The “Star Academy” Returns, Where Have The Revealed Singers Gone 20 Years?

TELE-HOOK – Back to the future. TF1 announced a new season of the Star Academy, his cult musical tele-hook launched on October 20, 2001. Around Nikos Aliagas (who returns to the presentation), the program has marked its time lastingly by its format (mix of reality TV and music competitions), but also by its candidates . The late Grégory Lemarchal, Nolwenn Leroy, Jenifer, Emma Daumas, Élodie Frégé or Olivia Ruiz, the list is long.

It’s simple, the Star Ac completely disrupted the French television landscape. Its impact is still felt even thirteen years after the end of the program as the telehooks (particularly embodied by the New star et The voice) have become commonplace on television. There too, certain artists, such as Julien Doré, Louane, Kendji Girac, Amel Bent, Amir or even Slimane, have made a name for themselves thanks to their broadcasts.

But it’s not just those who are still successful today. Le HuffPost was also interested in “other” candidates, the ones less talked about when the cameras are off. In the history of the star academy, almost 150 candidates took part in the different seasons. Add to that the participants of the 10 seasons of The voiceof the 13 seasons of New star and 5 of pop stars: Ladle, more than 600 aspiring artists have gone through these programs since 2001.

What have they become? Searching for testimonials was difficult, many of them did not respond to our requests. Indeed, the aftermath of these shows is a touchy subject for some, even two decades later. Yet we were able to talk to two former participants of the Star Academy, Tina Tictone (season 4) and Joanna Lagrave (season 8). The two thirty-somethings are only partly or more involved with music.

“When I got out of ‘Star Ac’ I wanted to play my own songs”

Satisfied, the ex-candidates spoke at length about their post-Star Ac† “A billion things have happened since the end of my season, it’s been 16 years,” explains the former, frankly admitting that these years have given her the perspective needed to approach the subject. “When I left the show, I just wanted to play my own songs. I was very stubborn, even too much”. And to add: “I had them with me before I started the program, and of course when I Star Acit was to release my record”.

At that moment the young woman is confronted with a different reality. “You quickly notice that they want to post songs, more than have singer-songwriters”. An observation shared by Joanna Lagrave, her 2008 season semi-finalist: “After the show, I was working on a first album, but the project was cut short. I was young, I wanted to make my music, but I was surrounded by people who didn’t listen to me too much.”

The latter, who, in his own words, “turned everything upside down” at the time, was not discouraged from participating in the musical show. Once upon a time Joe Dassin in 2010. She also has very fond memories of it: “It was a new group experience after the Star Ac“I was surrounded by nine brilliant colleagues”. Very close to representing France at L’Eurovision in 2014 (she was in the finalist triothe houses records favored Twin Twin (who will finish last). “I was preparing two singles that were all mine and I was asked to sing French variety shows,” she laments.

Same problem on The voice, where she ultimately failed to appear before the judges in the blind auditions. “Emotionally I ran out of juice. I put a lot of energy into it,” she says. And to develop: “I was offered things that didn’t suit me, but I wanted to stay true to what made me happy”. “Tired”, the young woman therefore decided to take a break before discovering a passion for painting, which she practiced since 2011. “I never saw it as a potential job,” she reveals. † “Then I had full control over what I was creating”. Now a full-time painter (under the name Poom In Love), the latter has also launched a YouTube channel.

Format candidate?

A journey reminiscent of Tina Tictone’s. “I really wanted to defend my songs and go on stage. A few months after the Star Ac, I set up a tour,” she says. “It was a bit of a crazy idea, but I didn’t realize it because I didn’t know what my image was in people.” The singer was then able to go on several dates in some well-known venues such as La Cigale, exploring in particular a very underground style, “far from that of the general public”, according to her words.

“Then I got an electric shock. I realized that I had only been involved with music since I was 17,” she explains. Wanting to discover something different, Tina Tictone, also passionate about painting, decided to give up everything to study applied arts and graphic arts. Freelance artistic director for 5 years, former candidate of the Star Ac 4 then became a muralist (she also shares her works on her social networks). Faced with the urging of her former team, the latter also resumed her career as a singer, performing at Solidays in 2019 and, in particular, preparing a project for January 2022.

A career switch for one, a dual job for the other, these two situations are certainly not isolated. Excellent example: Magalie Vaé, winner of the Star Academy in 2005, it has now been converted to comedy and events. “I make my own choices and above all follow my own desires! Nobody dictates anything to me and I think that’s what it’s all about as an artist,” she said on the show in March 2021. 50′ inside on TF1.

Contacted by Le HuffPost about this phenomenon, Bertrand Hellio, author of the book Become a music professional confirms: “There are systematic formatting attempts. These shows cannot match any type of artist. They are intended for a very large audience, so singers with a ‘niche’ style are necessarily at a disadvantage”.

Ever increasing competition

He adds: “There are more and more people in France who want to work and make a living from music. If you compare it to the 80s, it seems to me that there are four times more”. But who says that more people necessarily means more competition, the author is clear about that: “There are four times more people, but not four times more places”.

But how did the record companies deal with this influx of career-ready neo-singers? Those we interacted with were unresponsive. According to Bertrand Hellio, the advent of tele-hook allowed them to “mitigate the risks” by drawing certain talents that came out of it. “They can already count on support by making a pre-selection. They already have an idea of ​​the person who could potentially be the most promising”.

Especially the one who teaches at Celsa goes further: “Their strategy is short term, it is a pure and hard marketing stunt. Because the TV shows are very repetitive, I don’t think they plan on making them long, with rare exceptions.” The writer acknowledges nevertheless, it is easier to break through these days: “Participating in these programs allows candidates to take advantage of media attention that is usually extremely difficult to obtain”.

Despite a path sometimes riddled with pitfalls, Tina Tictone and Joanna Lagrave both retain excellent memories of their time with the Star Academy† The second was also able to find his former comrades for the time of the special anniversary bonus, which will be broadcast on TF1 on October 30. “It was very intense. I didn’t expect to be so moved when I went back to a television,” she confides to us.

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