“Shit in the ears! “: why “New Star” was a hit

Dbeginning of 2007. An endless line of thousands of budding singers stretches out in Marseilles, as every time the show New star puts his suitcases in a city for a casting. Young Julien, who has come with his ukulele, patiently waits his turn… but is put off even before the first note by the intractable jury, who only wants to hear him a cappella. Caught in extremis by the production, he finally won over the jury. In a twist like only TV knows how to provoke, M6 viewers see the birth before their eyes of one of the figures of French song, Julien Doré.

In the frenzy of the 2000s, the Télécrochet de la Six was a huge success, and its best candidates saw their careers propelled in a few weeks. Nearly 2,000 people come every day to try their luck at the auditions, and millions then follow their adventures on the small screen. New starit is the anti-Star Ac, from competitor TF1. “A pure program”, boasts the emblematic juror Marianne James, and who could do without the artifices of reality TV. “We didn’t have to make them run early in the morning in a park or caption their conversations under the duvet. “Twenty years after his debut, M6 devotes a retrospective program to him this Wednesday, February 15. Back to a phenomenon.

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From the street to the plateau

In 2003, TF1 was a hit with the Star Academy. On M6, pop stars, which has just propelled the L5s to first place among the (ephemeral) French groups, is starting to show signs of weakness after a second season having crowned the lukewarm Whatfor. No question for “the small rising chain” to let its audience slip away. She then set her sights on a new format which, for the past two years, has been thrilling the United Kingdom and the United States, Pop Idola telecrochet to find the star of tomorrow.

The rule couldn’t be simpler; the mechanics, well oiled. Four jurors from the world of music cast castings over three or four shows for all that France (and Belgium) thinks it has in terms of talent. The open audition without filter, the long queues it causes, the drastic selection… Nothing is left to chance, we explain to the production. “This funnel system, with the show starting in the street and ending in the light of the set, that’s why it works so well. “Places are expensive to be selected among the 15 finalists and have a chance to perform live and in prime time, on the stage of the Pavillon Baltard, for ten weeks.

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If the British and American versions are betting on headliners, the tricolor adaptation is betting on four almost unknowns: the producer of shows Dove Attia with very popular tastes, the music producer Varda Kakon, the favorite author of Pascal Obispo and Florent Pagny, Lionel Florence, and composer André Manoukian, as virtuoso with words as with notes. Benjamin Castaldi acts as Mr. Loyal.

Freedom of expression and casseroles

But the first year In search of the new star patina. No revelation among the candidates of this first season, while the rival Star Academy begins its third season with dream audiences and already two successful winners: Jenifer and Nolwenn Leroy. M6 is reviewing its copy, with a new, more effective title – New star –, and above all a more energetic jury. André Manoukian and Dove Attia keep their seats, but they are now accompanied by drummer Manu Katché and lyrical singer Marianne James, whose verve and frankness are quick to give color to the audience… and cold sweats to the direction of chain.

“You have shit in your ears! “First direct of season 2. The public, called to vote for their favorite candidate, saved the handsome kid of the season, arousing the incomprehension and the anger of the jury, which finds in Marianne James a cash spokesperson not hesitating to roar live. A flash that will position New star like a telecrochet like no other. “The freedom of expression on this show was incredible, recalls Manu Katché. We allowed ourselves a lot of things. »

The program has found its rhythm and its uniqueness. No need to put on a show between shows with shouting matches at the castle and emotional sequences in the confessional. Telecrochet seeks to get rid of the reality TV label and its excesses, although it keeps the mythical – and cruel – sequence of pans, the worst singers heard at auditions, sometimes convinced of having real talent.

Towards a return?

If the winner of season 2, Steeve Estatof, did not make an impression more, Amel Bent, eliminated in the semi-finals, will see the doors of glory open. Success raced during the fourth season with the discovery of Christophe Willem, “the turtle”, as the jury affectionately nicknamed him. Then will come the turn of Julien Doré (and his very original covers, “Me… Lolita” in the lead), which corresponds to the year in which Virginie Efira takes the place of Castaldi, who left on TF1.

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The M6 ​​program becomes the standard meter of tele-hook, while, on the rival channel, Star Academy is slowly running out of steam. Phenomenal success, jury waltz (Lio, Sinclair and Philippe Manoeuvre come to press the red and blue buzzers), rising audiences… New star is the prototype of the trendy show, which does not need international stars to shine.

But fashions only last for a while. The other winners, Amandine Bourgeois, the gothic rocker Soan or the redhead Luce will not have the success of their elders. After eight seasons, the Baltard scene closes its doors to better return to D8, where, without demerit, New star will no longer find its audiences or even its aura. The return attempted in 2017 on M6 will be a fiasco. With this tribute show, is the channel testing the nostalgia effect to resurrect the program? There is no doubt that the success of the new Star Ac, at the end of 2022 on TF1, has been closely scrutinized…

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