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French X Factor "The musical event of the year" - apparently

By Johnny Summerton
Posted Mar 14, 2011 in Entertainment
Hold on to your hats, France is on the search for yet another undiscovered musical talent as X Factor hits the screens on Tuesday evening.
Yes, the hunt is on, courtesy of M6, for the successorébastien Agius
Don't worry if you've never heard of him. The chances are, neither have a majority of the French.
Agius was the winner of the first French X Factor in 2009 broadcast on M6's sister channel W9 and although he has released both a single and an album since picking up the title, and played concerts, the 28-year-old has hardly set the French musical scene alight.
The Powers That Be at M6 have obviously decided there's life in the format and, after shelving Nouvelle Star (France's version of Pop Idol) last year at the end of its eighth season, are ready to (re)launch what they proudly and presumably without hyperbolic intent, announce on the show's website will be, "The musical event of the year".
The programme hits the screens on Tuesday evening with an "all-star" line-up of judges that includes - hold your breath - Henry Padovani.
He, M6 proudly informs us, was a "founding member of the British rock group 'The Police'" and is "one of the few French musicians to have had a successful career in Britain."
Apparently he's still "very close" to Sting et al, even though he left barely a year after the group was formed and before it hit the Big Time.
Rest assured though, he has apparently had plenty of success since and brings "with his 360 degrees experience from the world of music as a musician and manager, vision and wisdom to the X Factor candidates."
Ah. There's nothing like laying it on thick.
Joining Padovani is another "heavyweight" from the (French) music scene, Christophe Willem.
Now his is a name with which many French should be familiar and he's very much on tried and tested territory.
The 27-year-old will doubtless be able to give invaluable inside as he's been there, done that and bought the tee-shirt so-to-speak after winning Nouvelle Star back in 2006.
A couple of best-selling albums, several singles, concerts tours and regular television appearances under his belt, Willem says of X Factor that it's a "competition that can clearly change someone's life. I know: I lived it myself."
There's no messing with the musical pedigree of the show's third judge Olivier Schultheis.
He's a musician, lyricist, composer and conductor, son of singer-songwriter Jean and a former student at the prestigious Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris.
Schultheis apparently has "perfect pitch" and has worked with a host of French stars as well as helping launch the careers of several - including Willem.
Completing the line-up of judges, and presumably proving that France's X Factor knows no international boundaries, is Canadian singer and impersonator Veronic Dicaire.
It's not a bad move on the part of the talented 34-year-old who is already a star within the French-speaking community in Canada and fairly blew audiences away in Paris early last year during an extended run at the capital's Théâtre de la Gaîté and returned to play extra dates in November.
Dicaire has a European tour scheduled from this month taking in cities in France, Switzerland and Belgium and an appearance on national telly will surely only boost her appeal to a wider audience.
"By nature sincere and energetic, Dicaire will bring the jury freshness and authenticity," according to M6.
That and, "Anglo-Saxon artistic standards," apparently - whatever that entails.
The whole shebang, including all the stages that have been completed to "discover" the 12 finalists, will begin airing Tuesday March 15 on M6 at 8.45pm local time.

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