Last December, the finale of The Voice Thailand was a battle between four male contestants, two of them teenage luk thung crooners. Ultimately, it was 16-year-old Tanont Chamroen who surged past the others to win the title of the hugely popular TV show.
The Blind Audition of The Voice Kids begins on April 27, on Channel 3, from 5.45pm.
Now they'll bring the age down a little further. Premiering this Saturday on Channel 3, The Voice Kids will commence its search for younger talents _ from seven to 14 _ who hope that their singing prowess can get the coaches to push the coveted button in the show's iconic Blind Audition.
Experience from doing the adult version, however, doesn't make it easier for Ardkit Suntornwat in producing the new show, which is based on the Dutch TV format released last year following the global success of The Voice franchise.
"In fact it's more difficult than dealing with adult contestants. We can't view The Voice Kids as just another TV singing contest. It's a children's programme, and we have to be sensitive and careful about producing the show, which includes managing the young contestants and their families," said Ardkit, who has a doctor helping him in supporting the children when they don't get through to the next round.
He also had the tough job finding a trio of compassionate coaches, the element of the show that's sometimes more attractive to viewers than the singers themselves. Ardkit has opted for three well-known singers: Thanaporn "Parn" Nagprayoon, Popetorn "Two" Soonthornyanakij and Niparporn "Zani" Thitithanakarn.
Their first task was to sit on those big red revolving chairs and listen to over 100 voices during the Blind Audition in order to pick 15 for their team.
"Without seeing them and only listening to their voices, I can hear how hard they tried to get us pushing the button. I chose my team members from their pure voices, and as a coach, I won't be changing their singing nature," said Parn. "The blind audition put both contestants and coaches under pressure. It became more fun though when we coaches started selling ourselves, and then I had to try really hard to tempt a kid into my team."
The TV audience gets to see an edited broadcast of the Blind Audition, which will be followed by the gripping Battle Round that has the coaches eliminating 10 members of their team. With each team left with five contestants, only two get through the Sing Off round to the Live Round, which involves the coaches and a popular vote from the TV audience in determining the winner of The Voice Kids.
The Blind Audition had coach Two catching amazing voices, and he was surprised that Thailand has so many talented youngsters singing various genres.
"It's not only about what you hear but also how you feel about that voice, and you can't think that there will be a better voice coming up next," he said.
"What amazed me most was that the kids weren't just singing, but expressing feelings and narrating stories and that moved me to hit my button."
Two enjoys working with children, and his coaching approach is to build confidence and reassure his little team members to be themselves and be happy when singing on stage.
Coach Zani followed her aural instincts when it comes to recruiting junior crooners into her team.
"What's interesting about the Blind Audition is what makes a coach push the button. For me, it may not be hearing a singing powerhouse, and I wanted unique voices with a natural charm," said Zani, the champion of True Academy Fantasia season 6.
"All the kids are gifted but only one can be the winner. My best advice to them is to relax when on stage, and that makes them sing their best."
Zani, Parn and Two are all ears and ready to push the buttons on their big red revolving chairs.
About the author
- Writer: Kanokporn Chanasongkram