The Voice: Behind-The-Scenes SecretsPublished on May 16, 2016. Updated April 14, 2020
NBC’s The Voice has easily become the most popular competition shows on the air right now. The U.S. version was formed from the original show called The Voice of Holland which has spawned multiple different shows in various countries across the world. A big part of what makes The Voice so successful is that it’s stacked with mega-stars who coach the contestants and compete against one another. Members of the coaching panel include Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Pharrell Williams, as well as Gwen Stefani, Usher, CeeLo Green and Shakira. Its safe to say this is a star-studded show! Now onto the twelfth season, The Voice has become hugely successful featuring guest celebrity appearances, live performances from the coaches and an audience based voting process. We’ve decided to take a look behind-the-scenes and find out what all goes down when the cameras aren’t rolling:
Putting together a show like The Voice requires a lot of work and it takes a village! In fact, to be more specific, it involves a crew of about 600 people. Just one show requires 12 set changes and 1,900 lights!
9. Audience Warm-Up
The Voice thrives off the energy of its live audience, but how do they know when to cheer, clap, laugh, stand up, etc? There’s a guy who’s sole job is to warm up the audience and get them pumped for the show. The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “Oh, the poor warm up guy whose job it is to deliver all the legal rules to the audience while cracking jokes and making sure we clap and stand like good studio audience members. ‘You watch at home, here you participate.’ It’s in the last half hour of the show when the audience, who has been sweating for a straight hour and a half, really makes the guy work. He even comes off a bit desperate to get us on our feet or clapping like crazy people. Its a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.”
8. Contestants Hectic Schedules
The Voice is a live show, so once it gets down to the final 12, things move quickly and become quite hectic. The contestants are required to do a lot of press, photo shoots and, of course, film and learn new music. In an interview with Music Times, Luke Wade said, “It was probably about 95 percent of our allotted time was either filming something or recording something. That’s pretty much all that it was and then we had to learn our songs on our own time. There were a lot of days where we’d have to choose whether we wanted to sleep seven hours or whether we wanted to practice our song at all. I think there was one day where it was 20 hours or so. Actually, there was a 24-hour day at one point. It’s just crazy and long and lots of songs that you’ve never heard before that you have to sing in front of a million people, just a whole lot of pressure and you just do your best.”
7. How Much Time Do Contestants Spend with Coaches?
It’s hard to tell in a 90 second clip each week how much time contestants actually get with their coaches. A big part of the show has to do with these ordinary people being given the chance to work with and receive coaching from veteran stars in the industry. However, the coaches are stars with their own careers outside of The Voice so fans have always wondered how authentic the relationship between contestants and coaches really is. After doing a little research, it seems to all come down to who the coach is. Wade also said, “I don’t know if I’m supposed to say or not, probably not. It was like, probably 10 hours over the course of the show. As you got further on, you would get personal time. For the most part, it’s on camera because they want to get the value of those moments. They want to capture any time that you’re actually talking with your coach. You actually get a few private moments towards the end where you just talk to people. That was one of the biggest and best rewards of getting that far.” On the other hand, season 6 contestant Ddendyl said they only met with their coach Shakira for the rehearsals on camera, but outside of that they were on their own.
6. Relationships After the Show
In the same interview with Music Times, Waden also commented on his relationship with Pharrell after the show because Pharrell always promises to work with certain contestants after the season is finished. “We’ve been in communication since the show. He’s been super busy. He called me to let me know that, not too long, calling to let me know that he was running and he was busy, but he still looks forward to working with me. He’s had [“Blurred Lines”] trial and The Voice, and then, released a lot of records that he’s been working on. They do what they can. Their intentions are there. Twelve kids per season times how many seasons, it’s just too much. Similar to the coaching techniques while on the show, relationships after the show depend on the coach and usually how successful the contestants is afterwards. Take RaeLynn for an example, she’s close buddies with Blake Shelton after being on Team Blake for an entire season.
5. Glam Squad
On a typical day, Gwen Stefani arrives two hours before the other coaches and when it comes to which guy takes the longest to get ready — it’s Adam! Shelton commented that he’ll change his wardrobe several times before settling into what he’s going to wear.
4. Contestants Contract
The New York Daily revealed what they called a “dehumanizing” contract that contestants have to sign in order to compete on the show. Like most reality television shows, The Voice requires its cast to basically sign over their rights. Within the contract, it states that producers can change the rules at any time, eliminate contestants at any time, even if they are “winning” with the public. The most shocking part about it all is that producers are allowed to “ignore the show’s voting system, which includes sales figures for contestants songs on iTunes, in the event of problems.” Fans of the show will remember back to the fourth season when Judith Hill was mysteriously voted off even though she was one of the most popular and successful contestants. Afterwards the producers admitted they failed to count thousands of votes that came in via social media and text because of “some inconsistencies.”
3. Contestants Wave Their Rights
The contract also states that contestants can be forced to undergo medical or psychological testing at anytime under any circumstances and their results can be broadcast on television for the world to see! And as is standard with many other reality television contracts, this one states contestants who reveal details from the contract can be sued anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million!
2. Auditions for the Show
One of the things that separates The Voice from other competitive singing shows like American Idol is that it never airs a bad audition, but how do they manage to do this? It’s true some people don’t get a chair turn, but their performance is usually still pretty solid. This is because staff who work for The Voice call managers and agents all over the country to find the best singers, particularly those with a moving background story and then they recruit them to come audition for the show. Similarly, sometimes producers will invite contestants back onto the show for the future season especially if they don’t think they are the right fit for that particular season. Even though some people are recruited for the show, there are three auditions in total: an audition with the producers to make sure the contestant can actually sing; this audition includes an interview and if they are lucky a callback for executive auditions and then if all goes well, they are asked to perform in front of the judges on the show. Also, because it’s impossible to tell who will get picked and who won’t, not everyone who makes it to the final round of auditions gets to go out on stage. Once all the teams are filled — the auditions are closed.
1. False Depictions
Contestants who sign the contract are extremely vulnerable in terms of protecting their reputation because it allows producers to disregard reality entirely and portray them in a way that “may be disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing (and) may expose me to public ridicule, humiliation or condemnation.” The contract essentially and literally states it allows producers to “portray me in a false light.” To be fair, contestants usually don’t receive enough air time to completely twist and tarnish their image, but it’s scary to see how these contracts can strip an individual of their basic rights.