Star Factory

Star Factory (Фабрика Звёзд) is a Russian music-competition TV show in which teams compete to become the new hit act in Russian pop music. The show has created such stars as Fabrika, Korni, and Polina Gagarina. It aired from 2002 to 2007 in Russia, with a triumphant return for one season in 2011. There are also versions of the show in Ukraine (five seasons between 2007 and 2011, in Russian and Ukrainian) and Moldova (one season, in Romanian and Russian).

The format of the show is as follows. After open auditions across Russia, 15 to 20 finalists are chosen, and they move into the Star House (Звёздный дом), where they are filmed around the clock. They have music, acting, and dance classes every day; they also have master classes with Russian and international show business stars. The shows airs a “Star House Diary” several times per day on TV, showing what’s been going on in the house. Once a week, the show airs its full broadcast, which consists of a concert in which the participants perform the song and dance routines they developed during the week. Several contestants are eliminated each week, and the ultimate winner gets a record contract.

Each season is known for its leader or producer, who is usually a well-known figure in Russian music. Maksim Fadeev led several seasons; Alla Pugachova had one season; and Konstantin and Valeriy Meladze, known for their production work for VIA Gra and Vera Brezhneva, led the final season. Igor Matvienko and Igor Krutoy both produced several seasons.

The star power of the winners has varied over the years. Fabrika and Korni were both popular bands in their time, and Gagarina participated in Eurovision 2016. Viktoria Daineko (Виктория Дайнеко), who won the fifth season, with Alla Pugachova, and then the 2011 season, which featured past contestants, has been relatively successful, with two albums, a number of singles, and several Golden Gramophones, Russia’s major music award.

 

Musical producers: Igor Matvienko (Игорь Матвиенко), Maksim Fadeev (Максим Фадеев), Aleksandr Shulgin (Александр Шульгин), Igor Krutoy (Игорь Крутой), Viktor Drobysh (Виктор Дробыш), Valeriy Meladze (Валерий Меладзе), Konstantin Meladze (Константин Меладзе)
Production company: Perviy Kanal (Первый канал) and others
TV channel: Perviy Kanal (Первый канал)

 

The final concert of the first season of Star Factory:

 

Star Factory: What Happened to the Participants?”

 

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS’s Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.