Chapter 653 Countdown to the recording!
Two days later.
The second round of preliminary auditions began.
"Contestant No. 1, please come forward."
"You may begin singing now."
"Stop, that will do. Sorry, but you did not qualify for the next round."
The contestants came into the audition venue one by one. Most of them could not qualify for the next round. Only a few people passed Zhang Ye's strict criteria, but the program team staff still didn't think too highly of them. They knew that Zhang Ye's appreciation of aesthetics and selection criteria were different, so they did not say anything. Basically, the more they thought that a contestant was not up to mark, the more Zhang Ye liked them; while the more they liked a contestant, the more Zhang Ye had his doubts. They were basically at odds with him on this matter.
At this time, the 28th contestant was being called in for her audition.
From outside, a young and glamorous woman walked through the door. She was dressed in western fashion and looked very confident. From the way she moved, it was obvious she carried herself quite well.
The eyes of the program team staff lighted up, but immediately turned to sighs.
Ha Qiqi scanned her over. "Please introduce yourself."
The young woman said in a crisp and clear voice, "Hello, teachers. My name is Yuan Tong and I'm 24 years old. My occupation is...I guess you can say that I'm a white collar worker."
"White collar?" Ha Qiqi repeated.
Yuan Tong said, "Yes, I work at my parent's company."
An affluent second generation?1
Ha Qiqi said, "Alright, you may begin now."
Yuan Tong smiled and said, "Then I will be performing 'Blooming.'"
Da, da. Yuan Tong was lightly snapping her fingers to create a rhythm. After a few beats, she started to sing softly and her beautiful voice resonated.
"Flowers bloom on the windowsill.
"But you aren't here.
"Remembering that spring, when you were still beside me.
"These petals and your smiling face."
With a sudden change from her soft singing, she launched into a soprano!
"The flowers have bloomed!
"But I'm crying!"
She could reach a very high pitch and still have her singing sound full without much vibrato in her voice. Her lung capacity was also very good as she held the notes for a long time without fading, so that was something worth mentioning.
The song ended.
Yuan Tong bowed and then said, "I've finished performing."
Ha Qiqi also felt that she was really good. She was beautiful, had a good aura, and sang well, but regrettably, she had come to the wrong place because their executive director was unlike other people. If this were a different program, the producers would definitely be fighting for her to be on their show. Unfortunately, their executive director preferred those who didn't look good, had vocal "deficiencies," and worked low-level jobs. Hai, what a waste of a promising contestant.
As a result, Ha Qiqi said, "I'm sorry, you did not meet our requirements."
Yuan Tong was a little surprised.
The other staff members of the program team already understood what made Zhang Ye tick. They knew that if it were someone they fancied to be good, Zhang Ye would definitely not bat an eyelid at them. Wu Yi also said, "Please go back."
Helpless, Yuan Tong could only reply, "Thank you, teachers."
But this time, Zhang Ye was dumbfounded. "Please go back for what?"
Ha Qiqi looked at him stunned. "Ah?"
Wu Yi and the others also stared blankly at him.
Zhang Ye was baffled, so he asked, "This contestant sang very well, so what's there to question? Of course she has qualified, what do you all mean by not meeting the requirements? What kind of standard do you all have!" He even sounded a little angry at them. This bro had it so difficult trying to make this program work, yet you guys weren't only not helping me, but instead making me even busier?
When Ha Qiqi and the others heard that, they nearly vomited blood!
Didn't you dislike such contestants? Why did your attitude suddenly do a 180?
Ha Qiqi said, "Then what about Chang Si from before..."
Zhang Ye remarked, "Which Chang Si? Oh, I remember. That contestant didn't hold a high pitch stabler than her and is also not as beautiful as her. We definitely need more focus on good-looking contestants who can also sing well. How did it end up with you all trying to eliminate her?" Then he turned to the young woman and said, "You've qualified for the next round."
This was the contestant Zhang Ye was most satisfied with today, although her singing wasn't exactly the best. But it was still considered quite outstanding already. At least compared to the train driver of the four "wonders," her singing was a bit better. The key here was that she was also very beautiful and good-looking, so that too naturally qualified her as a key contestant!
Yuan Tong was so delighted it showed. "Thank you, Teacher Zhang. Can I also make a small request?"
"What is it?" Zhang Ye asked.
Yuan Tong said, "I would like your autograph. The two songs you wrote for Teacher Zhang Yuanqi have always been my favorite songs. I play them on repeat every day."
"Hur hur, that's great." Zhang Ye did not say anything and just have her his autograph.
Ha Qiqi and the others looked at each other. They finally understood that their auditions were never based on fundamentals or criteria, that there were no rules for whether a contestant performed below standard in this area or did well in another area. Whether they qualified or not, was all down to the executive director alone. If Zhang Ye said they met the requirements, then they met the requirements. If he said they weren't up to standard, then they weren't up to standard! Ai, in meeting such an executive director, this was as difficult as it could get.
Everyone on the program team thought that Zhang Ye chose the contestants based on his mood, but in fact, that was not true. They had arrived at such a conclusion simply because Zhang Ye had a different way of looking at things than them. Ha Qiqi and the others were not exactly professionals in the field of music and could only be considered observers. They were only looking for someone who, ideally, was good-looking. Or they liked a performance because of their own subjective tastes, while those music professionals who had been asked to leave were all looking at singing skills or if the contestants were from a performing arts college. But they were too traditional in their judgment of a voice and could not accept voices that sounded new or odd to them.
It could be said that these two groups both had their limitations.
Compared to them, Zhang Ye looked for something much complexer. When judging a contestant, he was looking for their overall qualities, whether they could sing well or not, uniqueness of voice, whether their occupations were worth hyping, and even if the contestants could become subjects of conversation. These were all the factors Zhang Ye was considering. He rejected good looks? Who said so! If the contestant could sing well, had an extremely unique voice, and was especially beautiful, only an idiot would reject her! It's not like you could find such a contestant if you went out to specifically look for one, so why wouldn't she qualify?!
Half a day passed.
The second round of preliminary auditions ended.
Zhang Ye inquired, "It looks like several of the candidates we picked as potential contestants did not turn up? Why didn't I see them?" There were a few candidates whom he was rather looking forward to meeting based on their demos.
Ha Qiqi answered, "They did not come. There's one who needs to go to school and does not have free time, while another one needs to work overtime. Although I did mention that our program team would reimburse the cost of her return flight, the entire trip and audition would still take two days minimum. She probably feels that her work is more important and did not want to risk taking time off, since she might end up getting rejected by us as well as losing her job. Her boss at her workplace must be a really difficult person to deal with."
They were finally seated in front of the computer again, sorting through all the demos that were emailed to them. The number of applications was getting increasingly higher by the day, but the quality of the candidates was not as uniform as the increase. There were hardly any good ones.
Zhang Ye thought for a long while before finally deciding to change the way the auditions were held. He would hold the auditions just like how the original The Voice of his previous world held them. "Sister Qi, how about this? Tomorrow, we will hold one more round of preliminary auditions here. Then after that you will choose some staff members and send them to various key cities in the country to carry out the additional preliminary auditions. If there isn't enough manpower, we can hold the preliminary auditions one at a time in each city, otherwise we will hold them simultaneously across several cities."
Ha Qiqi was taken aback by this suggestion. "Won't that cost a lot of money? If we need to mobilize an entire team, the hotel accommodations, audition venues, equipment, and publicity will all cost money."
Zhang Ye said, "I'll allocate 5 million to you first. Will that be enough?"
Ha Qiqi suddenly became more spirited and she readily agreed, "Sure!"
See, money talks!
They had seemingly forgotten that their program had a production budget of over 100 million and was unlike the other talent shows on rival satellite channel stations that scrimped and saved on every penny. The Voice did not want for money at all!
Wu Yi said worriedly, "Director Zhang, if we expand the auditions to cover so many places, then without you leading the selection, how will we know which contestants qualify?"
Zhang Ye delegated his authority and replied, "As long as you all find them to be good, just send them my way. Those contestants I previously approved are all going to be the seeded contestants and the ones I like best. They are the red flowers of our show, but the only reason they can be that is because they will have some green leaves to make them stand out. So I want to reassure everyone a little here. Don't worry too much about who is good or bad, as long as you all unanimously agree they are good, send them my way. We'll sort them out after we know the number of contestants who passed."
Those words reassured the team a lot. If they really had to apply Zhang Ye's selection criteria in choosing the contestants, they wouldn't know how to judge at all, since no one understood his selection criteria.
Zhang Ye asked, "Have you already found the music arrangement teachers?"
Ha Qiqi nodded. "Director Jiang has arranged for two music arrangement teachers and a band to be transferred to our program team, but there won't be a music director or music consultants due to that day's inci..."
Zhang Ye understood. "There's no need for a music director. It will only be more troublesome with them around. We only need the music arrangers. Regarding the already qualified contestants, inform the music arrangement teachers to start helping them with their song arrangements today. Otherwise, once the number of qualified contestants increase, they will become too busy. For those seeded contestants I mentioned, I want to spare no effort when it comes to their arrangements. They must be done to perfection. As for the non-seeded contestants, of course we will still do our best for them, but make the appropriate adjustments."
Ha Qiqi said, "I understand."
Zhang Zuo came over from the other side. "Director Zhang, all the new equipment has been delivered."
Zhang Ye immediately brought everyone to the recording studio and had a look around. Then he said to Zhang Zuo, "Has the design for the custom chairs been confirmed yet?"
Zhang Zuo replied, "We've already placed an order. I've also hounded the workshop for progress. They are currently rushing the job, but because this design has a certain degree of difficulty to make, they told us it would take half a month at the quickest."
"How about the stage?" Zhang Ye looked to the stage which was piled with construction materials.
Zhang Zuo answered, "We are setting it up according to your request. We started working on it yesterday. As for the contestants' waiting area and the second studio, the workers have also started work on it."
Zhang Ye urged, "Hurry up. Try to get it done as soon as possible."
Zhang Zuo said, "I understand, I'll get them to hurry."
"How about the website?" Zhang Ye asked.
The staff member who was in charge of the website details immediately answered, "Director Zhang, the website has been completed after we worked on it overnight, The latest news, promotional news, and other related information can be added onto the website at anytime."
"Well done." Zhang Ye said, "Have we contacted the Publicity Department yet?"
A female editor responded, "I've already contacted them. Central TV Department 1 will allocate a total of 75 seconds of promotional airtime to us. How we use this 75 seconds is up to us, but other than the weekend primetime slots, we are free to choose whichever time we want to air it."
Zhang Ye nodded. "Then we will make them 15 seconds each. Each of the four coaches will record a video clip. We'll also do a group promo with them."
Every aspect of the program's production was progressing very quickly and already put into motion.
As of now, the countdown to the recording had already began!