Nikos Aliagas waits for a phone call with a hint of apprehension in his stomach. This Sunday, February 26, 2012 in the morning, the bells finally ring. Fabrice Bailly, TF1’s program director, is on the other end of the phone. Impossible to say what were the words exchanged but, that day, the only thing that mattered was a number: 9.1 million. The number of viewers who watched the very first episode of The Voice broadcast the night before.
“It was above ground,” remembers Fabrice Bailly. 37.9% of people in front of their small screen on Saturday were there on the first channel. An almost unexpected crowd. “At the time, it was said that telecrochets were no longer in fashion, remembers Nikos. We were trying to extrapolate people’s reaction: would they understand the chairs that turn around? The answer is in the affirmative: the famous blind auditions are moreover the favorite stage of the faithful of the show, adapted from a Dutch concept, imagined by John – Mr. Endemol – de Mol: The Voice of Holland.
Over 10 million albums sold
Ten seasons later, the French version of the telecrochet remains one of the leading figures of the TF1 program schedule. The audiences are no longer those of the beginnings but the musical competition remains a sure value: the tenth season, broadcast this spring, gathered an average of 5.3 million people over fifteen evenings for an audience share of 25%.
In addition to this television success, The Voice has shaped a whole part of the current musical landscape. Kendji Girac, Louane, Amir, Slimane, Jérémy Frérot, Flo Delavega, Claudio Capéo, Camille Lellouche thus went through the show. In total, they represent more than 10 million albums sold … Some have shone, with more or less brilliance, at Eurovision: Amir, finished 6th in 2016 and Bilal Hassani, 16th in 2019, while Gjon’s Tears came third this year for Switzerland. Valentina, seen in The Voice Kids, meanwhile won the Eurovision Junior 2020. According to a poll commissioned by TF1, 73% of (716) people questioned believe that The Voice is at the origin of many careers.
This honor roll should not make us forget that Stéphan Rizon or Yoann Freejay, winners of the first two seasons, have disappeared from the radar. Nor that Maëlle, Whitney, Abi Bernadoth or Marghe, the latest laureates to date, are still waiting to confirm with real popular success. Others, who have gone far in the show, like Louis Delort, Al. Hy or Olympe, have not made the career seemingly reaching out to them.
The Voice don’t mute those caveats. On the contrary, they are at the heart of the “all stars” edition launched this Saturday on TF1. Former participants return for blind auditions. There is nothing to gain, neither contract with a record company, nor jackpot with multiple zeros. The challenge is to come back into the spotlight, to tell about the ups and downs, the successes and the disappointments. The atmosphere is not bitter or lamentable.
There is who has been showing in musicals, who has obtained three platinum records on the medieval niche, who joined a show of Jean Paul Gaultier, who made a career in Lebanon, who preferred to go green to take a step back … Over the episodes, The Voice All Stars shows another side of what it means to make music in France today. And underlines that the artist’s status and fulfillment are not necessarily indexed on the number of TV appearances or appearances on magazine covers. A pragmatism in reverse of the telecrochets of before, these star Academy, New star Where X Factor, who stirred up dreams of fame by suggesting that anyone can “become a star”.
“We said we would meet in ten years” will sing, in tune, the coaches at the opening of this anniversary season of The Voice. The place of great men by Patrick Bruel sets the tone: this will be an opportunity to hear from some fifty candidates and candidates, to give them “And you, what are you doing?” “
The faithful of the program will have the impression of leafing through an album of memories, will find familiar faces, will unearth the emotions of yesterday. The assembly, particularly successful, will operate back and forth from one year to the next. Along the way, we will measure how much The Voice was in tune with the times and how much he contributed to the musical tunes of our time.