Chapter 670: A Four-chair Turn!
Translator: Legge Editor: Legge
The atmosphere in the studio was fervent.
An advertising message had brought the excitement of the audience to a high!
“That mouth of his, it’s ridiculous!”
“Zhang Ye has always walked off the beaten path!”
“I’m increasingly looking forward to the competition segment coming up.”
“Me too, this opening was really awesome. The stage, the lights, the coaches, the opening theme and even the advertising message. It looks like it has taken a lead several years ahead of other similar shows. If the opening was already this stunning, then how bad could the competition round be? Even if there aren’t any highlights in the competition round, even if it’s the same as those other similar programs, The Voice’s viewership ratings won’t be too bad!”
“We were really lucky to get tickets to come watch this live!”
“It’s still difficult to make any judgment on anything yet.”
“Yeah, let’s keep watching and see.”
“The Voice’s Achilles heel lies in its quality of contestants. They neither care about looks nor occupation, so the contestants might all turn out to be your everyday people, which can also be referred to as karaoke experts. Their level of professionalism will surely be lower since they wouldn’t have learned about music before. Even if they can sing well, they wouldn’t be comparable to those music students or musicians. In the other similar types of talent shows, the contestants are basically all made up of good-looking people or artists; there’s a great deal of professionalism in them. The Voice’s contestants are definitely disadvantaged in this area and that is definitely going to be the Achilles heel of the program.”
“I worry about that too.”
“Yeah, how can amateurs even compare to professionals? Not to mention that they won’t have the advantage in looks either.”
“It’s starting, it’s starting!”
The audience was whispering when they saw Zhang Ye picking up the microphone again and so they focused on him.
Zhang Ye did not beat around the bush and just said loudly, “Next up, we’ll be handing the stage over to them, so let’s welcome our first contestant on stage! And would the four coaches please turn your chairs around.”
The four chairs moved at the same time, turning around slowly.
Fan Wenli felt that this was a very refreshing new experience, so she turned to Zhang Yuanqi beside her and spoke about it softly.
When the audience saw that, many of them were shocked!
“What’s the meaning of that?”
“What are they doing?”
“Why did they turn the chairs around? They won’t be able to see anyone then!”
“Yeah, what kind of an approach is that?”
“Didn’t you all see the promo video of The Voice? It’s already introduced the rules. The coaches will only listen to the voice without seeing the contestant. That’s the main point of the program which has been heavily emphasized.”
“Didn’t the coaches already meet the contestants earlier?”
“I heard they did not. When Grandma Zhang Xia was interviewed the other day to promote of The Voice, she was grumbling about this matter. She said that Executive Director Zhang Ye didn’t even reveal anything about any contestants to them beforehand. It was all kept secret, so all four coaches haven’t seen even a shadow of the contestants yet.”
“Then it must be true. Grandma Zhang Xia would never lie.”
“Whoa, they’re playing it with such high risks?”
“That seems rather interesting. Revolving chairs? It sounds really refreshing!”
“They’ve got my attention again. This setup seems to be really interesting, but I wonder how practical it will be.”
Zhang Ye left the stage.
Little Wang immediately broke open the cap of a mineral water bottle and handed it over to Zhang Ye. She said, “Director Zhang, you’ve worked hard!”
Another female editor who was beside them also said, “You’ve worked hard, Director Zhang.”
Zhang Ye chugged half a bottle of water immediately. Those two advertising messages might have seemed easy to him initially, but when he recited them, they really strained his vocal chords. He said, “You guys keep watch over here, I have to get to the second recording studio.” He put down the mineral water and quickly headed backstage to the second recording studio. Actually, this was just the contestants’ resting and waiting area backstage. There were a few individual rooms on one side where the live signal of the recording would be telecast over. The performing contestant’s family would be stationed in the second recording studio while Zhang Ye, as the host, would also have some recording tasks to handle over here. He would be watching together with the contestant’s family members.
Three minutes passed.
After the stage was rearranged simply, the lights shut off. This signaled that the competition round was about to begin. When watching this on the televised broadcast, after Zhang Ye called for everyone to welcome the first contestant, the contestant would have already taken the microphone and slowly walked up on stage. But as this was the live recording, the change wouldn’t be that immediate since they needed to make preparations.
The lights were being turned off, extinguishing one by one.
Assistant Director Zhang Zuo’s voice boomed in the studio, “Get ready! Counting down. In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, cameras on. First contestant, please proceed onto the stage!”
At the backstage entrance.
Luo Yu’s legs were trembling as she clutched her chest, breathing nervously. She felt like her body was extremely rigid at this moment.
Ha Qiqi urged, “Teacher Luo, go on.”
Luo Yu said with her legs turning to jelly, “Why don’t we get someone else to go up first. I still need to warm up a little more!”
Ha Qiqi nearly fainted. She said, “Director Zhang has clearly fingered you as the first to start. He said that the opening contestant of The Voice was you to begin with and was fully trusting of you.”
“But there’s too many people out there and also the four coaches…” Luo Yu was usually a very brave person, even daring to sing while standing in a big field. When she went for the Central TV preliminary auditions, she also performed quite well and was very calm. However, that was only because there weren’t many people around. But now? Past the stage there were more than a hundred audience members sitting there, and also those big-time celebrities like Zhang Yuanqi and Fan Wenli whom she had only ever read about on the newspapers. There were even cameras that would record everything and broadcast it all over the country. Central TV Department 1 had a coverage of 1 billion people all over the country, thus, just before going on stage, Luo Yu felt very terrified for once.
Ha Qiqi persuaded, “You have to go up on stage whether you’re the first or the last. Just clench your teeth and go up, it’s no big deal.”
Luo Yu was already sweating profusely.
Sensing that something was wrong, Wu Yi also came over. “Little Luo, hurry up, it’s all on you!”
Luo Yu asked, “Do you guys think I can make it? What if I screw up? Then…”
Ha Qiqi said, “Director Zhang’s foresight is very good. I’m sure you know that as well, don’t you? If he says you can make it, then you’ll definitely be fine! Otherwise, why would Director Zhang arrange for you to be the first to go on stage? Just sing like you normally do, don’t hold back and don’t think of anything else!”
Luo Yu took another deep breath and clenched her teeth. “OK! I’m going to give it my all!”
“That’s right!” Ha Qiqi pushed her from behind. “Go on! We’re all going to be listening to what you’ve got!”
Luo Yu picked up the microphone and clenched her fist. She walked towards the stage with large strides with the wind blowing behind her. Then she stepped up to the center of the stage where the spotlight was focused and stood still!
The four coaches’ chairs were all facing away from her. She could not see anyone. All she saw were the names on the backs of the chairs. As the light on stage was too glaring, the house where the audience was seated also appeared to be very dark. Now that Luo Yu couldn’t see anything at all, she became much calmer and thumped her chest. She was going to give it her all!
After Luo Yu had gone onto the stage, Wu Yi asked, “Will Little Luo really be alright?”
Ha Qiqi replied, “How would I know?”
Wu Yi said, “I’m just worried that the audience won’t be able to accept that voice of hers.”
Ha Qiqi said worried, “It’s not even a confirmed thing that the four coaches can accept her style of singing. If it were up to me, I would have gotten the coaches’ input when we were doing the filtering out of the contestants. What if Director Zhang feels that they are OK, but the audience and the coaches do not think so? If the coaches do not turn around continuously for a few contestants in a row, our program will be finished!”
Only a moment ago, these two people were encouraging Luo Yu and cheering her on, telling her that she could definitely do it and that they were extremely confident in her. But realistically, these two did not even know what to expect!
The moment Luo Yu went up on stage, the audience perfunctorily applauded but stopped very quickly. Seeing this contestant, the audience were all feeling speechless.
“Indeed, they did not care about the looks!”
“Goddammit, she’s so fat?”
“At the beginning, I still thought that the idea of only judging the voice was a gimmick. Who knew that they really did not care about looks at all? That person looks too normal!”
“Such a fat woman, will she be able to sing well?”
“The image is so beautiful that I’m scared to watch!”
The audience was still in anticipation just a while ago, but when they saw the first contestant, their hearts turned cold and their passionate emotions, too, settled down by a lot. It wasn’t that they were judging someone based on their looks, but that all along in any singing talent show they had always been used to seeing good-looking contestants. But now, unexpectedly, such a bad-looking and fat contestant had appeared before them; they couldn’t get used to it! This was not something they’d experienced before!
The four coaches were facing the audience, so they naturally also took in the expressions on their faces.
Zhang Yuanqi smiled and said, “Doesn’t look too good, does it?”
“I don’t know.” Chen Guang blinked several times.
Fan Wenli also deduced from the reaction of the audience that the first contestant was likely not too good.
But right at this moment that was difficult to understand, Luo Yu turned around and nodded her head, signaling that she was ready. Then at the same time a fervent piece of music played onstage.
Just from the melody alone, everyone knew it was going to be a rock song!
When the audience heard that, they were a little stunned. What was the meaning of this? This fat woman was going to perform a rock song? Everyone knew that rock songs were mainly performed by male singers as they required a kind of attitude and strength a woman sometimes lacked. Most of the time, they would only be able to perform in style but not in spirit! Yet here she was, going to perform a rock song? How bold!
Jiang Yuan looked at the stage with suspicion.
Ha Qiqi and Wu Yi looked like they were even more nervous than Luo Yu, staring at her without batting an eyelid.
The other program team staff members also knew about Luo Yu’s name. On the first day of the preliminary auditions, they had already given nicknames to the contestants. Luo Yu was one of the members of the four “wonders,” and as the preliminary auditions progressed, the number of “wonders” who joined them also increased. From the start, it was the four “wonders” which later increased into the eight “wonders.” The program staff team did not know what to expect. They weren’t sure if everyone could accept this sort of odd voice. Little Wang even kept her eyes closed as she was too afraid to watch.
What if she turned out to be a dud?
What if none of the coaches turned around?
Everyone in the program team had such lingering thoughts which wouldn’t go away!
However, the music entered into a rhythm. Now that it had reached this stage, there was no point in thinking anymore. All they could do was pray, pray that Director Zhang was right!
When the guitar part of the intro was ending, Luo Yu suddenly opened her eyes!
After she drew in a deep breath, Luo Yu’s raspy, high-pitched voice burst out. Without preparation or progressive increase, her opening was sung in an alto voice!
“Who told you I don’t understand lyrics, composing, or singing!
“Who told you I don’t understand comfort, laughter, or living!
“Who told you I don’t understand passion, women, or romance!
“Who told you I don’t understand restraint, flexibility, or smarts!”
When her singing started, the entire studio was filled with Luo Yu’s sharp and raspy voice. There was no smoothness, no elegance, and no low rumble to her voice. There was only power!
The power that was in a voice!
It was also the power of expressing her emotions!
The entire audience was shocked!
“What kind of a voice is that!”
“That voice, that power!”
“Oh my god, I’m breaking out in goosebumps!”
The four coaches’ eyes also glittered with astonishment. From the beginning until now, they had not had any contact with any contestants. With their backs to the stage, they were also looking forward to seeing the person behind the voice and had a preconceived idea of what a good voice should be like. But none of them expected the first contestant’s voice to be like that! It was too special! They had hardly ever heard a woman who could sing “Who Told You I Don’t Understand” in such a manner! This song was originally performed by a male singer, but after all this while, the raspy female voice was even more powerful sounding when performing it?
Luo Yu was already in the groove as her voice became more and more stable, sounding richer and richer.
“I’ve always been told I don’t understand pain, hurt, or blues!
“I’ve always been told I don’t understand anger, glares, or cruelty!
“I’ve always been told I don’t understand friendship, brotherhood, or family!
“I’ve always been told I don’t understand dreams, ambition, or glory!”
Singing until here, a surprising turn of events took place!
Chen Guang could no longer just sit still. He raised up his hand excitedly and slammed it down on the red button without hesitation. Shua! The coach chair swung around!
The audience cheered in surprise!
“He turned around!”
“He turned, he turned!”
“This song is nice to listen to! It sounds beautiful!”
When Chen Guang saw Luo Yu on stage, he nodded firmly and raised his hand above his head, giving a thumbs up. He had an expression that did not look calm at all!
Zhang Yuanqi narrowed her eyes but did not move.
Fan Wenli looked over at Chen Guang, clenching her hand and loosening it again like she had some hesitations.
Zhang Xia closed her eyes and listened to the singing seriously, but did not move either.
Suddenly, Luo Yu reached the chorus. With the microphone in her hands, she stopped for a moment and then belted out the chorus:
“Who told you I can’t sing!”
After this line was sung, Fan Wenli no longer held back. She hit the red button!
A second coach had turned!
Immediately after that, as if at the same time as Fan Wenli, Zhang Xia suddenly opened her eyes she had kept tightly shut, and pressed the red button with determination, though not as quickly and hard as the others.
A third coach had turned around!
“Who told you I don’t understand living!
“Who told you I don’t understand romance!
“Who told you I’m not smart!
“Who told you I don’t know the blues!
“Who told you I can’t be cruel!
“Who told you I don’t understand family!
“Who told you I don’t know glory!”
At this moment, Zhang Yuanqi who was the only coach not to have turned around, smiled and said, “It’s you!” Pa! The chair swung around and faced the stage!
The audience was clapping nonstop!
Beside the stage.
Several of the program team’s staff were screaming like they had gone crazy!
“Little Wang! Quickly take a look!”
Little Wang was still covering her eyes, too afraid to look. “Tell me first, did any of the coaches turn around?”
Next to her, Sister Liu answered, “They did turn!”
Little Wang asked, “Ah? Really? How many of them turned?”
Sister Liu said excitedly, “All of them! The four coaches all turned around!”
Hearing that, Little Wang immediately opened her eyes in shock! They’d turned! They’d really all turned!