Wednesday, January 19

From Chenoa to Los Javis: 20 years of ‘OT’, the program that changed the idea of ​​fame and created its own pantheon of gods | People

At the beginning of the 21st century there was a change in the mode of production of fame. Programs like Big Brother, pioneer of reality shows, u Triumph operation (OT), dean of the talents, they proposed new ways to become a celebrity and also new ways in which the public could consume them. If before the famous was considered a distant being, almost touched by the gods, now the famous was someone normal, a neighbor, a cousin, a brother-in-law who, suddenly, after a television process, savored the honeys of success (and, times, he got fed up with them). The thing did not end there: over time the social networks emerged that deepened this model, democratizing and sectorizing fame even more. The opinion leader on Twitter or the influence on Instagram, just like him triumphThey are also celebrities who in a parallel space-time plot could well have been ourselves. What anger.

Twenty years have passed since the first edition of OT, broadcast on La 1 de Radiotelevisión Española, which, like the first of Big Brother, burned a group of people in the collective imagination. Later seasons also created their undisputed stars, such as Edurne, Soraya, Aitana, Amaia, Alfred, Lola Indigo, etc., but no edition generated a star system that almost goes beyond fame to be embedded in the history of Spain itself.

Reciting their names is like reciting the pantheon of the Greek gods: David Bustamante, Chenoa, David Bisbal, Rosa López (or Rosa de España), Manu Tenorio, Nuria Fergó, Naím Thomas or the ill-fated Álex Casademunt, who died this year in a traffic accident. Even the least known today, such as Javián, Juan Camus or Geno Machado, have their little corner in the hearts of many Spaniards. The texture of the celebrity members of OT1 it shows another quality, another density, another touch than that of its successors: they are more mythical. Many of the moments that took place in that first season have a cosmogonic character: the idyll between Bisbal and Chenoa, Rosa’s overcoming process, Bustamante’s lloreras, the song My music is your voice or the later tours (and the big record sales, when records were bought). The fleeting success of the Open Formula group, with four triumphs at a summer pace.

Amaia, Miriam, Alfred, Aitana and Ana Guerra, the five finalists of 'Operación Triunfo 2017'.
Amaia, Miriam, Alfred, Aitana and Ana Guerra, the five finalists of ‘Operación Triunfo 2017’.

“Now there is talent shows almost every day ”, says Jaime Pérez-Seoane, director of the agency marketing e influencers Go-Talents. “In 2001 everyone knew who Bisbal was, but also his colleagues. Nowadays, everyone knows Aitana, but it will be difficult for them to say with whom she competed in OT. The talents They only impact their niches and fame is more ephemeral ”, he affirms. The effect of being the first time, the notoriety that it gave them, did not make it easy for that group of young people. “They were anonymous, simple people, who came from another world. Just getting to the Academy was already a great triumph for them. When they left for the first time they did not know anything about the fan phenomenon that had been formed abroad and it was difficult for many to manage it ”, explains María Palacín, psychologist of the first edition of the program who now directs the Master’s Degree in Self-leadership and Group Management at the University of Barcelona. Fans are very particular beings: from loving their idols so much they can become hostile to them, and triumphs they found themselves escaping from them everywhere: a veritable national fever had been generated. “Was a shock for them, a great impact on an emotional level, there was a lot of crying ”, recalls the psychologist. Fame: we want to get it at any price, even if it’s bitter later.

What was the reason for such success? “The format was novel, a white program, which did not offend anyone and which knew how to combine a series of key elements,” says María Dolores Cáceres, professor of Sociology at the Complutense University and a student of the program. These elements were values ​​typical of the socioeconomic paradigm, such as competitiveness and the desire for fame (that is why the title was Triumph operation and no Operation Song). “Also channeling, through processes of projection and identification, the aspirations, desires and feelings of the public that suffered and enjoyed the adventures of the boys at the Academy”, adds the professor. The entire family sat in front of the screen and each member had their favorite, the one with which they identified. There was drama, but the climax was the happy ending: the effort always won its prize, as in a moralizing meritocratic fable.

David Bisbal to Chenoa in the concert of 'OT: El reencuentro'.
David Bisbal to Chenoa in the concert of ‘OT: El reencuentro’.

In 2016, OT, the reunion, some special programs that brought together the old companions, already turned into middle-aged men and women, and there, in addition to the cobra that Bisbal did to Chenoa, it was possible to compare, three decades later, how life had treated them to each. Who had become true stars (although Rosa was the winner of the edition and competed in Eurovision, Bisbal was the one who best consolidated his international career), who were the artistic middle class or who had returned to an anonymous life, alien to the brillibrilli, section meat What happened with… Society can be very cruel to those who have been abandoned by fame (or vice versa), such as broken toys, even if they are happy, satisfied or successful people in their life projects away from the cameras. Old quarrels, small envies, long-standing frustrations were seen here: despite the nostalgia and the climate of brotherhood, not everything had been rosy at the Academy.

After a six-year hiatus, OT returned renewed in 2017, in its ninth edition. There a change of course was observed, in which the fusion between the mainstream and the hipsterism, between the “commercial” and the “alternative” that has occurred in recent years within the field of popular culture. Suddenly, OT9 it was more modern. The wide fame of Los Javis, for example, comes from their participation as teachers in the program, and some of its participants flirted unapologetically with the music indie or urban rhythms, such as Amaia, Alfred, Mimi (later called Lola Indigo) or Aitana. The mastery of the melodic song and the gorgorito was ending. In this new series of seasons, social debates around the question of gender, LGTBI, bullfighting or environmentalism begin to be visible in the show, which did not like in the right part of the political arc. OT it becomes like everything that surrounds it, from bakeries to literary essays: modern and committed.

The current obsession with fame, the longing for transcendence and recognition, the feeling that we have that fame at our fingertips, have been strengthened in this 21st century, in part thanks to programs such as OT. Social media has radicalized things. “Becoming famous in 2021 is very different from 2001,” explains Pérez-Seoane. Today you have access to celebrities in a much more daily way thanks to the networks and the notoriety has been segmented by niches. “But this horizontal fame coexists with the more vertical fame: there are still idols at the top of the pyramid, such as C. Tangana, Rosalía, Aitana or Mbappé, who generate attention, trends and money. The great figure of 2021 is, in my opinion, Ibai Llanos ”, concludes the expert. We will see what fame has become in 20 years and how we can achieve it.

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