OK America, you may think you are cool and all by bringing ‘American Idol’ to the masses, but did you actually know that the AM concept was infact, invented by the English?  I mean did you honestly think Simon Cowell was found on the street?  See the thing is, America tends to steal all the good TV show ideas from England and makes them a whole lot better. <ouch>

So today’s lesson is all about the winners (Popstars) and losers (Flopstars) that the English have created over the years since the birth of Pop Idol.  And pay attention please, there will be a ‘pop’ quiz on this sometime soon.

So let’s start with some definitions:

Popstars: Winners or losers of a UK reality TV show singing competition that have maintained prolonged commercial success, even though they may have not won the actual TV show they competed on.

Flopstars: Winners or losers of a UK reality TV show singing competition that did not acheive commercial success, even if they actually won the TV show they competed on and had a Number One UK hit single as a result.

The Contestants

Pop Idol Season One: The first season of Pop Idol brought us three Popstars in the way of sensational winner Will Young!  Will made national headlines when he came out of the closet during the second week his winning Pop Idol single was number one!  Second place went to Gareth Gates who is lingering on becoming a flopstar but is set to make a comeback shortly.  And third place went to Darius who spawned some great pop music over two albums but recently got dropped by his record label and is now starring in the musical ‘Chicago’.  This show also introduced the world to the infamous Simon Cowell.

Pop Idol Season Two: The second installment of Pop Idol gave us two Flopstars in the way of winner Michelle McManus who gets more press about her dramatic weight loss than her music does (seriously we are talking Celine Dion-esqe here) and Sam & Mark who are cute, but really didn’t have any staying power at all.  Bad season of PI altogether and slowly we had to painfully endure watching judge Pete Waterman go crazy and we are sure he must be receiving professional help these days.

Popstars Season One:  Basically the first season of Popstars brought us the Flopstar winners Hear’say which where just bad altogether despite the huge sucess of their UK number one hit single ‘Pure and Simple’.  This band also produced media whore Myleen Klass who has publically come out as being a victim of bullying and tried to launch a classical career which flopped as well.  Myleen now hosts the music show CD:UK.  Now the interesting fact about this show is that the five unlucky losers who didn’t make it into the band all got together and formed Popstar supergroup Liberty X who have produced three fantastic R&B influenced records with numerous hit singles including the hot ‘Just A Little’.

Popstars The Rivals Season Two: OK, so the producers of this show tried to shake things up a bit by creating two bands that would compete against each other for the coveted Christmas Number One single.  They also thought it would be interesting to have former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell judge the show alongside loopy Pete Waterman again.  The winning girl band and Popstars of this show were the brilliant (and we mean brilliant) Girls Aloud.  The Girls have just released their third album and have a series of stomping electro-inspired tracks that always get the party pumping.  Also winning were the Flopstar boy band, One True Voice who just plain sucked.  But interestingly enough, the boys that didn’t make it into One True Voice formed their own boy band afterwards called Phixx.  Now, in our opinion Phixx are fantastic as they also spawned some great electro-retro tracks, but they seemingly never took off in England – they seem to have been more popular in South Africa where their album ‘Electrophonic Revolution’ actually got released.  Very soon we will be featuring Phixx in an ‘Electroqueer Spotlight’ partially due to the fact that two of the four members of the band are homos and that certainly is criteria enough for spotlight on our blog.  Teetering on Popstar/Flopstar status is also JavineJavine lost by an inch and didn’t make it into Girls Aloud, but has had a couple good singles.  She has been struggling a little to get her career off the ground.

Fame Academy Season One: With the phenomenon of Pop Idol taking off, the BBC decided to create a similar show called Fame Academy where the contestants attended a music school during the day and performed Pop Idol style in the evening.  Kinda weird we know.  Anywho, Fame Academy winner David Sneddon flopped, but later third place runner-up Lemar took off big time – he even won a Brit Award which is the UK’s equivalent of a Grammy.

Fame Academy Season Two: Same concept, Season Two brought us Popstar and young lesbian Alex Parks from Cornwall – who is pure brilliance incarnate. Alex has spawned two albums thus far and has one of the most unique voices we have heard in years.  Runner-up Flopstar Alastair Griffin was also launched from this show. We actually hate to call Alastair a Flopstar because he too is quite good and more importantly he is an excellent songwriter – whom we are sure will be making loads of bank based on his ability to write radio friendly pop songs.

The X-Factor Season One:  Really this show should be called Pop Idol Season Three because it stars Simon Cowell as a judge again, but the show was just re-branded and re-packaged as to stay fresh.  Not much talent on this show…Flopstar Steve Brookstein (barf) and Popstars/Flopstars G4 were formed.  G4 are a rather unique singing foursome and have been garnering a lot of respect lately…but we haven’t really noticed them too much to be quite honest.  The great thing about the X-Factor is that it also starred Sharon Osbourne as a judge – and we do love Sharon to bits.

The X-Factor Season Two: This show just wrapped up and in the future months will tell us if winner Shayne Ward will become a Popstar and if loser Chico actually has a career outside of porn with his single ‘It’s Chico Time’.

So there you have it – The history of UK Talent Shows….wow…that took a long time to write!  We are off to enjoy our Sunday now!