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

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Image Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

It has been four years since Sanjaya, err, graced the stage of American Idol, but he’s still apparently one of the greatest punch lines for the comics warming up the crowds at reality show singing competitions. Take last night at the live, semi-finals round of NBC’s The Voice, where warm-up comic Bill was pumping up the crowd before the competition. “Cee Lo is performing tonight!” he roared to the crowds inside Stage 16 on Warner Bros.’s Burbank lot, in an attempt to get the masses enthusiastic.

And then he added: “Sanjaya is performing! No, I wouldn’t do that to you…” When he said that, I found myself flashing back to the multiple times during my evenings in the American Idol studio, when the warm-up comic for Fox’s karaoke behemoth would use the very same joke. Ba-domp-ching! Sanjaya! To that I say: C’mon, give Sanjaya a break, folks! It has been four years — get a new joke!

But alas, Sanjaya was far from the only excitement inside The Voice dome last night, as the top eight contestants were whittled down to just four — one from the team of coaches Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton. What else happened on the inside that you might not have seen on screen? Well, since it was only an hour-long show, it was a short evening, but here’s what I spied for you all:

Welcome Your…Coaches! Carson introduced the coaches to the screaming throngs as they walked out to the stage to take their seats in their big red chairs. “Save your applause,” he said, after he got huge cheers himself, “for the celebs who are about to walk out!” And then proceeded to give a little commentary on each coach. “Sorry girls, he shoots squirrels,” Daly said while introducing Blake. His pithy comments about Adam, unfortunately, were so drowned out by the screaming girls in the crowd that this reporter couldn’t hear them. Of Cee Lo, Daly said without irony: “He’s the spiritual center of The Voice for all of us.” And he went into platitude mode for Miss Christina’s entrance, referring to her as “the greatest artist of our generation.”

A Presidential Delay President Barack Obama’s address to the nation pushed the live show back a bit, just about 15 minutes to be exact. But since The Voice is live to the east coast, everyone involved had to be ready and waiting, so that the show could begin just as soon as the president signed off. With everyone in place and not much to do, audience-centric antics began. First up: A screaming contest, led by warm-up comic Bill, where the crowd would yell for “Team Adam” or “Team Cee Lo” or “Team Blake” or “Team Christina.” Even Adam played into the game, encouraging the crowd, “Let’s hear it for Team Adam again!” And without fail, his team certainly got the most volume from the audience.

Christina Leaves Her Mark Amid the madness before the show went live, warm-up comic Bill encouraged the audience to ask questions of the coaches. No one, of course, had any questions — their requests, instead, were things like, “Can I give Adam a hug?” Bill kept telling one guy in the crowd that, No, Christina would not come over and sign his arm. But you know what? That seemed to inspire her to do just that — she dramatically marched over to the fan after grabbing a pen from a production person, and signed the guy’s arm. What a gal! And then, of course, came the requisite comment from warm-up comic Bill: “She signed it Britney Spears! That’s a cruel joke!” Christina, however, gave no response to the silly remark from the warm-up comic.

Blake’s Turn Not satisfied with letting Christina steal the pre-show, Blake took a microphone and began singing the lyrics to “Lady Marmalade,” to the delight of the lady coach to his right. Added warm-up comic Bill: “I said he could sing the Golden Girls theme song — because that’s his favorite show!”

Hot, Hot Balls of Fire During that opening number by the eight finalists, you no doubt saw the balls of fire blasting up from the back of the stage. Let me just tell you: Those things were hot, hot, hot! I was sitting in my regular spot five rows behind, and to the left of, Blake — which was quite a ways from the balls of fire — and I could seriously feel the heat. The coaches didn’t seem to react to the heat at all! And I didn’t notice any singed eyebrows in the rest of the crowd that was closer than me.

Cee Lo’s Special Treatment Of course, during most commercial breaks, the coaches’ hair and makeup teams come out to freshen them up. (Blake apparently uses hairspray!) Tonight — and maybe it was because of those hot fireballs I just mentioned or because of the general warmth in the studio — Cee Lo’s team kept patting his shaved head down repeatedly. Shine, in this case, clearly is not a good thing.

Cee Lo’s Post-Performance Salute As Cee Lo waltzed off the stage after singing “Bright Lights, Bigger City,” he passed right by my section of the crowd. He began stripping his clothes off (he seemed to be wearing several layers!), and then I saw it: He stuck his tongue out at the crowd. At no one in particular, but it was a pretty cheeky move.

Frenchie’s Super Confidence Frenchie is confident, we all know that for sure. But I watched as her and Beverly McCellan stood off to the side of the stage, as they waited to walk up and hear their fates. When it was time, Frenchie walked with a purpose — quickly taking her stride up next to Carson. As for Beverly? Well, she seemed a little more reluctant. I guess it worked out for her in the end, though, as it was Frenchie who eventually got the ol’ heave ho.

Post-Show Party As soon as the cameras went to black, members of The Voice‘s production staff wheeled out a huge birthday cake, lit up with candles. Apparently, it was Carson Daly’s birthday! (And Blake Shelton’s was last week, the powers that be told us.) It was a cute moment, seeing all the staff, the contestants, as well as the studio audience, singing “Happy Birthday” to Carson and Co. Happy Birthday, indeed.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

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

Comments (33 total) Add your comment
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  • Cal

    Sound was better this show. I could hear the vocalists clearly. Cee Lo played court jester perfectly. Adam’s explanation for his scoring set a bad precedent, why should the audience bother to vote if the coach is going to exert his personal choice? Better if he just said he scored based on his opinion of the performances that night.

    • To Cal

      But the audience voted before they knew what how the judges scored the performances! Personally, I thought Christina and Blake’s 50/50 was a total cop out. At least Adam had the guts to admit that one was better than the other.

      • Shannon

        I completely agree!! The judges don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but at least Adam was honest about why he scored them the way he did. Plus he was right!! Casey was no where near as good as Javier.

      • Jeannie

        The problem is, Adam didn’t actually say that one was better than the other. He actually pointed out that he wasn’t making that distinction at all, that he gave Javier more points because he “needed” this show more than Casey right now, because he’s already failed in the business a couple of times. Which is a cop-out, Adam should have just been upfront and said Javier performed better and deserved it more than Casey. I’m still happy at least ONE of the judges made their preference known, even if he sugarcoated it.

      • Jenn

        I couldn’t agree more! I give him mad props for being honest. He really handled it beautifully. He didn’t want to hurt Casey but he (and almost everyone else) knows Javier is the better singer/talent. I’m sure Adam is all too aware of what the voting public likes to do from time to time.
        This was the final 4 I picked from the beginning. This is the 4 it should be. From here it’s a total crap shoot to who will win. All 4 are incredible talents and each will definitely make it. Personally I’m hoping it’s Javier but if it’s any of the other 3 I’m ok with that!

      • Snsetblaze

        Agreed here. But either way, Adam’s push wasn’t needed because Javier’s total was almost 3 to 1 over Casey’s. Casey had 65 points total, 35 of them from Adam. I don’t remember Javier’s exact number but it was around 155 or 160 and without Adam’s votes it would have been between 80 and 90. But it could have made a difference. Apparently, though for the other three teams, the even split made no difference as both Frenchie and Beverly and Dia and Xenia were relatively close. Vicci and Nakia were much further apart so Ceelo’s 2 point difference did nothing (but not the blowout that Javier v. Casey was). Perhaps the powers that be should drop the coach’s voting for the finals next year and just let America choose? It might be more interesting if they had no hand on who was actually put into the finals.

      • Snsetblaze

        Actually, now that I think about it Vicci v. Nakia was almost 3 to 1 sinceI belive Vicci’s score was about 124 and Nakia’s 74 or 76 or in that range. So that was a blowout too.

    • Rock Golf

      At present the judges can completely overrule the public (100-0) or leave it entirely to the public (50-50) or anything in-between. Instead , the judges should be given 15 points to split between the two contestants. That way they have to pick a favorite, but can only override small differences in public opinion. If they go 8-7, they’ve still had to pick a favorite. If they really want one act to go through then they can go 10-5 or even 15-0, but cannot completely overrule the voting.

      • Cal

        @rockgolf – great suggestion, less points from coaches and an odd number would prevent them from completely undermining the viewer voting aspect of the game. @jeannie, I completely agree. Was Adam’s reason honest or was he sparing Casey’s feelings?  If he was honest, then he feels that Javier should win and doesn’t trust viewer opinion. That leaves room for folks to wonder if he was manipulating the competition in favor of Javier when he chose Casey over Jeff to go against Jav.

      • Tio

        Actually, I’m glad the judges can vote equally… mobs are sometimes stupid – they (the judges) are business professionals. How many times did you, in the heat of the moment, think something was great – and then later looked back (objectively) and how mediocre it was.

  • Mary

    Both Cal and To CAl are world class idiots but mostly To Cal.

    • Squishmar

      You don’t feel the need to supply any reasons for your insults?

  • Tully

    Adam wants to win or a better chance to win by giving Javier a large margin over Casey. Javier is the best singer all around but not the most interesting or exciting. We’ll have to see.

    • wino

      it also depends on where the votes of those kicked off today go….i cant see Casey fans voting for Javier, whereas I see Xenia supporters backing Dia. Should be interesting indeed.

  • MaggieJane

    I was rooting for Nakia going into last night. But Vicci really won me over by presenting not just good vocals, but performance. I think it will be between her & Javier.

  • hawk

    Technically Javier is the better singer but Casey is unique. Javier sings fantastic but does not stand out to me. I had all the same picks except I had Casey also.

    • Snsetblaze

      Casey’s not that unique. I generally like the type of music she would do and there are many, many vocalists like her (and many don’t have that goat vibrato).

  • Joe

    This competition is obviously Javier vs Dia. Don’t believe me? Just go on iTunes and see who the top 2 artists are.

  • leigh

    If the winner was based on i tunes Haley Reinhart would have definitely won Idols, as she had by far the most downloads.

    • Squishmar

      She would have won if Idol had the great voting system they have for The Voice.

      • Ann

        Yep. I like how The Voice limits your votes….that way a hundred tweens can’t call and text in their vote an unlimited amount of time, swaying the votes for their latest tween crush.

      • Amy

        But AI did not use Itunes for votes, did they? Maybe Hailey R would have won if they did? It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  • BrendaNery

    This was fun to read. Thx

  • Stephany

    Javier failed in the past for a reason. Dia will win for her creativity n talent. They all can sing but she has the creative juices to the max. Adam needs to let Javier do his thing or it will be between Dia n Vicci.

    • tnsmoke

      Maybe when Javier had his recording contract his label and producers wanted him to be the next “soul brother” and his forte is more pop then soul. Happens all the time. Not all new artists get to pick the songs on their records until they have some clout and if they write their own songs they often only get to put a few on the cd till the songs charts and prove they are good songwriters.

    • Amy

      If you’re trying to imply Javier is the lesser singer because he has had failures, Dia has had the same. She and her sister have a band, Meg & Dia, released three albums, went on tour a couple of times, and were dropped by their record label in 2010.

  • Christopher

    How did you get a job writing??

  • Christopher

    How did you get a job writing for a magazine??

  • Diana

    Javier needs to do something different. Everything is sounding the same and way too many runs. I ended up liking Nakia better then Vicci but I hope Bev wins. I love her voice.

  • PN

    I would have wanted to hear Blake Shelton sing the Golden Girls theme song with his twang to it.

  • Jose

    Dia has proven to be the most talented of the group thanks to her unique Voice and confidence on stage. I agree with what others have said, Javier has a great Voice, but lacks that stage presence, I don’t get excited to see him on stage at all. Whenever he is on stage he lacks to connect with the audience (both live and at home). Beverly has an amazing Voice, definitely a little more difficult to market due to her age, but her Voice and stage confidence are a huge plus. Vicci, again a great vocalist, but I don’t get anything new from seeing her perform. I also don’t find her Voice as unique as Dia’s and Bervely’s. They all definitely deserve to be on the top four, for their VOICE. But in the end, Dia should come out as the winner!

    • P

      I actually find Dia a little boring. She seems like she’s holding something back. And Javiar while a great singer is completely one note. I’d choose either Vicci or Beverly.

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