everybody to find that energy for another half hour!” The truth is that the crowd had been cheering for nearly three hours straight already.

“Has Adam Heard Any Songs?” That’s another thing overheard during the show, said by an audience member not far from me, after the judge said, yet again, that he hadn’t ever heard The Scripts “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” after Xenia sang it. How many times has Adam claimed to never have heard the song that a contestant on stage had just sang?

Cat Calls For Carson Of course, Christina and Adam got lots of cat calls throughout the night (to which they’d wave in that direction of the crowd), but surprisingly, Carson also got lots of love. “We love you Carson!” could be heard being shouted by gaggles of gals throughout the evening.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

Read more:
‘The Voice’ Central
‘Voice’ coaches Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine have collaborated on a new single

Comments (71 total) Add your comment
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  • Kate

    I can’t believe the audience had to sit through that song three times! I was a Maroon 5 fan, but that song just doesn’t do it for me. I was surprised Adam hadn’t heard either of the songs tonight, but I feel like at least one of the other judges has also noted they were unfamiliar with a pretty mainstream song. Maybe they don’t listen to the radio?

    • Nick

      honest question:
      Adam Lambert was nominated for a grammy, right? Who votes for the grammys? I think its NARAS and if I’m correct Adam Levine is a member (I could be wrong about all this). If he’s a voter wouldn’t he have heard the song? either way I think their is something fishy about all this.

  • cobbsmom

    I was disappointed with Adam’s picking Casey instead of Jeff, I kind of expected he would by looking at the iTunes sales. I thought it was thoughtless of him to say that he was going to pick Jeff but instead was choosing Casey. I also bet that made Devon feel bad since Adam didn’t act like he even considered him. I did listen to the song Jeff was going to sing on iTunes and loved it so I’m sure he’ll be okay.
    My favorites tonight were Javier and Nakia. I thought Dia looked beautiful and wouldn’t be surprised at her winning the whole thing if she pulls another rabbit out of the hat.k

    • Mags

      I was expecting more from Casey after last week’s performance, but the vibrato was definitely out of control. What was Jeff going to sing? I didn’t see it on Itunes, but I’m curious whether he could have challenged Javier.

    • Sue

      I was wondering about that “thing” that happened that caused him to change his mind. Could it have been the short blue dress? Out of the two, I like her better, but neither really thrills me.

      • sublimelytragic

        I thought Adam didn’t pick Jeff because of the comment he made last week about the “legal Thompson twin” just my 2 cents of course

  • JDean

    That’s so true about Adam claiming not to have heard every song. Seriously? You’re in the music industry and you’ve never heard Adam Lambert’s “Whaddya Want From Me”? What does this guy listen to? Gregorian chant?

    • GavinStrick

      Lambert is a modest success, I can totally see where Adam may not have heard that song (I only barely know it myself, and I watched that season of Idol.)

      • dhutchin

        It was pretty popular. I heard it a lot.

      • Squishmar

        What’s more interesting is when they announced that NBC was going to air “The Voice” the clip they showed on this site to acquaint people with the format of the Dutch version was of a girl sitting at the piano singing….”Whataya Want From Me?” So I’m kind of surprised that Adam hadn’t seen it from watching the Dutch version– which I’m sure all of the coaches did before they signed on.

      • PJ

        Plus, it’s not that great of a song anyway.

      • WitchyWoman

        Umm.. Adam didn’t sing that song on Idol. It was a hit single from his debut album, written by Pink. By “hit” I mean “platinum selling” “Grammy nominated performance.” For an average listener to not know the song is understandable. But an industry insider judging a national primetime singing competition? And btw… Lambert’s recording of WWFM was on the “2011 Grammy Nominees” CD along with Maroon 5’s grammy nominated song.

      • SharonS

        Adam Lambert is an international success. You must be like Levine out of touch with reality and music business. So sad…

    • Clarissa

      I know who Adam Lambert IS, but I were put down in front a radio and asked to pick out which song was his I probably wouldn’t be able to do it.
      I also thought I’d never heard that song Xenia sang, after the show I realized that yeah I probably had, but it didn’t stay with me.

      • SharonS

        WWFM by Lambert is multi-platinum worldwide. Maybe u might want to listen to it on YT. Also Lambert’s voice is unique and distinguishable.

    • quirkyloon

      LOL! Gregorian Chant. Good one.

    • uh_huhh

      Plenty of us grown-ups have paid zero attention to Adam Lambert’s pathetic attempts at getting attention.

  • WowTalent

    Vicci Martinez KILLED it on those drums tonight, she definitely deserves to go to the finals.

    • bethany0403

      I totally disagree! Her voice was shakey and pitchy at best. Those drums were distracting. Florence is such a powerhouse and I felt that Vicky floundered. Nakia was so much better!

      • Genie

        I agree, she was so focused on the drums she lost the vocals, it was fun but a mediocre vocal, her worst vocal of the series.

      • AB

        I did not like Vicci’s performance at all. She was actually my favorite from the audition rounds, and I voted for her last week, but after last night’s performance I went with Nakia. The drums were too much of a distraction. I almost felt like all the other contestants were using an instrument and they wanted to give her one too, and that’s all they could come up with.

      • sublimelytragic

        During the live performance I would agree that Vicci killed Dog Days Are Over but when I went to iTunes and downloaded the song it didnt sound the same at all. Then I listened to Florence’s version and it wasn’t even close. The drums turned out to be a distraction and I think Nakia did a better job

    • Bus Driver

      Vicci is one of my favorites, but that song was totally wrong for her. It actually showed off her *limited* range in the higher register. Plus, the song is just too recent and too iconic for Florence Welch. Bad, bad choice to try to take on. Vicci still got my vote, but better not make such a silly song choice next week.

    • Yvonne

      I think Vicci’s performance came across stronger than it really was because Javier and Xenia put the audience and judges to sleep with their boring ballads. Vicci woke everyone up and looked stronger because of it. I think Vicci should sing a Joan Jett song- she kinda looks like a young Joan.

      • Squishmar

        I said the exact same thing! When I was describing her to my husband I said she looked like a Latina, young version of Joan Jett. She also has that same kind of vibe, too. And I still say Dia looks like Christina Ricci crossed with Jessica Alba.

  • Angel

    I love how all of EW’s articles always hate on Christina – GIVE IT UP! Wanna know where she was? She was PROBABLY giving her singers last minute tips, like a good coach would! =_=”

    SMH for these articles, really.

    • Krystal

      OR going to the bathroom.

  • jassica

    but for reall what is happening between christina and adam can someone tell?!

  • Squishmar

    I really don’t want it to end yet! After the audition rounds, it went really fast. Yes, I know the battle rounds took four weeks (too long) but I think they’ll tweak a lot next season. Anyway, All eight of tonight’s singers are who I wanted to be there… I really feel like my votes are counting on this show.

  • Cal

    Well paced and smooth going. Good job dialing down the dancers and stage filler. There was less chemistry between the coaches, less banter – perhaps an overcorrection from previous shows. Adam looked tense and very serious throughout the show, he seemed disengaged from the others. Best commentator was Blake, very relaxed and natural. Even as Christina shows youthful lack of self editing in her interactions with the coaches, many of her comments to contestants show her expertise in the field of performance.

    The sound mixing could be improved, many of the vocalists are drowned out by the instruments. You know there’s a problem when even Christina’s voice sounds very soft. The sound is probably fine in the studio, but not when it’s coming from the TV.

  • Sagittarian25

    Meh, you could have noticed more interesting things.

  • Chica1

    my picks are frenchie (goosebumps, plus id ont connect with beverly), casey (lovely rendition, plus im bored by javiers pretty singing and no risk taking), dia (sang well and has a better stage presence than xenia), nakia (i was almost in tears whereas viccis performance never really kicked off for me)

  • Mollie

    I was so much more excited about this show when it first started. It seemed to be so full of amazing voicing. Now several of them strike me as mediocre when they perform (Vicci and Javier being the exception).

    Casey’s vibrato is… bad. It’s really painful to listen to. And although Dia is very unique, her voice is not pretty. It’s downright nasal at times.

  • Kyle

    So all this is just another hollywood manipulative production. Xenia might be the only sane one of all. An will be around long after the others are gone. It is time for a new sound and voice the old ones are tiresome. I haven’t listened to radio for 20 years because of that! Really there are good songs on the radio?

    • Squishmar

      How would you know there aren’t new sounds and voices if you haven’t listened to the radio in 20 years? Yes, there are good songs on the radio. Really. I love me some Beatles, the Who, Prince and many other artists from yesteryear, but there really has been a resurgence of great musicianship in the last 5-8 years or so. Bands like Death Cab for Cutie and Kings of Leon are really, really good. Adele and Florence + the Machine have really distinctive sounds that you can identify immediately.

  • GG

    Anyone else not able to vote for Casey last night using phone? All I got was a weird wringing noise??

  • joan

    christina’s hair looked like the bride of frankenstein, especially with the pink highlights, and yet no recap has mentioned it.

    • Squishmar

      Good. I’d rather hear about the performances and what the coaches said, rather than what they looked like. What was Adam wearing? What did Blake’s hair look like? Or Frenchie’s or Beverly’s? LOL

  • Toni

    There was one point when Carson was talking and the judges were behind him that I looked at Cee Lo and thought..wow, is he texting on his phone?? then I thought maybe he was using twitter and commenting on what was going on live. Definitely noticable though

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