Born of idiocy and the poor ratings of Australia’s Channel 7, the POPSTARS project produced from its shameless loins one of the world’s first openly, self-confessed manufactured pop groups. The POPSTARS television show spanned the audition and selection process by ‘judges’ from Warner Music. Amongst apalling renditions of “My Heart Will Go On” and mid-drifts emerged a group of final five named Bardot (after Bridgette). And out they went into the world, proclaiming that despite their contrived nature “We’re all just in it FOR THE MUSIC…” What a proverbial can of worms this has opened. There’s some things that society just doesn’t want to hear; and one is that mainstream pop culture in the most is artificial. Just what were they thinking?

Note: Bardot was also the inspiration for my ‘We are all Popstars rejects’ sticker/t-shirt slogan.

There's a Canadian version of this reality tv show, featuring a group called Sugar Jones or some such nonsense.

Actually, it's sort of funny. A bunch or A&R guys get together and audition thousands of girls, settling on five of them for their voices, talent, and personality over their looks. Then they find that these five don't really want to be recording pop songs written by forty-year-old men, as they start writing their own songs, and negotiate royalty contracts. This prompts the group's manager to say (paraphrased):

"I think we've given the girls too much freedom, too much rope, and they keep demanding more. From now on, I think we put them on a need to know basis." So this is how the pop music industry works!

It's also funny that the girls often comment on the lameness of the songs, and the manager keeps saying "this sounds like a good American record." (Remember, this is the Canadian version, and so it's assumed that if you want to make money you have to sound like Destiny's Child.) Oh yeah, and one of the original members was busted for credit card fraud during an early episode.

This television series was probably one of the most entertaining reality tv programs out there(before it lost its appeal), seeing we got to see hundreds of people belt their lungs out in a hopeless attempt to impress a panel of judges, and possibly become a 'Popstar'.

The concept was not conceived in Australia; Australia merely bought it off New Zealand. Many tv networks across the world have also bought into the concept, which manufactures a pop group. The idea is that the network gets huge ratings each week, the group makes tonnes of money off all the publicity generated and everyones usually happy.

America's 'Making the Band' was indeed a rip-off of POPSTARS, being filmed just after New Zealands success caught the eyes of the ABC. Both shows did differ slightly, however the foundations were the same. On top of that, the BBC created Upside Down (aka Orange Orange) on a similar program.

'I wanna be a Popstar!' was the catchphrase that attatched itself to the tv show. Not a day would pass when I could watch tv without this irritating phrase being repeated over and over on my screen. However POPSTARS has seemed to have ditched it now -- a HUGE thankyou goes out to whoever gave the producers their much needed wakeup call.

Numerous groups have been created, with more on the way. So far these have been the products of POPSTARS:

This is the group that started it all, New Zealand were the first country to take on POPSTARS. The only problem that was right when Truebliss planned on spreading their fame to Australia, they were starting their own group -- Bardot. Eventually band member Carly Binding left the group for a solo career and sadly the official website just redirects to Sony Music New Zealand. No plans for another series and a bit of a flop, but they did inspire the rest of the world!
Nation: New Zealand
Members: Carly Binding, Erika Takas, Keri Harper, Joe Cotton and Megan Cassie
Singles: Tonight, Number One

The POPSTARS idea was quickly bought by Channel 7 in Australia soon after True Bliss were created, and the show was a hit in Australia. The group originally consisted of Sophie Monk, Sally Polihronas, Belinda Chappel, Katie Underwood and Chantelle Barry. However Chantelle left after being chosen and was replaced with Tiffany Wood. The group then released a successful album, but while recording the second album Katie Underwood was offered a part in the musical 'Hair' and left the group... only to see Hair be cancelled. She still gets along well with the group however and doesn't regret leaving the band. Bardot are one of the success stories from POPSTARS.
Nation: Australia
Members: Chantelle Barry, Katie Underwood, Sophie Monk, Sally Polihronas, Belinda Chappel and Tiffany Wood.
Singles: Poison, I should have never let you go, These Days, ASAP, I need somebody

Sugar Jones
The group is pretty big in Canada, being their only internationally recognised all-girl supergroup, and now Canada is planning their own Series 2, featuring both guys and gals. If memory serves me correct, they were created just after Bardot, making them the third country to take on the popstars concept. They were one of the opening acts for Destiny's Child recently and their future looks pretty bright!
Nation: Canada
Members: Sahara MacDonald, Andrea Henry, Mirella Dell'Aquila, Julie Crochetiere and Maiko Watson
Singles: Days like that, How much longer

Eden's Crush
Soon the popstars phenomena spread over to the USA, but the USA has already had a similar taste of the POPSTARS concept before. Around the time Australia was creating Bardot, the ABC had already created boyband O-Town on a series called Making the Band. Eden's Crush have released two singles and one album, but unfortunately alot of fansites have closed down purely because there was no recent news to update. Rumour has it that they will feature on a compilation CD dedicated to S-11 but this is as yet, unconfirmed.
Nation: United States of America
Members: Rosanna Tavarez, Maile Misajon, Ivette Sosa, Nicole Scherzinger and Ana Maria Lombo
Singles: Get over yourself, Love this way
I don't know a whole heap about this group, except they come from Sweden and are doing pretty well. If you have more info on them please /msg me.
Nation: Sweden
Members: Susanna Patoleta, Jenny Bergfoth, Anna Johnsson, Johanna Landt and Malin Olsson
Singles: Need to know, Lose it all, What's up
Australians loved popstars so much that Channel 7 decided to sign up for a second series. However they needed to make changes, and the public wanted to see the guys given a chance. So for Season 2 in Australia it was announced that the band created would include atleast one guy and atleast one girl. When the public found out the band members, they were disappointed that most of the series' favorites didn't make it. Scandal'us lost a large portion of their fans when they announced they would cancel their Australia tour to tour with newly created UK-popstars Hear'say. At the current time they've been a little quiet -- but Bardot went quiet for a while aswell, yet managed to release a second album and prove a success.
Nation: Australia
Members: Simon Ditcham, Tamara Jaber, Jason Bird, Daniella Scala and Anna Belperio.
Singles: Me myself and I, Make me crazy, You bring me love
The UK decided that a mixed gender band was the way to go, and created Hear'say! The series did alright over there, with viewers hooked on Nasty Nigel and the suspense of who would make it to the next audition. The group was revealed in April 2001, but were formed in December 2000 - they managed to keep their identities a secret from the british media for four months!
Nation: United Kindom
Members: Noel Sullivan, Kym Marsh, Myleene Klass, Suzanne Shaw, and Danny Foster.
Singles: Pure and Simple, The way to your love, Everybody
No Angels
These Denmark girls have a pretty big big fanbase in Denmark and have released their debut single in the USA hoping for international success.
Nation: Denmark
Members: Nadja Banaissa, Sandy Mölling, Lucy Diakorska, Vanessa Petruo and Jessica Wahls.
Singles: Daylight in your eyes, Rivers of Joy, There must be an angel
Scene 23
This is the USA's second creation. Scene 23 originally consisted of 6 members however one was caught breaking the house rules, and was dropped. A fairly new band, their outlook looks pretty good.
Nation: United States of America
Members: Donavan Green, Dorothy Szamborska, Josh Henderson, Laurie Gidosh and Monika Christian.
Singles: None yet, but they have released an album.
Once again I dont know a whole heap on these girls, if you have information on them please /msg me.
Nation: Italy
Members: Dominique Fisdanza, Marcella Ovani, Marta Falcone, Roberta Ruiu and Veronica Rubino.
Singles: Down down down, When the rain

POPSTARS has its share of scandals. One involves a band member from Australian Series 1 being accused of stealing from the group, this was reported by magazine New Idea. Series 2 saw the group's identity being revealed by the same magazine, weeks before planned, which harmed the show's ratings. The third Australian series, which has just commenced, will produce a solo artist. This is a first for POPSTARS. In an attempt to revamp the show for Series 3 and prevent media leakage, viewers will be able to vote for their favourite singers via a 'Big Brother' style phone poll. This idea has been widely supported, and will surely guarantee a larger fanbase for the winning solo artist.

The CD Cover designers assigned to the Australian groups are highly uncreative. They seem to think its alright to pick a photo, add on the groups logo, and publicly release it. One team of these cheeky buggers used the same photo for a single and album cover -- the only difference being the recoloring of clothes from red to blue!

The show's appeal was lost a long time ago. Thankfully POPSTARS will die out soon, along with all other forms of reality tv. I think I'm not alone when I say that this will be a day to rejoice.

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