Monday, January 3, 2011

Ed McMahon's Star Search - Before American Idol



In the early to mid 1980s I wanted to be a star. I didn't care if that meant I was a singer, dancer or actor. My real dream, however was to be on a sitcom like Silver Spoons so I could hang with Jason Bateman or Growing Pains so I could become Kirk Cameron's girlfriend.


To make that dream come true in the 1980s, you needed to get yourself on Star Search with Ed McMahon. The show had different categories such as comedy, singing and dancing. Judges would give the performers stars. Winner would be brought back for another round and would compete for prize money and basically a chance at stardom - getting their name out there, etc.

Sadly, I never reached the point of knowing exactly how to get myself on Star Search, so no, I was never a contestant. But I did enjoy watching! Star Search first aired in 1983 and ran until 1995 with Ed as the host. The show was resurrected in 2003 with Arsenio Hall introducing the acts. Sadly, the show didn't last very long and only ran for about a year.


In case you're unfamiliar with Star Search, check out the YouTube clips below featuring before-they were famous stars Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. Many celebs got their start on the popular prime time talent show --  Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, Countess Vaugh (Moesha) and Alisan Porter (Curly Sue) also appeared on Star Search in addition to many hopefuls who didn't make it big.

Watching Star Search was exciting as a kid. As a celebrity wannabe, I preferred watching the younger performers. The older amateurs bored me.  I wasn't a big fan of Sam Harris who seemed to appear on the show like every week. After each performance, I'd anxiously await hearing Ed McMahon call out the amount of stars each contestant received, "2Cute4U three and a quarter stars."

Do you remember Star Search?


Britney Spears on Star Search




Justin Timberlake on Star Search




21 comments:

BlahCooCooBlah said...

I never watched this as a kid but I wish it was still on from what I've seen on Youtube. The good old days before Simon Cowell :)

Caution Flag said...

Of course I remember it. I'm old enough to have invented it, but sadly, I didn't. Loved that show and loved that comedian who was on. WHAT was his name? He had a one word name. Golly, that was a long time ago.

Jules said...

Star Search was one of my favorites as a kid and I wanted to get on the show just like you! Silver Spoons was another good one ;)

Rich said...

Might be you're thinking of Sinbad. I remember when he was on there. Rosie O'Donnell too.

Ally said...

Rich, Google it, sources say Arsenio hosted the episodes in 2003.

Diane said...

Oh yes! I was a huge Star Search fan and also had fantasies about being on the show myself despite the fact that I couldn't carry a tune to save my soul.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

When people always say Britney can't sing, I point this out. Just because she sings CAK nowadays and you can't hear her voice for all the heavy breathing and squeaking, doesn't mean she CAN'T. She's got some pipes! :)

Bossy Betty said...

Oh, I loved these videos! I watched Star Search too. Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

You're Lucky I Don't Have a Gun... said...

i could never understand which was more: "X and a quarter stars... X and three quarter stars." i'd just wait to see who had the fake-happy-but-really-crying-inside face to know who was going home.

Marlene said...

I totally remember Star Search! Thanks for the blast from the past!

Missed you!

Mamma has spoken said...

I remember watching this show and wondering why they picked who they picked :/
Hubby had a cousin who sang on the show once, not sure how she did...guess she didn't do well if she only sang once....

Bestie said...

ok, i LOVE your blog. i am pretty sure that we are the exact same age and were the same 10yr old. keep em coming.

Copyboy said...

Hey didn't Sinbad also get his start on SS? Loved the theme song, and the spokes model category.

Maggi said...

I L-O-V-E-D this show when I was a kid and wanted to be on it so bad! Well, either Star Search or Solid Gold. lol

Sadako said...

My favorite memory? The Full House ep where Joey Gladstone went on Star Saarch...

...and lost to a prop comic and later director of Kung Pow! Enter the Fist.

Blast from the Past said...

A very fun post, Ally! I used to watch Star Search, but it was quite awhile ago. I've never liked Britney, and this just confirms it. JT seemed pretty talented, though.

ISRAEL CARRASCO said...

The original Star Search . Too bad Ed didn't hold on to the millions he gave away to unsuspecting home owners.

Cheeseboy said...

Wasn't Silver Spoons Ricky Schroder, not Justin Bateman? I should go read the post.

I loved Star Search too. Especially the stand up acts. I remember watching Norm MacDonald as a kid and thinking he was flat out hilarious. Turns out he was.

Ally said...

Cheeseboy, sorry, that was a typo - Silver Spoons was Jason not Justine oops!

Kelley said...

I'm thinking we're the exact same age. I remember all of these things! You can imagine how EXCITED I was when I visited my great aunt's house and saw a picture of Erin Gray (the mom from Silver Spoons- KATE!) in her house. She is her stepson's wife. Did you follow all of that? Ha!

Pat Tillett said...

wow! I'd forgotten about this show. there were so many great talents on it.

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