"The room is filled with people, but everyone is dead silent. And all we can hear is footsteps as they walk out on stage. All they hear, of course, is *thump*thump* *thump*thump* from their heartbeats. And then, right before the music starts, there's this sharp inhale..."
The Voice is an International Talent Show (based onThe Voice of Holland, a Dutch talent show) with a twist. Four coaches — who are, typically, incredibly popular musicians — are each competing to pick out the best singers, whom they will then train to compete for the overall title ... but during the auditions, they are seated with their backs to the stage, forcing them to select solely based on ... well, the voice. It is shown in multiple countries across the world.The coaches for the American series are:
The Blind Auditions: Artists selected to compete in the Blind Auditions are sent on stage one-by-one to sing their chosen song, with the coaches seated backs to the stage. If, during the song, any of the coaches decides that they like what they're hearing, they can press their button, their chair will turn around, and the contestant will take a place on their team. However, if more than one coach turns around, the contestant will choose which coach's whose team they want to join.
The Battle Rounds: After several weeks of coaching, each coach pairs up the artists on their team to sing head-to-head the same song on the same stage. They are then forced to eliminate one artist in each pair. Season 3 added a new rule that says each coach can steal 2 contestants who lost their battle round and add them to their team.
The Knockouts: This stage, added on season 3 of the US version, is a mixture of the blind auditions and the battle rounds. Two contestants battle for one spot in the live shows but they chose their own songs and they perform them alone (one artist watches while the other is singing). On season 5 a new rule was added so the coaches could steal one losing contestant (just like in the battles).
The Live Performance Rounds: The traditional Talent Show voting stage — first, each team is whittled down to one contestant, and then these last four face off in the final voting round. Once again, on season 3 there was a rule change so the 2 contestants with the lowest amount of votes would go home, regardless of team.
For the American series, Season 1 ran from April 26, 2011 to June 29, 2011 with Team Adam's Javier Colon winning. Season 2 began on February 5, 2012 and ended May 8, 2012 with Team Blake's Jermaine Paul taking the win. Season 3 started on September 10, 2012 and ended on December 18, 2012 with Team Blake's Cassadee Pope becoming the first female winner of the show (and Blake Shelton his second consecutive season win as a coach). Season 4 began on March 25, 2013 and ended on June 18, 2013, with 16-year-old country singer Danielle Bradbery giving Shelton his third consecutive victory. Bradbery almost became the show's youngest victor, as well as the first country act to win.For the British series, Season 1 ran from 24 March 2012 to 2 June 2012, with Team Tom's Leanne Mitchell winning. Season 2 ran from 30 March 2013 to 22 June 2013, with blind singer Andrea Begley giving Danny O'Donoghue his first win as a coach.For the Australian series, Season 1 ran from 15 April 2012 to 18 June 2012, while Season 2 ran from 7 April 2013 to 17 June 2013. In both seasons, Seal was the victorious coach, first of blues singer Karise Eden (season 1) and then with crooner Harrison Craig (season 2).Does not actually involve The Voice.
Melanie Martinez (also from Season 3) wears a large bowtie in her hair.
De'Borah during Season 3's live playoffs wore one.
Adam wears a white one in the Season 3 finale.
Barry Black in Season 5 Blind Auditions wore a leather one.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: In Season 4 of the American show, its revealed that, as a coach, Usher has some very... eccentric... ways to train his singers to be better. The best example might be when he gave singer Michelle Chamuel instructions to drop and do push ups, then jump up and start singing, as a means to increase her breath control. Also, he gave Chamuel the Cyndi Lauper classic "True Colors" (a song about never giving up and believing in yourself) for use in a Knockout round performance, and during rehearsals instructed her to sing the song to herself in a mirror, as a way to get her to get her to open up to the audience more. It worked.
Likewise, Blake Shelton taking his team of would-be country singers to a Kareoke Bar, where they sang everything but country, was a means to get them to realize that the most important part of being a performing musician is loving the music itself and having fun with it. This also worked.
As a mentor and a coach Seal (one of the coaches on the Australian series) motivates his team by using a lot of pop-psychology slogans that might have come right off of the motivational posters you find in corporate meeting rooms.
Cliff Hanger: Often when a contestant has to pick between multiple coaches, they will put off revealing their choice until after the commercial break.
Confession Cam: Started being used during the results shows of Season 3. The confessions are rather light-hearted and all taken in jest, though.
Delayed Reaction: One of the contestants auditioning for Season 2 was Tony Lucca, who was in The Mouseketeers with Christina Aguilera. She didn't recognize him until after he'd left the stage, at which point her jaw dropped and she got up out of her seat—much to the confusion of the other coaches—and ran backstage to greet him. Any grownup Mickey Mouse Club fans watching must have Squeed.
Drinking Game: Courtesy of the Shields Brothers from Season 2. Drink every time:
Shots of cleavage.
Coaches say they're going to steal before seeing a performance.
Carson Daly says "Let the battle begin".
Coaches make a steal.
Christina uses her fan.
Blake points to himself.
Dull Surprise: Carson Daly. When Javier Colon won, Carson read the card with absolutely no emotion whatsoever.
The Voice fans and reviewers' reactions to Season 3's Cassadee Pope. We don't need to reexplain the Creator's Pet above, but it's been said that she turned from a dark horse competitor to a frontrunner after her "Over You" performance. When Amanda Brown and Trevin Hunte were eliminated before the finals, Pope's eventual victory was essentially guaranteed from there.
This actually started in the top 6. Thanks to the iTunes multiplier rule all it took to know who was going home was seeing who was in the iTunes top 10.
During the blind auditions the coaches try to be as positive as they can with their feedback so people don't feel that bad if they're not picked. So this was more likely just an example of blatant lies rather than actual praise.
Freudian Slip: Carson announced that the married Terry Mcdermott was going to perform I Love Your Wife. He laughed and quickly corrected himself.
Genre Savvy: In Season 3, Terisa Griffin notes the tendency for certain contestants to be used as cannon fodder and fears that she may fall victim to this.
This did not help her much in the end because she was used as cannon fodder by Blake (her original coach) and Cee Lo (who stole her during the Knockouts).
Also in Season 3, Cody Belew asked Cee Lo what he could do to beat DOMO in their battle because Cee Lo tends to favor attractive women like DOMO.
Head Pet: Cee Lo's pet bird in Season 3's confessionals, Lady, sometimes perches on his head.
Hey, It's That Guy!: Frenchie from American Idol, Dia from Meg & Dia, Cassadee Pope from Hey Monday, Michelle Chamuel from My Dear Disco… this show is full of this.
Hopeless Auditionees: Completely, totally, and utterly averted. The various celebrity musicians involved take great pride in the fact that they never ever humiliate a hopeful singer, no matter how badly they do. Even those singers who get a huge case of stage-fright and literally stop singing in the middle of their acts are given constructive criticism, a chance to calm down (and often literally hugs and hand-holding if they seem to need it), and friendly advice on how to be better singers. The best of these Hopeless Auditionees are told that they should try again once they've worked on whatever problems they displayed.
The closest thing they've had to a Hopeless Auditionees on the US show is this guy who decided to start off by dancing during the Blind Auditions.
Alys Williams originally auditioned for the UK show and her voice literally stopped in the middle of her song. Naturally, none of the coaches hit their buttons and turned around. The four coaches complemented her on her voice, were very understanding of her being nervous (with Will.i.am. commenting that, "If this is how you sound nervous... Wow... I'd love to hear you sing when you're calm"), and gave her advice on countering nerves and improving her performance. She came back the next year, conquered her nerves, and this time caused all four coaches to turn around.
Likewise, Season 4 (US) contestant Garrett Gardner auditioned for Season 3 but didn't make it on because (in the words of Blake Shelton) he needed to learn better breathing and control. Cut to a season later, and Gardner returns, and this time he makes it on. He even thanked Shelton specifically for the advice, which he said he took to heart.
Jerkass Has a Point: Christina has been criticized many times for being overly harsh to some contestants or for making the critiques all about herself. And yet some of the people critiquing her for this admit that her comments do tend to be very accurate.
Lame Pun Reaction: Adam's reaction to Blake's "Swon" puns in season 4's blind auditions.
Music Is Politics: The Blind Auditions are an attempt at avoiding this; the judges have their backs to the stage so they can focus on the contestants' singing, not their image or anything else.
My Greatest Failure: Will.i.am. (one of the coaches for the UK series) called himself an idiot for not hitting his button during seventeen-year-old self-trained opera prodigy Shansel Husayin's note-perfect performance of "Nessum Dorma", and profusely apologized to her for not doing so, stating that he realized too late that she was an opportunity to "reinvent pop radio." As late as a mid-2013 interview, he's apparently still kicking himself in the butt for letting her slip through his fingers.
This may be part of the reason why, during the second series blind audition by opera divas Barbara and Carla, Will turned his chair some four seconds into their audition.
My Greatest Second Chance: Several times, a singer has auditioned, not made it onto the show, and then come back in a later season and made it.
Jared Blake is an odd case. In Season 1, his first audition didn't lead to a coach turning around. However, when everyone had auditioned and they didn't have enough people to continue, he returned, nailed his Second Chance audition, and made it to the quarterfinals.
Daniel Rosa first auditioned in Season 2, but the judges thought then that he was too pitchy. Come Season 3, proving that he didn't give up and he took the advice they gave him, he performed a redone version of "Somebody That I Used to Know" that won over Blake and Cee Lo. After Rosa's performance, Adam got up to hug him despite not pressing his buzzer, and said that he wanted to give him a big hug since his first performance.
Dez Duron changed his style a bit from Season 2 coming into Season 3. It worked well enough to get everyone but Adam to turn their chairs. Also, like Rosa, they remember him, especially Blake who remembered both him and his good looks.
Garret Gardner auditioned for Season 3 and didn't get in. Blake Shelton specifically told him that be sounded breathy and needed to learn how to control his pitch. He returned in Season 4 and got on, and gave Shelton full credit for the advice.
James Irwin auditioned during Season 4, and because of the emotional turmoil he was going through at the time (having just lost twin daughters in childbirth), he gave what could charitably be described as a lackluster performance of "The Man Who Can't Be Moved". He came back a much more settled, practiced, and skilled singer in Season 5, performing "Losing My Religion", and got all four coaches to turn for him.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Seal came down hard on contestant Kiyomi Vella for having a "backup plan" in case her musical career didn't pan out (Vella was attending university to get an environmental science degree, something that would give her an income while she pursued her musical dreams). The scolding shamed Vella so much that she quit college to concentrate on music at his urging. And then she was eliminated from the competition. As of this writing, neither her musical career, nor her attempts to get back into college, have been all that successful. Good job, Seal. Really good job.
Offer Void In Nebraska: The fifth season of the American Version introduced the Twitter Instant Save, in which the audience could save one of the bottom three from elimination by using Twitter to vote to save. Unfortunately, due to time zone issues, the show is only really live for people in the Eastern and Central Time Zones. So anyone living in is Mountain or Pacific Time Zones, as well as Alaska and Hawai'i, is SOL.
Christian Porter, one of the contestants in season four. He even got Coach Shakira worked up. Just with his voice.
Product Placement: In the American series, there's a Starbucks in the waiting room. Carson Daly once made a joke about it with one auditioner, who was a Starbucks barrista as his day job.
During the blind auditions, the various versions of the show itself will often go on location to profile this or that contestant. When they do this outside of the US, the lead in to these profiles will be various shots of the contestant in their home ground, interacting with their family, and so on. In the American version, its shots of the Kia Sorrento that Carson Dailey drives to the location. Lots and lots of lovingly framed shots of the car. To the point that its almost Car Porn.
The Runner Up Takes It All: Chris Mann finished 4th on the second season but he's probably that season's biggest success story. He released a Christmas EP and a full album before any of the other finalists (both of which charted on Billboard), performed before the President and on the NBC Tree lighting event and even recorded two PBS specials.
The Smurfette Principle: On the American, Australian, and UK versions, with the judges being one girl and three guys.
Was true for the first season of the Irish version, but the second season threw that out by adding Jamelia.
The Unfavorite: Season 2's Katrina Parker seemed to be this for Adam. He not only outright told her she wasn't one of his favorites, but during the semi finals he gave most of his points to Tony Lucca instead of her, thereby kicking her out of the show even though she had received a higher share of the popular vote than Tony.
Meanwhile, Tony himself was The Unfavorite contestant for his former Mouseketeers co-star Christina. Christina started making comments towards him during the judging that many fans (and even the other judges) thought were oddly harsh.
Sassy Black Woman: In Season 3, one of the contestants brought so much sass that she let Blake sweat as he continued Digging Himself Deeper until he just told her to hit him and get it over with - she then walked over and hugged him, choosing him as her coach. Cee Lo commented afterward that he's had to deal with that his entire life as that's basically every woman he knows right there.
Sexy Mentor: Adam, Christina, Blake, Usher, and Shakira. Cee Lo is the only one who isn't really sexy; he's more Big Fun instead.
Shirtless Scene: There was a shirtless guitarist up on the stage when Blake and Cassadee performed together on the Season 3 finals. You don't even need to see the performance to know who he was.
Adam occasionally has this effect on Blake as well.
During the season 3 Blind Auditions part 8, one of the rejected (male) contestants complimented Adam and made him get all kinds of flustered.
Talent Show Version: Even the full-length versions of the songs from the Blind Auditions and Battle Rounds are generally cut-down from the original tracks. At least in Season 1, however, the trope was averted for the Live Performance Round.
The show has also used the Talent Show Version of some songs in order to avoid using a censorship bleep during a performance when a song normally would include profanity. For example, during Sarah Carnegy's blind audition performance of Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know", they removed the verses that talked about her going down on her boyfriend in a theater, and of course they never went near the line "Are you thinking of me when you fuck her?"
Christina and Adam seem to go back and forth between this and actually hating each other, especially during Season 2 when they battled over Tony Lucca, with Christina going out of her way to bash him and Adam stepping up to defend him. Culminated in a really awkward, borderline ugly, confrontation during finals week after Tony's performance of Jay-Z's "99 Problems." Yikes. You could visibly see the discomfort and awkwardness on Carson, Blake, and Cee-Lo's faces as Adam and Christina got into their argument. Adam then momentarily defused the situation by revealing a "Team Xtina" t-shirt under his other shirt and assuring Christina "You know I love you." Of course, things got awkward again when Christina made an oblique insult towards Tony later on after Chris Mann's performance.