"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 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 decide 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 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. If more than one coach tries to steal an artist, the artist chooses which coach they want to work with.
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). In 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, in season 3 there was a rule change so that, once each team had 3 artists left, the 2 contestants with the lowest amount of votes would go home each week, regardless of team. Season 7 saw the addition of the wildcard; once the final three artists were announced, previously eliminated artists would return to perform. America would then vote for one of them to join the other three in a final four.
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. Season 5 started on September 23, 2013 and ended on December 17, 2013 with Jamaican reggae powerhouse Tessanne Chin giving Levine his second win. Season 6 started on February 24, 2014 and ended on May 20, 2014 with bespectacled soul singer Josh Kaufman giving Usher his first win. Kaufman also became the show's oldest winner, at 38.For the British series, Series 1 ran from 24 March 2012 to 2 June 2012, with Team Tom's Leanne Mitchell winning. Series 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. Series 3 started January 11, 2014 and ended April 5, 2014 with Team Will's Jermain Jackman taking the win.For the Australian series, Series 1 ran from 15 April 2012 to 18 June 2012, while Series 2 ran from 7 April 2013 to 17 June 2013 and Series 3 ran 4 May 2014 to 21 July 2012. In the first two series, Seal was the victorious coach, first with blues singer Karise Eden (season 1) and then with crooner Harrison Craig (season 2). Series 3 saw Team Will's Anja Nissen take the win.Does not actually involve The Voice.
Blasé Boast: On the British show the judges are fond of name-dropping the famous singers they know, sometimes as a way of seducing an auditionee onto their team, sometimes just out of habit. Its become a Running Gag that Tom Jones always wins because he is a Long Runner who knows everybody- he has a particular tendency to reminisce about hanging out with Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley in an As You Know manner. This was lampshaded in one episode of the British series' blind auditions, when Tom Jones cautioned about dropping too many names and started his advice with, "I was talking to Elvis, that would be Costello, not Presley, and I said, 'Elvis..."
There has been more than one contestant who turns out to be the son of this famous singer or the sister of that famous actor, though it usually doesn't come up after they are introduced. And then, of course, was the season when big name voice-over artist EG Daily competed in the 5th season of the American series. When asked why she looked and sounded familiar to the coaches, she immediately pointed out that she was in Pee-wee's Big Adventure and Rugrats.
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.
Cee-Lo wore one during Season 5 finale.
Breakup Breakout: Season 3 winner Cassadee Pope was formerly the lead singer of the rock group Hey Monday, which went on hiatus shortly beforehand.
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 Live Playoffs 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 Karaoke 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.
In the Russian version, the coach Pelageya behaves like she has swallowed an Energizer battery: laughing, jumping out of her chair when happy, running on the stage to hug the trainees she chose at Blind Audition… Nonetheless, she's a great coach and a very professional singer.
Cliff Hanger: Often when a contestant has to pick between multiple coaches, they will put off revealing their choice until after the commercial break.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Will.i.am from the UK version, especially with several of his nonsensical analogies. CeeLo on the US version is in the same boat.
Confession Cam: Started being used during the results shows of Season 3. The confessions are rather light-hearted and all taken in jest, though.
Cool Chair: The Coaches' revolving chairs. Kylie Minogue's chair had to be retrofitted with steps due to the fact that she's so short (as in she's smaller than Christina) that she had trouble getting in and out of it.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Season Five was a good season to be Team Adam. Likewise for Team Blake in Season 4.
In some battles and knockouts it's really easy to tell who is going to win either because one of the contestants is clearly better than the other or one of the contestant has a bad day. It should be noted though that sometimes the coaches pick their favorite regardless of whether they performed better than their opponent.
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.
Someone makes a joke about Usher's shoes.
Pharrell stands in his chair.
Gwen gives someone a shirt.
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.
Epic Fail: Season 3 was a bad time to be on Team Xtina. Likewise for Team CeeLo in Season 5.
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.
Sometimes the judges don't press the button simply because none of them are familiar with the genre of the singer (eg. if you are a fantastic operatic singer, you probably won't be picked -you can be, but its less likely-, purely because none of the judges may know much about opera and would have no idea how to begin coaching you); conversely, in the British series at least, the judges have been reluctant to pick people who are too close to their own styles, especially if they feel the singer is specifically trying to get their attention by copying them (since the show is about finding your ownvoice). They might also not pick you if they already have singers with a similar style to you on their team, even if you are every bit as good (maybe even a bit better). On other occasions, they really do regret not turning, or didn't turn because the singer was more suited to one of the other coaches (who in the end, also did not turn for whatever reason). And they really do prefer to go for people who they think they can do something with, so a singer who not only has a great voice but has already mastered the art really might not get picked for that reason- there is nothing the judges can teach them, and if they can't challenge the singer or give them any direction its not going to be much fun for either of them.
Freudian Slip: Carson announced that the married Terry McDermott was going to perform I Love Your Wife. He laughed and quickly corrected himself.
Four-Temperament Ensemble: The judges: Adam Levine (choleric), Shakira (melancholic), Usher (phlegmatic), Blake Shelton (sanguine), Christina Aguilera (choleric), and Cee Lo Green (sanguine).
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 Battle Rounds).
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. Cody did, in fact, win the battle.
Head Pet: Cee Lo's pet bird in Season 3's confessionals, Lady, sometimes perches on his head.
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Christina Aguilera and Shakira are the Tiny Girl to Blake, Cee-Lo, Usher, and Adam's Huge Guys. Kylie Minogue is the Tiny Girl to Sir Tom Jones, Ricky Wilson and will.i.am's Huge Guys.
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.
Its likely that there areHopeless Auditionees who apply for the Voice; its just, unlike X-Factor or American Idol, those auditions are not recorded for television broadcast. The singers who make it onto The Voice therefore would have already been approved by a different panel of non-celebrity judges off-screen. People who can't sing might be humiliated at these early stages, but said-humiliation won't be televised nationwide / worldwide.
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 she does tend to offer good advice to people she likes.
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.
Country singer Jake Worthington auditioned during Season 5 of the American series, singing the Georgia Satellites' song "Keep Your Hands to Yourself." No one turned. Blake Shelton pointed out that while Worthington had a decent voice, he sounded like he was running out of breath, and Adam Levine noted that Worthington had problems with controlling his pitch. A year later, Worthington came back for Season 6 singing Kieth Whitley's "Don't Close Your Eyes" and sang it with perfect pitch and absolutely no breath problems. All of the coaches except Usher turned their chairs.
R&B singer Delvin Choice auditioned for Season 5 with Ne-Yo's "Closer". When no one turned, Adam recommended a slower, more emotional song. When he returned for Season 6 with Andy Williams' "A Song for You", everyone turned for him.
Country singer Allison Bray auditioned for Season 6 with Connie Francis' "Where the Boys Are". When no one turned, Blake recommended that she work on her pitch. When she returned for Season 7 with Kacey Musgraves' "Merry Go 'Round", everyone except Pharrell turned for her.
Season 7 reggae artist Anita Antoinette bears the remarkable distinction of being the first no-chair artist to return four seasons after their original attempt (as well as the third to turn four chairs).
When pop artist Tanner Linford auditioned for Season 6 with Rihanna's "Stay" no one turned. When he returned for Season 7 with Keith Whitley's "When You Say Nothing at All", it appeared that he would be rejected again… only for Blake to turn at the last minute.
Sam Alves auditioned for season 4 of the U.S. version, with no one turning for him. He later auditioned for the second season of the Brazil version, where he turned all four chairs and won the season.
With Season 5's addition of steals to the Knockouts, coaches can steal back an artist they let go in the Battle rounds, which happened with Will Champlin, Stephanie Anne Johnson and Craig Wayne Boyd.
Related to the steals, Season 6's Tess Boyer is the first contestant to join three different teams at various times (Usher was the only one to turn for her in the blinds, which was followed with steals by Blake and Shakira).
During Series Two of The Voice UK, Jessica Steele auditioned singing "Don't You Want Me Baby", but her nerves turned her audition into a hot mess. She was off-tone and at one point got screechy, all because of her nerves. She returned for Series Three, singing "She Said". All four coaches turned for her this time.
Nice Hat: Usher's hat in season 6's second round of battles.
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 barista 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, it's shots of the Kia Sorrento that Carson Daly drives to the location. There are lots and lots of lovingly framed shots of the car. To the point that it's almost Car Porn.
The Runner Up Takes It All: Team Christina's 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.
Folk/Rock duo Midas Whale were eliminated in the Season Four knockout round. Their self-released album Sugar House consistently outsells the album released by that season's winner, Danielle Bradbery.
Running Gag: "My boo" in US Season 7. Originally a pet name between Pharrell and Gwen, it caught Blake's attention and he keeps trying to use it despite admitting that he has no idea what it actually means.
The Smurfette Principle: On the American, Australian, UK and Russian 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.
Season 5's Will Champlin appeared to be this for Adam during the finals. He declared Tessanne (Will's teammate) the winner of the season after her performance while he gave Will a speech that amounted to "you should be proud of getting to the finals".
Will may have also have been the producer's The Unfavorite. During the final result show Tessanne got to duet with Céline Dion, Jacquie Lee with Hayley Williams from Paramore and Will with… Aloe Blacc. And to make matters worse, he performed a song that someone else (Team CeeLo's Caroline Pennell) had already done earlier in the season.
Season 6's Kristen Merlin seemed to be the producers' unfavorite, having both of her battles montaged and having her mic go out in the live shows.
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, Shakira, Pharrell & Gwen. 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, which 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 CeeLo'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.