Yep, after a couple of years "on the shelf" mainly because of failing audiences, the French version of "Pop Idol" is back.
Mind you, it's not the generalist channel M6 which has commissioned the the show - the ninth edition.
Instead it's the revamped D8 - owned by Canal + and destined perhaps to become another - er all rounder.
|Sophie-Tith (screenshot from auditions)|
Th audition phase has come and gone, and the judges have been chosen the final 10 who'll be put to a public vote each week until the country's Nouvelle Star is crowned - complete with recording contract of course.
The four-member jury, comprising perennial presence songwriter-arranger André Manoukian (who has been there since the beginning), the return of musician Sinclair (real name Mathieu Blanc-Francard) and newbies Belgian singer Maurane (real name Claudine Luypaerts) and musician-composer Olivier Bas has whittled down the 7,000 hopefuls to just 10 and on Tuesday they'll take to the stage - their weekly fate to be decided live by the viewing public.
Now you might think this format is tired, clapped out and tedious. And the criticism would be a valid one, except that the programme can throw up some surprises.
But there's no denying it can act as a launching pad for an artist who might well have made it in his or her own right and an appearance in front of millions (although D8 is unlikely to match the audience figures of M6) can provide invaluable exposure.
Such should be the case for Sophie-Tith.
She might not win the whole caboodle, but there's surely no denying that she has an extraordinary voice and could be described as something of a vocal extraterrestrial (in the nicest possible sense) in that what comes out of her mouth, in no way matches your her physique.
Her voice is deep, full-bodied and resonant and she has perfect pitch with a natural swing or groove. And all that from a girl who's only 16!
It makes a real change from all those nasal high-pitched screechers (mentioning no names) who seem to be so popular and deem it necessary to belt out a number at full volume regardless.
Sophie-Tith's major problem might be that she has had a tendency (or at least she did during the auditions) to forget the lyrics, but here's hoping her proven musicality will be good enough to keep her performances going and enable her to receive the thumbs up from viewers.