There are some people who are destined to stand in the spotlight, those who can easily take to a stage and enthral an audience with their talent, wit and charisma.
Then… there are people like me.
People destined to sit in the shadows and cling to the achievements of others like attention-seeking barnacles aching to attach themselves to the well-oiled calf of a Kardashian.
Just imagine a cluster of tiny, hideous bridge trolls who, instead of menacing passers-by and threatening to eat their young unless they turned over a sack of gold, got their hands on some Wi-Fi and an Instagram account.
Picture that and you’ll start to get an idea of how my people operate.
It was from the shadows that I watched how one of Australia’s most popular reality TV shows, The Voice Australia, is brought to life.
If you’ve been hiding out in an emergency bunker, surviving solely on tinned beetroot because you accidentally ate all the tinned carrots first and now you really regret it, you may have no idea how The Voice actually works.
So allow me to break it down for you.
Basically, in the early episodes of the show a team of celebrity judges sit in enormous, revolving red leather armchairs with their backs to the stage. Singers who are looking to make their musical dreams come true/up their social media followings come out on stage and bust out a tune. Then if the celebs like the cut of their vocal jib, they press these huge buttons in front of them and their chairs magically spin around.
(Yes, maybe I mentioned “the chairs” a little too much in that explainer. But, honestly, we’re now several seasons deep in this show and audiences still tune in just to marvel at them. Years from now, when people are showing off their new space cars to their neighbours who live on the moon, the neighbours will no doubt reply “yeah, that’s cool and all, but have you seen those chairs on The Voice?”).
Now we are into the live finals on the show.
For this part of the series they film concert-style extravaganza things at Fox Studios in Sydney, where the celeb judges still sit in those red chairs but (spoiler alert) they don’t spin around anymore (a fatal flaw in the franchise, if you ask me).
The judges for this season are Delta Goodrem, Kelly Rowland, Boy George and The Future Husband of The Queen of The North, Sansa Stark (I believe his given name may be “Joe Jonas”, but I have not yet been able to view a birth certificate in order to verify this fact).
When I arrived on set it was still a good four hours until the live show was due to start broadcasting (apparently a lot of prep goes into live TV, who knew?) so the judges were still locked up in their ivory towers or stroking endangered butterflies or whatever it is they do to prepare before a show.
But the live audience was herded in early.
Now, four hours may seem like a long time to sit in an immense, cold TV studio filled with dozens of crew members all clad in black who scurry about like frenzied ants in an underground nest eager to do their Queen's bidding, but thankfully I was seated behind some recent contestants from Married at First Sight and could stare at the back of their heads to my heart's content. So the time passed super quickly.
And once the cameras really started rolling, there was not a lot of time to think about the Ant People or MAFS man's sleek haircut, because things started to unfold pretty quickly.
The judges made their entrance across the stage (which is pretty huge, I'm surprised they didn't pack a change of comfy shoes for the trek) and settled into the chairs just as host Sonia Kruger turned to the cameras, mic in hand, and began to introduce the show.
Side note about Sonia Kruger: This woman is practically the Genie of Australian reality television.
Every-time you blink, she's in a different spot in the studio, doing a different live-cross to camera with a picture perfect Tina Sparkle smile on her face. One moment she's nestled in next to the judges attempting to make Delta Goodrem krump, a second later she's in the center of the stage and then in a heartbeat she's down in the mosh-pit next to the stage.
Now, I don't want to tell anybody how to do their job or run security measures in this country, but does ASIO know about Sonia? I just can't help but feel that she this being somewhat under utilised...
Speaking of the judges, they are absolutely the most fun to watch in the ad breaks.
For this talent-less bridge troll, at least, it's kind of like watching really well-respected and beautiful flamingos flock about in their natural habitat.
Kelly Rowland and Delta Goodrem are attempting to reinstate that lovely, primary school practice were you hold hands with your bestie while you walk everywhere together, and they can often be spotted walking across stage with their fingers linked.
(Just a safety note on this, it's not a move everybody can pull off. I attempted to hold my friend's hand as we were leaving the studio, thinking we could be the Kelly and Delta of the audience plebs, but she thought I was either trying to get fresh with her or just steal her phone... things have been pretty awkward ever since).
However, the most popular judge of the night appeared to be young Joe Jonas (yes, I know his true name now because a group of girls in the audience had it emblazoned across the back of their jackets) proving once and for all that nothing cements eternal glory quite like being in a boy band.
In one of the commercial breaks, Joe even accepted a gift bag and card from his adoring fans, holding up the goodies for all the audience to see and bravely taking a taste of Vegemite for the first time via some kind of snack nestled in among the love notes.
Although, judging from her last turn in Game of Thrones I doubt this is the right time to messing with Sansa Stark, just a friendly warning ladies...
As for The Voice contestants themselves, well, have you ever wondered why Australia usually opts to send reality TV stars to compete in Eurovision?
It's not because the powers that be think European voters are secretly binge watching old episodes of Australian Idol, but because they are adept at performing in live television shows with quick turn arounds and immense pressure.
And the finalist contestants on The Voice certainly have a tough road to travel on the night.
Basically, there are only short spans of time between performances. This means that while the at home audience is watching Sonia Kruger chat away on screen, the live audience is watching dozens of TV crew wizards sprint across the stage and hurriedly construct intricate, immense sets with a speed and ingenuity that makes the building of Noah's Ark look like a half-arsed weekend project constructed by a person who only goes to Bunnings for the sausage sizzles.
I'm talking tall rolling towers of lit candles, water raining down from the skys and then whisked away with Harry Potter-style magic, performers suspended from the ceiling and even a moment when bolts of fire shoot up from the edges of the stage with a heat so intense I felt my eyebrows squeal, singe and then fall to the ground like little dead silkworms.
Amid all the chaos on stage, I couldn't help but notice that the contestants always stand very quietly by themselves, ignoring the hustle and the fire and the video packages playing in the background featuring their own voices telling the world how much it means to them to be standing on that stage.
It's a kind of trembling, nervous energy I can only describe as similar to that moment as a kid when you had to get up in front of your class to give a presentation and were suddenly very aware that your voice wasn't working right and your hands were shaking so badly you couldn't read your palm cards.
But before you start to think that the contestants are the hardest working little bees during the filming of the live shows, I need you to know that audience gets a work out as well.
The floor crew had us up clapping, dancing and cheering the whole time that the performances were happening on stage. But at least they reward you with bags of potato chips for all of your hard work, but they have to hastily hidden from view whenever one of the camera's swings over your head.
Even as a bottom-feeder, I couldn't help but feel a little positive glow creeping into my cold, dead heart as I left the show.
Because for all my musings about space-like red spinning chairs and the betrothed of Sansa Stark greeting his fans, it's also hard to ignore that The Voice is feel-good reality TV.
A rarity in our world, but still completely inspiring to watch.
For more stories like this, you can follow writer Laura Brodnik on Facebook.
The Voice airs on Sunday nights on the Nine Network. You can catch up on past episodes on 9Now.