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 (returning to the presentation), the program has lastingly marked its time for its format (mixing reality TV and music competitions), but also from 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 shocked the French television landscape. Its impact is still felt today, even thirteen years after the end of the program, since the remote hookups (embodied in particular by the New star And The voice) have become commonplace on television. There too some 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 the ones who are still successful today. The HuffPost he was also interested in the “other” candidates, those who are less talked about once the cameras are turned off. In the history of the Academy of the Stars, nearly 150 candidates participated 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 celebrity: Ladle, more than 600 aspiring artists have followed these programs since 2001.
What have they become? Searching for testimonies was difficult, many of which did not respond to our inquiries. The aftermath of these shows is indeed a sensitive subject for some, even two decades later. We were however able to speak with two former attendees at the Star academy, Tina Tictone (season 4) and Joanna Lagrave (season 8). The two in their thirties are only partially or more interested in music.
“When I came out of ‘Star Ac’, I wanted to play my songs”
Fully satisfied, the former 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”, she explains the first, admitting in all honesty that these years have allowed her to have the perspective necessary to approach the subject. “When I left the show, I just wanted to play my songs. I was very stubborn, even too much “. And add: “I had them with me before I joined the program, and obviously if I did Star Acera to release my record “.
At that moment, however, the young woman finds herself confronted with another reality. “You realize immediately that they want to insert the songs, rather than having songwriters”. An observation shared by Joanna Lagrave, her semifinalist of the season in 2008: “After the show, I worked on a first album, but the project was stopped. I was young, I wanted to make my own music, but I was surrounded by people who didn’t listen to me too much “.
The latter, who says she “turned everything upside down” at the time, was not discouraged by taking part in the musical show in particular. Once upon a time there was Joe Dassin in 2010. He also keeps some good memories: “It was a new group experience after Star Ac, I was surrounded by nine brilliant colleagues “. So very close to representing France a Eurovision in 2014 (was in the finalist trio), homes Twin Twin favorite record (which will finish last). “I was preparing two singles that belonged completely to me and was asked to sing a French variety,” she regrets.
Same problem on The voice, where she ultimately didn’t go before the jury in blind hearings. “Emotionally, I was out of juice. I had spent a lot of energy in there, ”she says. And to develop her: “I was offered things that didn’t suit me, but I wanted to stay true to what made me happy.” She “tired”, the young woman then decided to take a break before discovering the passion for painting, which she had been practicing since 2011. “I had never seen it as a potential job,” she reveals. . “In that moment I was able to have total control of what I was creating.” Now a full-time painter (under the name of Poom In Love), the latter has also launched a YouTube channel.
Formatting the candidate?
A journey that echoes that of Tina Tictone. “I really wanted to defend my songs and get on stage. A few months after the Star Ac, I organized a tour, ”he says. “It was a bit of a crazy idea, but I didn’t realize it, because I didn’t know what my image was with people”. The singer was then able to do several dates in some places known as La Cigale, exploring in particular a very underground style, “far from that of the general public” in her words.
“Then I got an electric shock. I realized I’ve only been making music since I was 17, ”she explains. Eager to explore something else, Tina Tictone, also passionate about painting, decided to stop everything to study applied art and graphics. Freelance art director for 5 years, the former candidate of the Star Ac 4 then she became a mural painter (she also shares her works on her social networks). Faced with the insistence of her former team, she too has resumed her career as a singer, performing at Solidays in 2019 and in particular preparing a project for January 2022.
A career change for one, a double job for the other, these two situations are far from isolated. Exceptional example: Magalie Vaé, winner of the Star academy in 2005, he’s now converted to comedy and events. “I make my choices and above all I follow my wishes! Nobody imposes anything on me and I think that’s what it means to be an artist, “she specifically said in March 2021 on the show. 50 ′ internal on TF1.
Contacted by The HuffPost on this phenomenon, Bertrand Helio, author of the book Become a music professional confirms: “There are systematic formatting attempts. These shows cannot match any kind of artist. They are intended for a very large audience, so singers with a ‘niche’ style are necessarily disadvantaged “.
Ever growing competition
He adds: “There are more and more people in France who want to start and make a living with music. When compared with the 80s, it seems to me that there are four times more ”. But whoever says more people necessarily says more competition, the author is also clear on this topic: “There are four times more people, but not four times more places”.
So how did the record companies manage this influx of new singers ready to make a career? Those we contacted did not respond. According to Bertrand Hellio, the arrival of the tele-hook allowed them to “limit the risks” by signing some of the talents that came with it. “They can already count on public support by making a pre-selection. They already have an idea of who potentially would be the most promising. “
Those who teach at Celsa in particular go even further: “Their strategy is short-term, it’s a pure and hard marketing gimmick. Since TV series are very recurring, I don’t think they have in mind to make them last, with rare exceptions “. However, the writer acknowledges it, today it is easier to break through: “Participating in these programs allows candidates to benefit from media coverage that is usually extremely difficult to obtain.”
However, despite a journey sometimes studded with pitfalls, Tina Tictone and Joanna Lagrave both retain excellent memories of their time at the Star academy. The second also managed to find his former teammates for the moment of the special anniversary bonus, which will air on October 30 on TF1. “It was very intense. I didn’t expect to be so moved when I came back in front of a television, ”he confides.
See also on The HuffPost: What TV was like in 2001 when “Loft Story” was launched.