Star Search

Are you a kid that grew up in the ’80s? Then there’s a very good chance you know what I’m talking about when I say these two words… Star Search.

Long before American Idol or America’s Got Talent, there was Star Search. Like your televised talent competitions of today, it featured a variety of talented individuals and groups that were vying for fame and fortune and each week their fate was in the hands of a panel of judges.

Unlike today, those judges weren’t really big names. At least, I don’t remember them being big names. They may have been industry types who knew enough about what they were doing to fairly judge performances.

Each Saturday night, Ed McMahon welcomed the home audience to the show and presented us with solo artists, music groups, comedians, dancers, and everyone’s favorite: the spokesmodel. As each contestant or group of contestants showed off their abilities, they were given scores by the judges. Those scores were given as one to four stars. Between the four judges, the scores were then averaged and the winners were announced immediately.

That’s right, none of this, “Come back tomorrow night to find out which of these two contestants wins this week after we show you four hours of commercials!” You know, like you get on today’s talent shows.

You’d have two soloists going head to head. The returning champion from last week would sing a song, then the challenger would sing. The judges scores would be revealed and either the champion would go on to sing again next week or they would be bumped for the challenger to become the new champion.

If I’m remembering correctly, if someone got enough wins, they would be eligible for the semi-finals at the end of the season. I can’t remember how many wins it took to get there, but I’m sure it was exciting for those winners.

It’s important to note that there were two different categories for solo singers: adults and children. Did you know that Christina Aguilera was on Star Search at a very young age? And she lost! It was close, though. She tied with the other kid at first, then it was left to the studio audience to decide and they picked the other kid. I say “other kid” because I don’t remember his name. Pretty sure he didn’t make it very far in his solo career.

You know who did, though? Christina Aguilera.

The only reason I remember that Christina was on the show is because I happened to come across some full episodes available to watch on YouTube. It was a real blast from the past. The late ’80s and early ’90s were a very different world than this one we live in today.

With so many properties making a nostalgic come back, you’d think that Star Search would be a show someone would want to reinvent. It really wouldn’t take much to put it together. You get a clever host up there and the show basically runs itself.

Oh yeah… Britney was on there, too…


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