Being chosen out of a sea of contestants to compete on “The Voice” is a miracle for most inspiring artists. For the folks who watch from home, the singers, who are assigned to one of four coaches at the beginning of the season, look like they are living the dream, but what is it really like to be a contestant on “The Voice?”

Season 14 of the NBC series, which is currently airing, features judges Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Alicia Keys, and Kelly Clarkson front and center as mentors to the contestants throughout the competition. While contestants appear to be nervous yet graceful during their time on the show thanks to some help from the famous musicians, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to secure a contestant’s spot and create a positive experience.

Shawn Carnes, the founder of Nashville Underground Artist Management, spoke with Billboard about what it takes to fill the empty slots on the show and how the contestants are treated throughout the process.

The Voice Contestants on “The Voice” are mentored by one of the four judges on the panel. Pictured: (L-R) Judges Adam Levine, Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, and Alicia Keys of Season 14. Photo: Art Streiber/NBC

The Nashville-based independent contracted casting assistant has been the point person for providing local talent to “The Voice” since Season 11 and is responsible for connecting the show’s producers with Season 13 winner Chloe Kohanski.

Being a contestant on the popular singing series is not an easy task but has its perks, according to Carnes. Once selected by the casting assistant, contestants who get past several rounds of auditions have to be ready to drop everything and head to Los Angeles should producers like them enough to put them on television.

“If the producers like you, you can expect to be on a plane in less than two weeks,” he told the publication.

During their time in L.A., Carnes revealed the contestants “get a good little salary.”

“All their expenses are paid, plus on top of that, they shoot all their back stories. [NBC spends] a ton of money, and they don’t even use most of it. There’s a limited few that make it on the show.”

However, those who are fortunate enough to move on with the process have to go through with a psychological evaluation. “They do an intense psychological [preparation with] them,” Carnes revealed.

“It is kind of mind-blowing if you do make it on to the show to [sing] in front of millions of people,” he added.

Once a contestant is picked for the series, they are locked into a contract with no room for negotiations. Carnes recalled a time when one aspiring artist was given a small window to make a decision about their future.

“They flew home on that Thursday, got home Thursday night, had to have that contract back to them by Saturday afternoon,” he explained.

“They’re not going to be able to negotiate anything, [and] it’s a thick contract,” the casting assistant continued.

Once a contestant is on the “The Voice,” it doesn’t mean their future in Hollywood is guaranteed. Carnes revealed that the show, which has failed to produce big-name stars like its competitor “American Idol,” does little to prepare its singers for life after the competition.

“When they put all the artists through the process, they do a great job developing them and coaching them and getting them primed and ready to be on that stage,” Carnes said.

“What they don’t do is teach them anything about starting their own business. They’re not ever taught how to utilize that platform once they get off the show.”

Although the contestants on “The Voice” receive the all-star treatment during their time on the show, when the cameras turn off, the aspiring artists are left to decide whether they will continue their music career or transition back into the lives they lived prior to their 15 minutes of fame. 

The Voice Singers must compete against one another for the chance to be named “The Voice.” Pictured (from left): Contestants Kyla Jade, Pryor Baird, Spensha Baker, Brynn Cartelli, Kaleb Lee, D.R. King, Christiana Danielle, Britton Buchanan, Jackie Foster, Sharane Calister, Rayshun Lamarr and, Jackie Verna of Season 14. Photo: Tyler Golden/NBC