Mixmania, highs and falls

In 2002, the show Mix mania He was betting on turning perfect people into young pop stars in just a few weeks. Twenty years later, the members of No Regrets and Urban Defense are reunited again in a documentary about this unprecedented television phenomenon that has propelled them to the top as quickly as they fell.

It is an underestimated phenomenon. But we didn’t know what to expect, it was a first in the world of television and music,” says Bianca Jervis, who wears the hats of the documentary’s host and director, in an interview. Mixmania. 20 years later, Broadcast on CRIF on Wednesdays. “It was great to see these teens, who weren’t always good, and who sometimes sang unharmoniously, turn into stars before our very eyes. We identified with them, sang and danced with them, from our living room,” adds the person who was one of their biggest fans in that time.

On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the document, Bianca Gervais organized a convent-style meeting between the two groups created during the first edition. Six out of the eight Mixes responded positively to the invitation: Julie St-Pierre, Ariane Laniel, Annabelle Oliva, Frank Huddon, Emmanuel McEwan and Pierre-Luc Blaise. Caroline Marco-Gendron and Benjamin Laliberte declined to participate.

Through archival footage and interviews with their nanny, coaches, and even journalists from that time, Bianca Gervais is immersed in her resounding success. And to see their on-screen reactions, they still can’t believe it 20 years later.

It must be said that after the show, No Remorse and Urban Defense sold 250,000 albums, more than U2 in the same year. They performed 227 times in a year and a half, including four times at the Bell Center and once at the FrancoFolies. This is without forgetting their legendary performance at the Galeries de la Capitale, which brought together more than 12,000 Mixmaniacs, some of whom were sleeping in front of the shopping center to be able to sing. Five fingers of the hand And the touch the sky with their idols. “You and I to the top, you and I, we’ll never stop!” »

back to earth

The tour ended, and returning to reality was rather difficult for young artists. The documentary aims to be a celebration of adventure Mix mania Above all, this dark side of the story is touched upon only briefly.

We still see Annabelle Oliva confiding on screen that she felt like it.” It was At seventeen, because she was working in a clothing store rather than pursuing her music career. Julie St-Pierre burst into tears when the host asked her if she would allow her children to participate in such a program, torn by the question and clearly marked by her own experience.

“To always be labeled as Julie from Mix maniaIt’s hard to live through adolescence, which is a pivotal period in which you build your personality,” explains Julie St-Pierre in an interview with Should. The now-presenter at 107.3 Rouge FM says she still sees the effects of this experience on a daily basis. “In my professional life, for example, I have long suffered from impostor syndrome. I felt the need to prove myself, to defend my place, and to be chosen by others. […] This is still the case today. »

Annabelle Oliva also says that she went through an “emotional spin” towards the end of the tour, and even felt the need to steer clear of the other mixes. “It was necessary, I needed to get my identity back, to understand what had happened in my life,” she explains over the phone.

She continued, “The hardest thing to digest was that it ended that way dry. We were popular, loved, and—presto!—everything stopped abruptly. I couldn’t understand why we didn’t do another album, or another tour.”

It also regrets that the production did not provide psychological support to the participants, as is the case today in many reality shows. “At the same time, I understand. This was the first program of its kind in Quebec, and we could not have known that we would need this need when we returned to normal life. Twenty years ago, mental health was not a concern as it is today.”

It is an underestimated phenomenon. But we didn’t know what to expect, she was a first in the world of television and music.

The beginnings of reality TV

“We were testing something new on TV, a unique concept, without knowing all that it implied,” explains Pierre Barrett, Quebec television specialist and director of the School of Media at UQAM. for his eyes Mix mania It was an avant-garde show and above all a springboard for reality TV, without having both feet because it was “boobs”.

We recall that Star Academy, Loft Story And the double occupation He appeared on Quebec Television the following year. Without being able to confirm that these products are directly inspired by Mix mania – With many of them being adaptations of foreign shows – Mr. Barrett sees many similarities with Vrak.TV’s evidence.

We will announce to the young people at home that they have been chosen. We find this in double occupation. Young people live together in a loft, this is reminiscent of cohabitation in the Loft Story. And of course the idea of ​​discovering talents and turning them into stars, which we find star Academy where voice ‘, he cites many similarities.

for his eyes Mix mania It brought together all the major components found in the majority of reality shows today: competition, vision, or starting point provided for people’s mastery, the short-lived popularity of candidates upon their launch as well as audience participation.

“Inviting viewers to vote online, and proving that their choices have an impact on what they watch: This was new in the early 2000s,” explains Mr. Barrett. It was a small revolution in the middle of television. And the proof, years later, is that the concept of reality TV, which was doomed to disappear, according to many at the time, is now more present than ever. »

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