Because the Pipsters asked nicely for it…here’s my blog on how I became not just a Pipster, but a The Voice fan, and how that’s changed my life. The abbreviated version, because the long version goes over two years and has more awesome stories than I can fit in here.
For the last two years, I’ve had a recurring dream that I’m on The Voice. I think my subconscious has had me do everything except win the show. There’s one dream in particular that stuck with me during this past season: where Adam Levine and the semifinalists of Team Adam invited me to participate in their group performance, because I was part of the team and they wanted me there. There is a dream sequence in which I am singing Maroon 5‘s “Runaway” on the same stage with Adam Levine on national television. I am fairly sure that will never happen, but the sentiment underneath it is genuine, and probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever been a part of.
Thanks to my “day job” as an entertainment journalist, I’ve had a level of access to The Voice that other fans don’t. I’ve been in the studio and backstage, and I’ve gotten to talk with almost all of the artists and coaches. But the show has never been just a job to me; it’s been a journey that I have shared with some wonderful people – people who are now some of my best friends and as close as I have to family.
Let me take a sidebar to put this into context for you: for many (I would hazard most) journalists, things stay fairly impersonal. I heard several other people who were on the Voice press line talking about how they did not even have an interest in what the contestants had to say. That is their prerogative, I suppose. I am not that person (and I will never be that person). I’ve always tried to get to know everyone I interview. As you can imagine, after months of interviews, live shows, and some shenanigans, I got to know the Voice folks pretty well. And I’m glad I did, because they are some of the best people that I know. People that made it so much more than just a job or a TV show for me.
There are so many stories that I could tell you. It starts with Adam, who when he sees me will always take the time to come over, pull me into a hug, and ask after me. There’s Blake Shelton, who always makes me laugh (like when he got tired of my Team Adam T-shirt so he had his people send me a Team Blake one). I remember season one champ Javier Colon staying after the finale to do his interview with me even though there was a victory party waiting for him. Moving into season two, there’s Chris Mann, who when the artists were being forced to get off the red carpet before I could interview them, still stopped and hugged me and apologized for not being able to stay. Or Jamar Rogers, who’s been one of my biggest fans and never let me forget it. Or I’ll never forget the moment at an NBC breakfast when I was just minding my own business with my crepe when Jamar, Cheesa and Juliet Simms walked in and gave me a massive group hug, leading everyone else in the room to stare at me and wonder why I was so important. I’ve got at least one story about almost everyone who’s been a part of the show, from the coaches to the artists and even the camera dudes, because they are all such great people. (I’m going to have to follow Jamar’s advice and write a book someday.)
And this is real friendship, folks. These people have been here for me when real trouble has come looking for me. The first time I met Adam, I was going into the hospital just days later. When he saw me on the red carpet the following week, he stopped in the middle of an interview and walked over, pulled me into a hug and asked if everything was okay. When I got choked up telling him about it, he stayed there with me until I was all right. On the night of the season two finale, my doctor emailed to tell me that I needed more surgery, and I was crushed..so I went to the After Party in Hermosa Beach and the warm reception I got from Pip, Justin Hopkins, Nathan Parrett and everyone else made me feel so much better. They reminded me that whatever I faced then, and whatever comes my way now, I’ve got a whole Voice family behind me.
Which brings me to what is my favorite accomplishment in my entire career: that I have been named the official “extra man” for Team Adam. Jeff Jenkins named me the ninth member in season one, Katrina Parker bestowed that honor on me in season two, and I take that as high praise. It means that I belong as part of this amazing, beautiful, wonderful group of people, which is exactly where I want to be. And I take it seriously: I do my best to support them, because who wouldn’t want to? When you’re with these people, doing the crazy things we’ve done, who wouldn’t want to enjoy every fantastic moment? I’m priveleged to be the person they let come along for the ride. Now, if I could just get onto that Voice stage someday…