Since the launch of reality TV pop-star contests, thousands of talented and talentless people have been able to get their 15 minutes of fame on primetime TV. Britain's Pop Idol concept is so popular in fact, that it has been sold to 110 countries worldwide. And there seems to be no cultural boundary that the more recent Star Academy can't cross. It's the fist Spanish TV product to be sold to both American and Arabic countries. Here is our pick of the most entertaining auditions and performances.
First aired on British television in 2001, Pop Idol is a TV contest that lets the audience decide on the winner. Star Academy, created by the makers of Big Brother, used the same concept with an added "I'm watching you" 24-hour-CCTV feel. Talent is not the only criterion for bagging votes on the programmes - public sympathy also plays a part. The winner of the first series of Pop Idol spoke with a lisp, and the second edition saw a clinically obese woman claim first prize. And the first male to win Star Academy suffered from cystic fibrosis and died shortly after his triumph.
The format of these Saturday prime-time shows modernised audience-voting with the introduction of SMS and digital ballots ("Press the red button on your remote to vote for Michelle"). The format was highly successful; the final of the third edition of Pop Idol attracted 10.6m votes.
From our regional editor in Europe Jay Bakht.
From our regional editor in Europe Marc Daou.
The final of the fourth season of Al Akademia saw Chada Hassoune, an Iraqi woman, claim the winning title. She was celebrated for uniting Shia and Sunni communities at a time when the country was locked in a bitter war. Her victory was greeted by cheering crowds in Iraq, where she's celebrated as a national heroine. Similar scenes may be seen in this video, below, taken in Jordan.
Not without humour, contestants on the Moroccan version of Pop Idol attempt to impress the judges with Eastern songs as well as some from their Western repertoire, which were cut in the pan-Arab version of the show."
From our regional editor for the Middle East Larbi.
From our regional editor for Africa Andriankoto Harinjaka Ratozamanana.
Idolos was not a great success. Due to low ratings, its host channel dropped it after two seasons."
From our regional editor for South America, Cristiano de Sa Fagundes.
From our regional editor for Russia, Maria Antonova.