The Voice audience complaint over marathon recordings

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 12.58.32 am.jpgAn interesting story in today’s Sunday Telegraph about marathon recordings reminds us shows should never overlook their loyal audience, especially those who have made an effort to attend.

An unnamed audience member attending The Voice told the newspaper the event took some 12 hours, that they were “herded like cattle” and given just “lollies and water.”

“We arrived at lunchtime and waited outside under a small shelter for six hours, even before we were allowed into the studio,” an audience member said.

“Once we were inside we then had to stand for a further six hours, which was a lot longer than we were led to believe.”

They claim they were told they could not leave.

“They were given lollies and water; it was hell. Some people were standing the whole time,” she said.

A spokesperson said the audience were loaded between 6.30 and 7.30pm, recording began at 8pm and ended at 11.30pm.

“There were seated and standing audiences for the Showdowns, so her reference to being in the mosh pit could have been correct. Certainly it is definitely not our policy to hold any audience if they wish to leave,” they said.

In television production some shows are recorded ‘As Live,’ meaning they endeavour to film everything in one go. But most do not, and should not be expected to when they have numerous factors to juggle from production demands, talent, safety and more.

Certainly the relationship is a delicate one. Productions need enthusiastic audiences to elicit the best outcome. Audiences are also attending a free performance, so it’s not unreasonable to fulfill an agreed role.

But while producers (and especially warm-up men) will beg you to stay, it’s not compulsory to remain for unreasonable periods.

In my experience of The Voice the recordings were very long, but audience members were not prohibited from leaving. I’ve attended other shows that fit that same description.

Given that someone has spoken to a newspaper about their concerns, it’s a good wake-up call that in this most collaborative industry, the audience should never be taken for granted.


  1. Boogie Howser

    If you’re turning up at lunchtime for a 6.30pm load, you don’t get to complain about the experience “taking twelve hours”.

  2. once-upon-a-time


    Sorry mate they ‘ would have seen you’ but made sure no one else did.

    I do wonder if many contributors were given any indication given during bookings or prior to entry, on the maximum,minimum or average length of these/previous sessions.

    For those who claim that there may have been an empty studio before the end if they could have left, seems strange because from where I view TV, especially with very obvious flexible continuity these days, all any production team would require at the most, would be aprox 1/2 hour of multiple angle shots of a full studio, and it is probably only the fear of even worse bad press that every body is in fact not told to bugger off, because you are not needed anymore., unless it require progressive audience participation ie DOND etc.

  3. once-upon-a-time

    Seems its to be treated like cattle in the studio, and necessary evils( viewers) on the marketing side of our TV screens, unfortunately both locations end up showing a whole lot of s…ty respect for viewers, and the saddest thing they get away with it, and unfortunately there is worse to come.

  4. The Price Is Right audiences used to get very annoyed, not just because of the long tapings, but because they weren’t chosen to “Come on down”. Having worked at Nine, I have been on the end of some very nasty unsportsmanlike comments.

  5. Before The Footy Show in the early 1990s Seven Sydney had a one hour NRL segment during the Melbourne-based Sportsworld program on Sunday morning. Seven had an audience call during the week and we’d phone and be told to be at Epping before 11AM. Wally Lewis, Roy Masters and Graham Hughes used to hold a barbie before the show and it was all you can eat snags in a roll. Yum yum. And because it was live to air I used to set the video back in Canberra to record and watch it closely when I arrived home to see if the camera caught me. Those were the days…

  6. I’ve attended many show tapings over the years, and The Voice Battlerounds this year were certainly the longest I’ve even been to – I was there around seven hours and only saw four performances, plus a musical guest performance. I left “early”. (The second longest would be Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope, whose “ask everything and edit down later” style resulted in excruciatingly long interviews)

  7. Personally I have only been to three recordings The Living Room and Studio 10, which were very intimate and fun, we had photos but no food or free gift at Studio 10 which was dissapointing but still very fun and we had air time too. I also attended Celebrity Splash which was very entertaining but there was a long wait at the Olympic Aquatic Centre, but we were luckily spotted and moved into the poolside seating which was right behind the celebrities, but we were never told we can’t leave and although it was close to 4 hours all together, it was quite fun. However one person did tell us that they had to sign forms and give them their social media info at The Voice, to ensure that they don’t release any info about the show, which I found quite weird.

  8. Some years ago I fell for one of Channel 7’s “come and see the taping of an exciting new show” adverts. Never again.

    Once we get in to the studio we learned that we were at the taping of a “funniest home videos” type program. Pity the cameras never captured my “get me out of here” face when panning across the studio audience. The show was an hour (i.e. 45 minutes) of airtime but the taping took over 3. Will never get those 3 hours back!

    And had a relative that went a to Deal Or No Deal taping. 12 hours to tape a week’s shows and just a few lollies to keep your sugar up for that amount of time.

    The glamour of television!

  9. bettestreep2008

    Doesn’t surprise me that the audience were given just lollies and water during a marathon recording.

    Do people understand that the four judges cost the network millions? All of them live overseas and would undoubtedly demand first class flights to and from recordings. They would also expect 5 star accomodation and heaps of other perks.

    The budget wouldn’t have much left to treat the audience with an ounce of respect.

    I don’t watch the show cos the promos emphasise the judges and the acts are barely acknowledged.

    The X Factor and AGT are the same. It’s all about the judges.

    Take a look at the woefully rating but superior SYTYCD. The dancers are the main thing and the judges and compere are merely there to move the show along.

  10. Went to a Studio 10 taping recently & I had a ball! Everyone was friendly & welcoming plus they had pizza & ice-cream! Then when filming ended, we were allowed to talk to the hosts & take photos, it was lots of fun, didn’t want to leave haha!

  11. Secret Squirrel

    I wonder how many people would be willing participants if they knew beforehand that recording would be 5-6 hours with a similar period in a holding pen? Surely they would’ve been advised to bring some food – you wouldn’t want to be diabetic.

    As for not being able to leave, I’m sure that was not exactly the situation but I’m equally sure that there would have been pressure and coercion for them to remain. A younger or less assertive person might not have felt comfortable exercising their rights in the company of, er… overly enthusiastic production staff.

  12. Well it can’t be The Voice’s fault if you get there way earlier then it says on the ticket can it?

    As for standing surely could have requested someplace else to sit.

    However I do agree it’s long. I had to wait two hours to get in, then they were still doing the show as I left around 11.30pm on a Sat night having arrived there around 5pm. I only got to see 3 acts as the judges were singing there song which they had to do twice. We hadn’t had dinner and we just walked out although we were asked why we were leaving. I think it was the showdowns that I saw as well, last year. They just need better organization. The X Factor was much better at this, surprisingly, I even attend the auditons.

  13. I’ve had very mixed experiences at tapings. At Thank God You’re Here I scanned my ticket, waited 20 mins in a well furnished and well catered room, there was champagne, well cooked finger food, entertainment and everything ran to time, very enjoyable. Then there are other times where I’ve had to wait 8 hours in bad heat/cold rain, no staff, no guarantee I would even get in, then more waiting inside the studio, constantly lied to about how much longer it would be.

    Can’t say I’ve ever been ‘forced’ to stay, but the security does intimidate people from leaving. Being treated like cattle is a good way of putting it. It would be unacceptable in any other industry, certain production companies, and applause store, need to get their act together.

  14. Having been to tapings I agree that they give the impression the audience cannot leave.

    Had they known at 9pm it would end at 11:30 nobody would have stayed and the studio would have been empty.

  15. Yeah, this isn’t new. I remember back in the Gladiators revival being shot in Sydney it taking about 5 hours to shoot one 44 minute episode. The presenters kept fluffing up their lines and you could hear the disappointment in the audience. But people were allowed to leave (and many did).

    Compared to The States where it took about 90mins in the holding yard/security then another hour to shoot The Late Late Show (where they actually shot it “as live”, but had to re-shoot an entire segment).

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