For me, The Voice is about a lot more than who advances and who gets eliminated. There’s a lot going on that doesn’t make headlines but makes for plenty of great memories.
In the first week of live shows we got a lesson in standing up for who you believe in and in the second week I got a surprise visit from the person I believe in more than any other (coach Adam Levine). So I asked myself, What the heck could possibly happen in week three?
Apparently, a lot. Possibly looking to ramp up the drama, NBC introduced “instant eliminations” at the end of the performance shows. In a nutshell, two people still go home each week, except one is now sent home by their coach instead of America and it happens on Monday instead of Tuesday. All this seemed to do was raise everyone’s stress level. Coach Blake Shelton was vocal in his dislike of the new rule and Team Christina’s Chris Mann called it “the worst thing we’ve done.”
That development and others led to plenty of controversy surrounding the show this week, to my chagrin. Whether it was Christina Aguilera‘s choice to eliminate the popular Jesse Campbell, or her risque outfit during Team Christina’s performance with their coach, or Blake having to part ways with Raelynn, or words being exchanged on Twitter again, there was a lot of drama. One of things I love about the show is that there isn’t too much drama, so it was a little hard to take. I’m hoping we get back to the positive next week, even as the stakes continue to rise.
However, there were a lot of good and fun things that happened this week as well. Here are my thoughts, in no real order:
- As a Maroon 5 fan, it was an incredible pleasure to be in the studio for the premiere of their new single “Payphone.” I have a hard time describing it, but when these guys get on stage it’s just something special and unlike any other live music experience I’ve ever had. And I’ve been lucky enough to be in the room for the premiere of both their singles, after I was also there for the premiere of “Moves Like Jagger” last season.
- The only thing cooler than being in the studio while Maroon 5 is playing is to be standing backstage with Maroon 5. It made my day when guitarist James Valentine remembered me from last year’s tour, said hi and high-fived me just moments before they went on stage.
- On Tuesday night I ended up standing next to The Wanted and later Justin Bieber. Not quite the same thing as I’m not a fan of either, but it was still neat.
- Pet peeve: the horde of teenage girls feeling the need to scream “We love you, Adam!” as he’s trying to make comments to an artist. I love him, too, but I don’t interrupt him and take away from the important stuff that’s happening on stage.
- Thanks to Chris Mann, I now finally understand the lyrics to Coldplay‘s “Viva La Vida.” One of the things I love about his performances is that he always enunciates.
- I am not normally a fan of big production numbers, but I will say that Team Christina’s performance of “Fighter” was very cool to see live. And to start it with a hilarious prank on Blake was even better.
- If you’re wondering how the coaches know when to stop talking, they have a 20-second clock in front of them that starts counting down the moment they’re cued by host Carson Daly.
- Now this instant elimination thing: I’m not a fan either. But I understand the coaches’ decisions, as much as I’ll miss both Jesse and Jordis Unga. It’s true that Jesse had a great voice, but it sounds like Christina was looking for people she could continue to work with going forward, and my guess is she thought she’d done all she could for him. While it is a competition, the coaches have all said more than once that they’re also concerned with being able to nurture talent.
- She may not have won this thing, but The Voice‘s Most Improved award goes to Team Christina’s Ashley de la Rosa. We really didn’t get to hear a lot of her in the beginning, but she busted out and became someone great by her exit. It was definitely the smartest decision yet for Christina to have saved her two weeks ago, because she changed a lot of opinions, Adam’s and mine included.
- I was surprised that Raelynn went home, but it only increased my respect for Blake as a coach. He didn’t pick the artist he had a soft spot for – he picked the one who gave the best performance Tuesday night. As it should be.
- Awkward moment of the week, part one: the audience warm-up guy decided to come over and interview me. While I chose not to ask to say hi to Adam (being that I was working and so was he), I did admit to being the honorary thirteenth member of Team Adam…which would have worked better if any of them had been sitting in the room next to me to support that claim. They were all in the Sprint Lounge. Whoops.
- (Sidebar: Besides, I ran into Adam’s tour manager and generally cool guy, Shawn Tellez, later on. I just asked him to tell Adam hello for me later. Shawn is a great guy, FYI, and I don’t think he gets enough credit which is why I’m mentioning him here.)
- Awkward moment of the week, part two: waiting to go back to the press room after taping, I was approached by a couple. The incredibly sweet woman told me I must be someone important since I was being interviewed. Um…
- Awkward moment of the week, part three: hearing from multiple people that they saw me last week on the local news. I still haven’t seen it.
- I got a bonus day working on The Voice this week as I had breakfast with the top 12 at NBC Universal’s summer press day. I’m minding my own business, eating my crepes, when I get group-hugged by Jamar Rogers, Juliet Simms and Mathai. I ended up getting hugged by almost everyone. That is an excellent way to start the day. I appreciate that I can spend time with the artists just as people…and that they’re happy to see me when I do.
- I want to give a particular shoutout to Jamar, who sat down with me and told me how he admires what I’ve accomplished. It was so lovely to hear that, especially from someone that I also think highly of. Those words stuck in my head all day. I wish that I had his positive energy. And I may have met his mom. I’m not really sure.
- Jermaine Paul informed me that Chris has pretty much taken over their shared bathroom.
- And I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty cool when I’m waiting for a Voice panel to start and Blake Shelton spots me and waves at me.
See? There was a lot going on this week! But I also learned something pretty important that I want to share with you, dear readers. Follow me over to page two…
As much fun as I have working on The Voice, and as neat as it is to be working on one of the biggest shows on television, that’s not why I do it. I’m there because I love music, I love these people, and I’m well aware of how these two things can change a life. It means something to me to be a part of that.
Some of you may have read my column from two weeks ago, where I addressed the spat over Twitter comments that were made about Raelynn. It was really a simple thing for me: it upset me to see her spoken of that way, and I wanted to say something about it. I also thought it was important to thank Blake for the fact that he said something about it. All I wanted to do was support an artist and her coach.
I didn’t expect that the column would catch on pretty quickly. It started what I think is an important discussion about internet etiquette, which was good. But more importantly I had people come to me and thank me for saying something, and sharing their own feelings about the issue. I found out that I gave a voice (pardon the pun) to many other people’s feelings. To be able to affect other people in that way was very gratifying and humbling to me.
And then came Tuesday night, when I found out just how big those words I wrote have become. I’ve gotten to know Blake fairly well since working on the show; I’ve spent time with him just about as many times as I’ve gotten to talk to Adam. Even so I was floored when he came into the press room and decided to come talk to me first. At the end of our interview we spoke about that column. I was touched by the compliments he gave me. Before he left we hugged and he told me “I love you.” And then my brain exploded.
That wasn’t even the end of it: on my drive home, I got a call from Blake’s publicist, who is one of the people I truly love working with. She mentioned to me that Blake’s wife, Miranda Lambert, was backstage that night and she’d said that she had also read that column.
To realize that I could write something that touched quite a few people, something that reached someone as big as Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, is an incredible honor and exactly why I do what I do. I touched the lives of two people I look up to. I’m still having a hard time believing it.
I’m in this job because I’ve been affected by so many people that have been a part of The Voice. I’m very blessed to say that I have earned the respect of Blake and Adam over my time on the show. I can’t explain what it’s like to realize that not only have I met two fantastic people, but that they appreciate me. That mutual respect and affection, particularly from Adam, who is the person that I look up to more than any other, is the biggest honor I’ve ever received in my life. I know that my hero not only knows me, but sees me for who I really am, and likes that person. And so does another of his pretty fantastic colleagues.
Every day I’m a better person because of the things I have learned from spending time with these artists and their coaches, and more importantly, the friendships I’ve made in that time. Those are things that are going to last well beyond who is named “The Voice.” And that’s what matters the most.