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Star Académie

Star Académie is a Canadian reality TV series started in 2003, aimed primarily at the Quebec television audience, featuring an array of competing young women and men for the title of the best singer. It is the Québécois adaptation of the French television show Star Academy produced by Netherlands company Endemol, based in the Spanish format called Operación Triunfo.

Description

It is aired for two months each year (February to April) on the TVA network. It is part of the reality television craze of the turn of the millennium. Hosted by Julie Snyder, the show is a competition to find the best young francophone singer, not only in Quebec, but also in French speaking regions of Canada, having auditions in Ontario (Eastern Ontario) and New Brunswick (l'Acadie). Then fourteen people (seven of each gender) are chosen to compete in front of the cameras.

It is separated in two simultaneous formats: each day during the week, a show presents moments of the life and training in the common house of the Académiciens and each weekend sees one Gala show where the contenders sing. At each of these Galas, some participants are put on the line and one is chosen to stay by the public and by the judging panel.

It proved to be immensely popular, drawing not only viewership, but genuine affection from the public for the young idealistic contenders. Pride also arises for the regions where the participants are from, like pride was felt by many from the Acadian people when Wilfred Le Bouthillier, from Acadia, was chosen for the competition and later crowned winner of the first, 2003 edition.

It has also proved to be an effective springboard for the singing careers of some of its past participants, like 2003 finalists Wilfred Le Bouthillier, who recorded with the help of renowned Cajun singer Zachary Richard, and Marie-Élaine Thibert, who also released an album and sung for the soundtrack of Léa Pool's movie The Blue Butterfly.

Origins

It is inspired by the French show Star Academy and is similar to the Pop Idol & American Idol phenomena. The name was francized for its Quebec adaptation because of the local importance given to the respect of the French language. However, it does create a grammatically impossible phrase in French. The proper translation would be Académie des stars, although this could be considered less catchy. Francization is typically given even more importance in Quebec French than in France itself (see Office québécois de la langue française).

A relatively small, but notable difference in the show format from its French counterpart is the selection process. Each week, the French version asks the public and judging panel to vote for which one, out of the contenders in danger, should be excluded from the show. The results are announced live, on stage, to the excluded member and the viewers. While this formula was followed in the beginning for Star Académie, it soon was changed because of protests, for the system was seen as cruel treatment to the excluded participant. On one early show, singer Daniel Boucher quit the studio halfway through the show because of this impression. Consequently, the public and judges are now asked to vote for the participant to remain at the Académie. The results are still announced live.

Criticism

Star Académie drew criticism for the capitalist and vertical integration strategies of producing megacompany Quebecor to publicize the show and make it profitable. For example, each vote from the public costs one dollar, the website is in large part reserved to paying members and the Quebecor company, massive owner of many Quebec media, heavily promoted the show via TVA (its own television network), all of its magazines and newspapers like 7 Jours and Journal de Montréal. Astral Media's RockDétente also did a lot of heavy promoting themselves during the 2005 edition, as the official stations of Star Académie. Also were criticized the instant celebrity machine and supposed lack of artistic integrity aspects of the whole enterprise.

Theme songs

Victors

Académie's principal

Notable guests

Discography

Official albums

  • 2003: Star Académie
  • 2004: Star Académie 2004
  • 2004: Star Académie 2004: Meilleurs moments des finalistes aux galas
  • 2005: Star Académie 2005

Works of participants

First season participants

Second season participants

Third season participants

Contenders

2003

2004

2005

  • David Tremblay
  • Marc Angers
  • Steve Provost
  • Audrey Gagnon
  • Annie Blanchard
  • Jennifer Silencieux
  • Francis Greffard, from Rapide-Danseur, Quebec
  • Jenny Hachey (leaves after the first gala, on September 18)
  • Kaven Haché
  • Linda Rocheleau
  • Stéphanie Bédard
  • Marc-André Fortin
  • Valérie Boivin
  • Bruno Labrie

See also

External links

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