Behind the scenes of “The Voice of Germany” in Berlin-Adlershof
Plastic chairs instead of sofa, artificial light instead of sunset, fasting instead of supper – my visit to film studio G in Berlin-Adlershof requires minor sacrifices. But that’s no problem for me, because I witness the recording of “The Voice of Germany”, Germany’s most recent casting show. Shame on you, if you think that I will sing there. I sit in the audience, approximately seven metres away from the jury, with celebrities such as Nena, The BossHoss, Ray Garvey and Xavier Naidoo.
But the chairs of the stars are still empty. First of all the audience is made fit for the broadcast. A pleasant so-called “Warm Upper” is in charge of that. He wants us to applaud, scream and stamp our feet. The only thing we aren’t allowed to do is wave in the cameras. The goal of this exercise? Our applause is recorded before the show. Even the standing ovations. And to avoid them to be too posed, he shows a big board with the number “3”. Now all those stand up who are born in the third quarter of the year. Spontaneity made in Berlin-Adlershof. “Now you have to look as if you had fun in doing this!” I cannot refrain from smiling.
30 minutes later we get the safety instructions: “If there is a fire, all those sitting in this section, please remain seated so that we can record this for the news!” Now we are ready for the show.
Open eyes for the blind auditions
Thore appears. Thore is the new, good looking presenter of “The Voice” and is quite nervous while tugging at his trousers. “Whoever you are, whatever you look like, it doesn’t matter!” he says into the camera and he continues to talk for the next 10 minutes because the presenters, too, are recorded in advance. I let the numbers speak during that time: 14,000 talents applied for the show in 2012 and a fraction made it to the blind auditions in Berlin. 150 titles were practised by the live band.
It’s actually 151 because with a medley of their hits, the stars now have their appearance. Elastically, relaxed and fluffily they rock the stage and take their seats. “We now make a stool test for the coaches”, our warm-upper says from the off. The pun makes people giggle. During that time Nena and Co. are turned in their chairs towards the stage and then again into the opposite direction. This must work because the jury is only allowed to first listen to the candidates.
The recording then follows a very simple scheme: singing – conclusion by the jury – short break – singing – conclusion by the jury – short break with nose powdering – singing – etc.! During the next two hours the make-up of the stars is renewed approximately six times.
Bloomers from “The Voice of Germany”
During this time I not only listen to the singing talents but also to the jury comments. Nena’s messages are catchy because she likes to repeat them. “You did not appeal to me!” and “I simply don’t like it!” are the alternating statements. The BossHoss are also quite outspoken: “Fucked up is fucked up!” The audience likes Xavier’s comments: “You have a very nice voice with a lot of male vibrations.” And the Irish singer Ray Garvey expresses his enthusiasm for a female artist with the words “Wow…and I am pleased to see it again, WOW!” which makes The BossHoss sum it up as “Bow-wow!”.
On the way home from the show I think about what I just experienced. The look behind the scenes was exciting, the long sitting on the plastic chair was a major effort. I felt quite emotional about talents with big hopes performing and leaving after sharp criticism. Would I be interested in such a brief moment in the limelight? I think of a slip of the tongue by Ray Garvey: “The fact that you can sing is completely out of the question!” And he is right. I am part of the audience. And there are enough programmes in Berlin-Adlershof!