We recall. We are Saturday, October 20, 2001 when the television screen unveils the premiere of Star Academy. Viewers discover the candidates: Jenifer, Mario, Jean-Pascal, Carine, Djalil… They are singers, dancers and dream of becoming the next French star. The telecrochet is not really developed and there are many confusions. This is what presenter Nikos Aliagas will later reveal to our colleagues from Télé 7 Jours in April 2021. The first is chaotic. Florent Pagny, who is the godfather, whispers in my ear: “It’s not what TV used to be, I don’t understand your stuff. You’re not up to speed…” »TF1 has only 5.4 million viewers against 12 million in the final from season 1. Eight seasons will follow. The show ends in December 2008. A final season will finally see the light of day in 2012 called “Revolution”, which will be broadcast on NRJ12.
Star Academy: who are the children of yesterday?
Their names are Axel, Charlotte or Sarah. In 2001, they were about ten years old. They are now in their thirties. They’re the kids of yesterday, back when the baggy low-rise, elastic crewneck and bandana pairing seemed normal. They are among those who experienced the beginnings of reality TV and the rise of telecrochets. The Loft (TF1), Popstars (M6) then the same year the Star Academy. Former fan, 30-year-old Axel tells us: “ My parents weren’t too keen on me watching. It was right after Loft Story, for them, I was too young to watch that bullshit not to quote it. » Then finally, ” my parents, who were not at all fond of this kind of program, started looking through the bonuses, they saw that they could have famous artists so they got into the game “. For Axel, Star Academy is the show that shaped his childhood. Accompanied by his twin sister, he watches the bonuses on Saturday evenings. ” When we couldn’t watch, we recorded. At the time, there were still VCRs “. A touch of nostalgia in his voice, he debriefs his end of the day in front of the television, his spats with his parents to watch the daily newspaper, which retraces the course of the candidates each evening. For others, Star Academy is the family program you watch before dinner. Charlotte, Belgian, is 5 years old at the time of season 1, despite her young age she remembers and describes the Star Academy as ” the evening rendezvous was fun to watch. It was the only thing we watched on TV as a child “.
Not everyone remembers the same more or less charismatic candidates, everyone has their preferences. The same is true of the seasons. Season 1 is the signature of a novelty and quickly becomes a successful telecrochet. Season 2 with these new candidates is eagerly awaited, season 4 and the exceptional performances of Grégory Lemarchal, a young man with cystic fibrosis, make an impression. Only two or three headliners will emerge triumphant from this extraordinary experience which young viewers and sometimes their parents are vehemently watching. These young participants, raised in a few months to the rank of star, are the stuff of dreams. Adored by their personalities, their skills and their physique, they are the glorification of a gentleman and lady everyone. Starification seems possible for everyone.
Why has this telecrochet been so successful with young people?
” Identification ” Explain Emma Daumas. Semi-finalist of season 2 against Nolwenn Leroy, the former candidate translates this success by the appropriation that the spectators make of the candidates. ” The castings were done in such a way that there is a very wide panel of representatives, of personalities of all kinds found in society. Everyone could have his avatar. This avatar, as described by Emma Daumas, Charlotte assimilated very well, making Jenifer her star, the one she venerates, whose posters she sticks in her room and who still goes to all her concerts today. . To watch Jenifer during the dailies and primes is to understand her, to love her because she looks like us. ” We were close to people. Me Jenifer, I feel like I know her when I don’t know her. »
Season 2, Anne-Laure Sibon reveals her homosexuality. A fact still rare in the world of television. She then became a figure of the Lesbian movement in France. Thanks to it, young people have their media reference. Axel explains to us how Star Academy helped him project himself into accepting his sexuality: “ I liked Georges Alain, that’s when I really asked myself questions about the fact that I liked boys. »
Starification also plays an essential role for the prosperity of the program. Emma Daumas, also a writer, discusses in her novel Supernova (2016) the starification of ordinary candidates going from shadow to celebrity in a few months. ” These shows have erased the boundary that used to exist between the average person and the star “. Sitting on his sofa in front of Star Academy, the fantasy of becoming famous becomes almost easy and therefore possible for young people. But deep down the star is not the candidate, it’s the show “, continues the candidate of season 2. Because if the chain must cultivate the idolatry of its candidates by molding them in characters to the representation of the population, they will remain for many simple participants of telecrochet. With a few exceptions, the show’s long-term banners, the candidates come out of it on their own. The vocation of the Star Academy is not to make them figureheads of French music. A boost for a potential career yes, a long-term manager no.
Who will be the spectators of tomorrow’s Star Academy?
The announcement of the news sounded like the comeback of the 2000s. We weren’t surprised to hum who stole the orange (season 3) or the Agitator (solo hit by Jean-Pascal). The question is on everyone’s lips: who among us will watch Star Academy 2.0? We already know that the castle of Dammarie-les-Lys will once again house the show like the first eight seasons, which Nikos orchestrated the program as in its beginnings, but would it be enough to regain the success of twenty years ago?
” 20 years [de la Star Academy NDLR] were the height of nostalgia. For people, it represents the 2000s and what they were like then. ” notes Emma Daumas, present at the evening of Saturday October 30, 2021.
Like Axel, many say they are curious to discover what Star Academy will look like twenty years later: “ It will be a moment of nostalgia, that’s all. […] I have a two and a half year old daughter, but she is far too young to watch TV. If I had ever had children, maybe older maybe yes, I would have wanted to share that moment with them. “Will watching the show be the cute sin of thirtysomethings, the hindrance in the rule of “I never watch television (only Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney + with or without the children). It is likely that by playing the card of nostalgia, this telecrochet will reach the fans of the early hours, but the channel will also have to convince today’s young people. Since 2001, TV programs have seen telecrochets flourish (Nouvelle Star, The Voice, The Artist, etc.) and of course reality TV shows (Secret Story, Les Anges de la téléréalité, Les Marseillais etc.). Young viewers are not at their first attempt. A target that also deserts family television. The numbers are irrevocable. According to Médiamétrie, in 2021 4-14 year olds reduced their viewing time by 20% compared to 2020 and 2019.
Future candidates in the age of social networks
As for the new candidates, who will they be? We wonder. Perhaps people already familiar with the concept of the avatar on social networks, who will have ” already calibrated an image of themselves to please and have likes “, Underlines the former candidate. A hypothesis: less innocence, more talent. The possibility of going further in their musical career.
In any case, in the era of social networks, it is difficult to see the production banishing the mobile phone from the daily life of the candidates during these three months of “confinement”. 2001. Let’s remember the telephone minute, sometimes very difficult for some. A cult moment from the show. But beyond the link with the families, it is offering its image to the Internet without having the possibility of reading the reviews and interacting with Internet users, which raises questions.
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Star Academy: the telecrochet phenomenon of the children of the generation of the 2000s
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