Yes incredibly this is the eighth edition of the French reality-pop-talent show, possibly rumoured to be the last. But then they say that every year don't they!
Major changes this year, as there is a new directrice: Armande Altai, previously one of the "profs" on earlier series, replaces Alexia Laroche-Joubert, who decided to quit the show. Also following her out were Matthieu Gonet and notably Raphaelle Ricci, who was always the most outspoken, passionate and controversial of the profs. Hers will be particularly big shoes to fill.
So there are a number of new profs this year but good old Kamel Ouali is still there - this brilliant choreorgrapher's dance routines set the prime apart from every other talent show of this type.
To the uninitiated, Star Academy is Idol-meets-Big Brother, and it's as much about the friendships, relationships and conflicts which develop between the contestants, inevitably a group of reasonably attractive young people, who live together in the academy. Even the location this year has changed: no longer the chateau at Dammarie-les-Lys but a smaller building situated in the Marais district of Paris.
The first Prime took place last Friday, and there was a surprise as four students were immediately nominated - Julia, Gaetan, Laure and Alice. Julia was saved in the 'rattrapage' and so the three students facing this week's public vote are Gaetan, Laure and Alice. I've watched this show for long enough now to know that the first couple of weeks it doesn't really matter that much who goes.
However I'm glad that Julia's been saved. During the initial couple of daily shows it looked already as if she was being edited to look like a bit of a troublemaker, and she did seem to have a bit of a personality which is more than can be said for some!
I haven't heard many of them actually sing yet, so I can't really comment yet on who my favourites are!! I only hope that it will be a good contest this year and that it produces a worthy winner. Fingers crossed yet again..