Sure, it’s all about the voice on The Voice, but costume designer Erin Hirsch, makeup artist Darcy Gilmore and hairstylist Shawn Finch, put a lot of effort into making sure that each contestant has “the look” to match.
“[The contestants on] season 3 were pretty stylish to begin with, so we’re just amplifying what they brought to the table, so to speak,” says Hirsch, who says the behind-the-scenes team works to bring out each contestant’s organic style, rather than performing head-to-toe makeovers. “Once we get to the live rounds, I have a much clearer idea of what works on each individual’s body and what they like. From there, I go back and make an inspiration sheet to give my shoppers a clear reference. Song choice also informs the mood and the tone [of an outfit].” And as the pool of hopefuls shrinks, the clothing budget increases. “Before the live rounds it’s a lot of H&M, Zara, PixieMarket and Bebe. For the live rounds, we got to Barneys, Neiman Marcus and Saks.”
Once they’re dressed, the contestants head to the makeup department, where Gilmore and her team of artists apply stage-worthy looks inspired by the latest runway shows and magazine editorials. “We want to create a Grammy-style look for each performance,” says Gilmore, who uses products from go-to brands Temptu, Stila and Makeup Forever. Even the men get groomed. “We’ve always been less is more on guys, but due to the specific look of the show after it’s recorded, we’ve found that every single inch of the skin that shows has to have pigment on it. A lot of people don’t realize we actually apply makeup [to the contestants'[ ears and hands.”
When it comes to hair, Finch’s approach is similar to her glam squad counterparts. “I love that evolution of seeing contestants get more star-like, but I’ve also learned that sometimes holding off on glamming someone up can be good. Now I really try to incorporate who they are into the style instead of making them into everyone else’s version of a pop star, because that’s boring.”
Last night brought the departure of Melanie Martinez — and her bows — and Amanda Brown, now as the show counts down to the finale, Cassadee, Nicholas, Terry and Trevin will definitely be dressed for Battle Rounds.
Click on to find out how the style team works with each of the final four contestants. SEE PHOTOS
NEXT: Cassadee Pope
With Melanie and Amanda out, Cassadee is the lone woman left in the competition.
“I don’t really classify her into any category. She’s youthful and fresh, a little bit rock and a little bit sexy, so we mix and match for her,” says Hirsch. “My inspiration for her is kind of what I did for Juliet Sims last season — taking that rock and roll edge and she also has the capability of doing a sweet Taylor Swift thing.” Of all the contestants, Finch says Pope has been the most open to changing her hair. “Cassidy has been really great about adding a bunch of bright colors. We’re doing stenciling for the first time on the show, actually painting designs on her hair.”
NEXT: Nicholas David
If this was a makeover show, Nicholas might have been the style team’s dream. “Nicholas showed up as if he had just come off the streets: very scraggly hair with beard hanging down past his throat and mustache growing into his mouth. I thought, ‘Wow this will be fun to take all that the beard off, take the glasses off!’ Then, once I spent time with him, I thought, ‘You know this crazier look, I don’t want to change it all the way,”‘ says Finch. “I did want to see his upper lip, six inches of that beard cut off and his hair lighter and less ashy, and he was up for that. He looks a lot more handsome but he still looks like Nicholas.”
Turns out, David was also up for a few style tweaks. “He is his own person, we’ve had so much fun dressing him,” says Hirsch. “He’s just so cool and laid back. He’s also very spiritual, so we try to fuse the throw-back look with the philosophy he follows.”
NEXT: Terry McDermott
“My inspiration for him — maybe it’s too spot on — is Noel Gallagher from Oasis,” says Hirsch. “It’s a very similar silhouette, and it’s what he likes. He loves the scarves. I just basically get different silks and have scarves made for him to keep him fresh.”
As for McDermott’s shaggy locks? “It’s not a mullet!” Finch declares.”We’ve talked about me bleaching the longer ends just so that the fringe is dyed. We’ve got a little bit of an ombre thing going on.”
NEXT: Trevin Hunte
According to Hirsch, It’s Hunte who has undergone the most dramatic transformation this season. “Trevin to me is super fashionable and modern. He sings these ballad R&B songs, but my goal is just to make him really fresh and young. I think that’s where the twist is. He has a rock and roll sensibility and yet he’s singing these power ballads. I like the juxtaposition.”
While the high school student has embraced the flashy outfits that the wardrobe department puts together for him, Hirsch says that not every contestant is so willing. “Most people aren’t used to wearing shiny clothing, but it translates on stage and for the camera. The transition is getting them to accept the rhinestones and the metallics, which most people don’t wear on a daily basis. But once they see it, they’re sold.”
The two-night season finale of The Voice begins Monday, December 17 at 8PM.