7 behind-the-scenes secrets of The Voice UK’s blind auditions

Ever wondered how the contestants pick their song? And how much gets edited out? Here's your inside look at the chair-spinning talent show

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Another week, another action-packed chair-spinning round of blind auditions on The Voice UK. And while we can see plenty of tear-jerking performances and backstage shenanigans on screen, there’s plenty of behind-the-scenes secrets the viewers might not be aware of.

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From unshown audition rounds to the reasons the judges are reluctant to turn, here’s exactly how the blind auditions work on The Voice UK.

The blind audition isn’t a contestant’s first audition

Like almost all talent shows on the box, the thousands of hopeful acts pining for a spot on The Voice have to be filtered down by a panel of producers. “There’s three audition stages before you even get to do the blind audition,” Team Tom contestant Charlie Drew told Radiotimes.com.

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Charlie Drew during his blind audition

And although the producers don’t face their chairs away from contestants, it’s still not the most stress-free experience ­– “There’s just a room with three people and they don’t give anything away [after you sing]. They just say ‘thank you, we’ll be in touch’,” says Drew.

Contestants have already performed in The Voice studio before they sing to the coaches

It’s never going to be easy for contestants to perform in front of an audience of 2,000 and behind Tom Jones, will.i.am, Jennifer Hudson, Gavin Rossdale. But luckily the singers have a feel for the studio by the time they’re singing for a place on a coaching team.

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All singers you see on screen take part in a rehearsal with the live band a week before their blind audition. The coaches aren’t present this preparation, but seeing as they face away from the contestant on the night, it’s a realistic try-out – minus the pressure of an audience of millions judging every note from their living rooms, of course.

The Contestants don’t just pick one song

Although the contestants hope to win over coaches with a tight one-minute-thirty performance, each singer actually has to put forward three choices to discuss with producers.

Once both decide on a song, the contestant is then passed on the Voice’s musical master, David Tench, to sort out exactly what the band will play. “He’s such a talented guy,” said Drew “David called me up and asked if they could make a few changes to my arrangement – it made the song so much better.”

A lot of the coach’s comments are edited out

Each audition session lasts three and a half hour, according to Gavin Rossdale, but this footage has to get whittled down to the just over an hour show we see. That means a lot of material is cut, especially the conversations between successful contestants and coaches.

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So, just how long do these chats go on for? “I reckon it’s probably about ten minutes after they turned,” says Drew. As we only see about four minutes of talk for each contestant, maths tells us we don’t see over half of what goes on.

The contestants can be waiting to sing for hours

Although contestants turn up to belt out one song, they could be waiting in the green room for several nail-biting hours. “If you’re on first then you’re only in there for half an hour, but I was in there for about six hours!” says Drew. “It’s a long wait!”

And just to add to the tension, the contestants have no idea when there time is to shine: “You don’t know when you’re going on – you don’t know the running order so at any moment it could be you,” explained Drew.

The ‘no button presses, no chair turn’ rule is even more brutal than you see on TV

You know those gruelling moments when a contestant fails to grab the attention of coaches and they’re forced to stand in front of four unturned chairs before escaping off stage? The ‘stand of shame’, as Gavin Rossdale has dubbed it, lasts a lot longer than you’d think.

“When they fail they’re left for what’s about a minute and a half and they’re just dying, dying. It really feels long,” explained the Bush frontman. And the wait beforehand isn’t any easier: “When they come out and sing they make them wait for the longest three minutes ever of their lives … [The show] really milks the drama.”

… But the coaches don’t turn for a good reason

It might seem heartless, but there are good reasons to why the coaches might ignore your cries of “press your button! They’re brilliant!”. Firstly, they probably can’t hear you from your sofa. Secondly, the economics of the show push the coaches into being meanies.

“There were eight sessions of blind auditions, three and a half hours each – about 29 hours of listening to singers,” Rossdale explained.

“Each session had about 2,000 people in the audience and they think you’re being really s****y and mean and deaf.

“But firstly, they can see them. And they’re only seeing one session. We’ve got seven other sessions. If we’ve got 60 spots to fill then yeah, bring them all, bring us your aunty. But picking 10 people over 29 hours…”

“It’s really difficult as people think you’re being unfair and really mean, when you’re trying to be really fair to somebody that comes out and gets it perfect.”

Yes, the numbers don’t lie: the coaches aren’t quite as mean as you first thought.

The Voice UK is on 8pm Saturdays, 8pm

Another week, another action-packed round of blind auditions on The Voice UK. And while we can see plenty of tear-jerking performances and backstage shenanigans on screen, there are also many behind-the-scenes secrets hidden away.

From unshown audition rounds, to the real reason the judges are reluctant to turn, here’s exactly how the blind auditions work on The Voice UK.

The blind audition isn’t a contestant’s first audition

Like almost all talent shows on the box, the thousands of hopeful acts pining for a spot in the final audition room have to be filtered down by a panel of producers. In fact, you’ve got to blast through three audition stages before you reach the blind audition, Team Tom contestant Charlie Drew told RadioTimes.com.

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Charlie Drew during his blind audition

And although the producers don’t face their chairs away from contestants, the preliminary auditions aren’t the most stress-free experience ­– “There’s just a room with three people and they don’t give anything away. They just say ‘thank you, we’ll be in touch’,” says Drew.

Contestants perform in The Voice studio before they sing to the coaches

It’s never going to be easy for contestants to sing for a record deal in front of an audience of 2,000 and behind Tom Jones, will.i.am, Jennifer Hudson and Gavin Rossdale. But luckily, the singers have a feel for the studio by the time they’re gunning to impress the coaches.

128136

All singers you see on screen take part in a rehearsal with the live band a week before their blind audition. The coaches aren’t present during this preparation, but seeing as they face away from the contestant on the night anyway, it’s quite a realistic try-out for the contestant – minus the mind-numbing pressure of a TV audience of millions judging every note from their living rooms, of course.

The Contestants don’t just pick one song

Although the contestants hope to win over coaches with a single one-minute-thirty performance, each singer actually has to put forward three song choices to discuss with producers.

Once both producers and contestant decide on a song, the singer is then passed on to The Voice’s master of music, David Tench, to sort out exactly what the band will play. “He’s such a talented guy,” said Drew. “David called me up and asked if they could make a few changes to my arrangement – it made the song so much better.”

A lot of the coach’s comments are edited out

Each audition filming session lasts three and a half hours, according to Gavin Rossdale, but this footage has to get whittled down to the just-over-an-hour show we see. That means a lot of material is cut, especially the conversations between successful contestants and coaches.

128138

So, just how long do these chats go on for? “I reckon it’s probably about ten minutes after they turned,” says Drew.

As we only see about four minutes of talk for each contestant on screen, maths tells us we don’t see over half of what goes on. That’s potentially a whole lot of prime J-Hud sass we’re missing.

The contestants can be waiting to sing for hours

Although contestants turn up to belt out one song, they could be waiting backstage for several nail-biting hours. “If you’re on first then you’re only in there for half an hour, but I was in there for about six hours!” says Drew. “It’s a long wait!”

And just to add to the tension, the contestants have no idea when their time is to shine is: “You don’t know when you’re going on – you don’t know the running order so at any moment it could be you,” explained Drew.

The ‘no button presses, no chair turn’ rule is even more brutal than you see on TV

You know that gruelling moment when a contestant fails to grab the attention of the coaches and they’re forced to stand in front of four unturned chairs before escaping off stage? The ‘stand of shame’, as Gavin Rossdale has dubbed it, lasts a lot longer than you’d think.

“When they fail they’re left for what’s about a minute and a half and they’re just dying, dying. It really feels long,” explained the Bush frontman. And the wait beforehand isn’t any easier: “When they come out and sing they make them wait for the longest three minutes ever of their lives … [The show] really milks the drama.”

… But the coaches don’t turn for a good reason

It might seem heartless, but there are very good reasons why the coaches sometimes ignore your cries of “press your button, for god sake! They’re brilliant!”. Firstly, they probably can’t hear you from your sofa. Secondly, the economics of the show push the coaches into seeming like meanies.

“There were eight sessions of blind auditions, three and a half hours each – about 29 hours of listening to singers,” Rossdale explained.

“Each session had about 2,000 people in the audience and they think you’re being really s****y and mean and deaf.

“But firstly, they can see them. And they’re only seeing one session. We’ve got seven other sessions. If we’ve got 60 spots to fill then yeah, bring them all, bring us your aunty. But picking 10 people over 29 hours…”

“It’s really difficult as people think you’re being unfair and really mean, when you’re trying to be really fair to somebody that comes out and gets it perfect.”

Yes, the numbers don’t lie: the coaches aren’t quite as mean as you first thought.

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The Voice UK is on 8pm Saturdays, 8pm