Idol Singer

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She's young, cute and can sing too. Just like the girl they chose to voice her.

A wildly popular trope in fiction about Japanese Pop Music is the "Idol Singer" — a teenage or early twenty-something (NEVER over 25) female performer, chosen for her cute and attractive image and sunny personality more than for her actual singing ability (though having actual talent underneath is not completely out of the rule). Idol Singers are recruited by multi-level audition processes, manufactured and managed by Japanese media companies, and ruthlessly discarded after a few years of cranking out formulaic hits. Sometimes, idol singers don't actually sing (like Milli Vanilli). Originally they were supposed to be pure and innocent, and her contract could well include an article of her not being allowed to have a boyfriend. Although in modern times there's a lot more diversity in how idols are presented, several such aspects of the industry still remain.

Naturally, every Japanese schoolgirl dreams of becoming one. Those who used to be one are often Broken Birds.

Thanks to the Disney Channel, American Idol, and The X Factor, this trope is also prevalent in the West, where it often overlaps with the Teen Idol.

If she's a villain in a Superhero or Magic Idol Singer show, she's an Evil Diva. Do not confuse with the singer Billy Idol.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Bubblegum Crash (much-maligned sequel to the iconic 80's cyberpunk classic Bubblegum Crisis) Priss, a successful rock singer, is offered a recording contract by a major label, and rejects it in no uncertain terms when she discovers they want to turn her into an idol singer.
  • Castle Town Dandelion has two: Sachiko "Sacchan" Yonezawa, who worked from the bottom up and hence has Plucky Girl streaks and a cynical worldview, and Hikari Sakurada, a very talented Modest princess who used Overnight Age-Up to enter the business, originally as a mean for a kingship election but eventually find herself enjoying the job on its own.
  • Chance Pop Session is about three girls who attempt to become pop idols.
  • Death Note:
    • Misa Amane is not only a famous actress, but this as well.
    • A young man by the name of Hideki Ryuuga, who is much beloved by Sayu, and appears with Misa in a film or TV series.
  • Harada from Death Parade is a male example. He was a part of an idol group and was Mayu's favorite singer. Harada was killed by a bomb sent by the sister of an ex who commited suicide after he broke up with her.
  • Maria Wong from Descendants of Darkness is a very popular idol who's slated to perform in Nagasaki by the time Tsuzuki and Hisoka start their partnership. She's also an incredibly tragic example, as her mother's Financial Abuse drives her to commit suicide in despair, and then to Come Back Wrong thanks to Deadly Doctor Muraki...
  • Yoko Okino from Detective Conan is a slightly older example, as well as Kogoro's main contact in entertainement industry. She also used to be in an all-girls band with her friends Kaoru, Terumi and Yuki, who get featured in an case alongside her.
  • Hikaru "Rabi~en~Rose" Usada from Di Gi Charat is methodically working her way to being an idol.
  • From Dog Days, we have bright pink dog girl Millhiore Filianno Biscotti. She is also a princess in a fantasy-esque setting, which makes it kind of weird when she's singing in a modern concert stage while in a medieval city. Bonus points for being voice by Yui Horie.
  • The Excel Girls (the two women who sing the intro, not the main characters) in Excel Saga are shown trying to get their big break by singing the theme song.
  • Parsely from EL is the most popular among a stable of idol singers in the last surviving human city on Earth. Among the ranks is at the very least one Evil Diva, Reiko.
  • Another male example in Ensemble Stars, but the manga adaptation explores it a bit; they don't shy away from the point that the boys, first and foremost, are people rather than performers or objects to ogle at.
  • The title character of Futaba-kun Change!. It's funny, once you remember the main quirk of Futaba...
  • Gintama has Tsu Terakado.
    • Otsuu-chan: "Where the hell is your mother from!?".
  • Luca of Hayate the Combat Butler is one. It seems that she followed this path to help pay off a large debt she had.
    • Earlier in the story, Hinagiku showed that she had the ability to be one, including the singing ability, but has apparently chosen not to follow this path.
  • Iijima Kiiro is in the middle of a "very important concert" when she gets attacked in the first Iczelion OAV.
  • Idol Angels Welcome Youko. Just what the title says. The series aim was to push Mika Kanai's singing career.
  • Idol Densetsu Eriko (usually translated as "Legendary Idol Eriko") has... well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Eriko also has an idol rival, Rei Asagiri. The series is based on the life of idol Eriko Tamura, known to non-Japanese audiences as Princess Yaeko in Heroes.
  • Idol Project takes things even further, having the universe run by an idol. The whole story is about a contest to decide what idol is fit to take over the Ruler Of The Universe place.
  • Idol Defense Force Hummingbird parodies the concept a bit. Because the Japanese SDF has financial troubles, they hire an idol group as cash cow. The parody backfired when said idol group became more popular in Real Life than the show itself.
  • The Idolmaster has Quite obviously a whole bunch of them, not only the girls on the 765PRO. Need to say anything else?
  • In a bizarre variation, Idolmaster: Xenoglossia has a girl trying out to become an Idol Singer, only to discover that it's a front for an organization that pilots Humongous Mecha...called Idols, and gratuitous musical and stage terms are used in conjunction with piloting the previously-mentioned mecha.
    • The original video game series released for arcade and XBox 360 actually is about Idol Singers, with players as managers who have to help their chosen character achieve stardom through minigames and competitive online auditions.
  • Male example: Kuga Jin from Kamichama Karin.
  • Kurama from Kamisama Kiss. He uses the gimmick that he's a fallen angel from Heaven to partially cover up the fact he isn't human but a Tengu.
  • Corona, a Quirky Miniboss Squad member from Kannazuki no Miko. It's revealed in her past that she suffered sexual abuse and tons of failure, thus entering her into Broken Bird and then Evil Diva territory. In her next life, she's again an idol but is doing better.
  • Key, Miho, and Beniko, from Key the Metal Idol, which also uses the their plights to deconstruct the trope.
  • Pretty much the entire cast of Kirarin Revolution, which is a show about a girl aiming to be an idol. The voice of the titular main character is Koharu Kusumi, a real idol from Hello! Project.
  • Is This a Zombie?: The Lovely Kira (Sarasvati), who is confronted by her suboridnate Seraphim on her stealth who inadverntly gets dragged into to becoming one. Then, Haruna gets jealous and steals the show. Finally Yuu joins in as well thanks to Ariel and Ayumu.
  • In the anime of Love Hina, Naru becomes an idol singer, then fears a scandal and gives it up; before she does, though, Motoko and Shinobu are also discovered and recruited into a brief recording career as a duo called "Blade and Blossom".
  • The Love Live! franchise is about a group of girls who form an idol group. However, there's emphasis on the fact that they're "school idols" (female students who sing and dance to promote their school; in this case, the girls are trying to prevent their school from shutting down), not professional celebrities signed on to a company.
  • Kirari from Love Lucky. The main challenge she and her husband Fuuta face throughout the series is in balancing their private married life with the life of her pop idol persona.
  • Numerous characters from the various Macross series, in which Idol Singers are frequently the key to saving the day.
    • Lynn Minmay from Super Dimension Fortress Macross (as well as the Macekred Robotech), whose songs were used as a shorthand for the cultural pollution of the Zentraedi by human culture.
    • Sharon Apple, the virtual idol from Macross Plus (who managed the rare feat of being both an Idol Singer and the resident Big Bad). Also, female lead Myung Fan Long was in her way to become an Idol Singer, but due to a traumatic past she abandoned her dream, becoming Sharon's creator.
    • Sheryl Nome and aspiring Idol Singer Ranka Lee from Macross Frontier carry on the tradition, as well as forming two of the three sides of the inevitable Love Triangle. The show deconstructs the concept by showing just how easily such a singer can be replaced once the substitute is found, and how painful such a process is to the one discarded - the true power lies with the people behind the scenes like Grace. Then magically reconstructs it by the Idol Singer pair proving crucial to the plot and finally uniting to defeat Grace.
    • Averted by Macross 7's female lead Mylene Jenius, who's instead the bassist and backup vocalist for rock band Fire Bomber. However, this trope is parodied by the female members of Jamming Birds, a military-manufactured pop group whose efforts to emulate Fire Bomber's success against the enemy fail... because they're singing songs from Macross II.
    • Also averted in Macross Zero, where the local singers are shrine maidens rather than idols.
    • Macross Delta features the "Tactical Sound Unit" Walkure, an idol group of the type popular in contemporary Japan. They're deployed by the military to use their music to counter the Var Syndrome.
    • In the non-canon Macross II, the UN Spacy have actively weaponized idol singers, who are now the main line of defense against invading Zentraedi fleets. This strategy stops working when the Mardook counteract it with their own singing.
  • Magical Angel Creamy Mami is the Magical Girl version. Notable also for the fact that the show was a vehicle to build up the idol career of Mami's voice actress, Takako Oota. Creamy Mami was her debut as both, VA and singer.
  • Mino Shinohara, the main character of Magical Stage Fancy Lala.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima!, some of the girls in Mahora have a music band named Dekopin Rocket. Ako Izumi is a member (more exactly, the bassist), and her A Day in the Limelight episode centers around their debut.
  • An episode of Martian Successor Nadesico is devoted to this concept (and poking fun at Macross) when Nergal, looking to promote the most manipulable ditz they could find, decides to hold a beauty/talent competition to select a new Captain. Most of the higher-rated contestants sing idol-style although not, oddly, Megumi Hayashibara's expy.
  • Mekakucity Actors: "Kisaragi Momo, age 16! Occupation, idol!". Played with; Momo herself doesn't think she's all that good at singing, or special in any way really, but her eye-power (Captivating Eyes) makes people flock to her whether she wants it or not, and scored her a record deal; she only agreed in the first place because her family was in a rough spot. The nation-wide recognition she now has at age 16 is the source of her conflict, and the subject of her Image Song, Kisaragi Attention.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch has Magical Girl Warrior types of Magical Girls dressed as idol singers that use their singing as attacks.
  • Mink Shiraishi, Kanoka Moriyama, and Mahoko Toriumi from Mink (Cyber Idol Mink in Japan) all fit this image well. Thanks to the futuristic software WANNA-BE, they can transform into singing sensations with just a voice command to their fashionable cell phones.
  • Lacus Clyne from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED starts (or appears to start) as a naïve and sheltered idol singer who later is forced to grow up and become a resistance leader. When she goes into a more secluded life in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, her influence on people is SO strong that The Chessmaster Gilbert Dullindal hand-picks her biggest fan, a Naďve Everygirl named Meer Campbell, to have the epitome of a makeover and replace her. All ends up tragically when Meer, who's struggling with the identity issues she gained during her trials, ultimately dies in an Heroic Sacrifice to save Lacus' life.
  • Lunar Edomae in My Bride Is a Mermaid. For as much popularity as she has, she's a bit of a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing and tries to enforce a Mistress and Servant Boy relationship with Nagasumi.
  • Milan Himemiya, vocalist of the Chocolate Rockers, in Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu. She was a background element for most of the show's run, but finally appeared in person in episode six of Purezza.
  • One of the two leads of Yuri manga Octave is a former member of a four-girl idol group that didn't catch on, leaving her washed up in Tokyo at an age when her former classmates back home have not yet graduated from high school.
  • Onpu Segawa from Ojamajo Doremi, already a seasoned and talented performer when she's introduced.
  • The same can be said about Kurusu Kanako, a.k.a. Kanakana-chan, from Oreimo. Despite being tricked into performing, she still enjoyed the attention and even performs afterwards.
  • Osomatsu-san:
    • Totoko has become an idol singer as an adult. She dresses like a fish. Apparently her career isn't taking off too well.
    • The Matsuno sextuplets tried to reinvent themselves as Magical Idol Singers in the first episode to appeal to modern day viewers.
    • Nyan-chan is a cat themed idol with pink hair who dresses as a cat girl. She actually has an unpleasant personality.
    • Choromatsu is an idol otaku who is a big fan of Nyaa-chan.
  • Deconstructed in Perfect Blue. Mima is an idol singer who attempts a shift into serious acting. Her fans are not thrilled with this decision. Things promptly go to hell.
  • The anime-only Showcases in the Kalos arc of Pokémon are heavily based on idols and are similar to Contests from previous arcs. Serena and Shauna are Performers in the anime.
  • Lack-Two's girlfriend in Pokemon Adventure is Yancy, an Idol Singer he breaks up with because she thinks their relation is detrimental to her career.
  • Masakazu Katsura's Present From Lemon has a male example. Lead character Lemon Sakaguchi wants to become an idol like his Disappeared Dad Momojirou, an enka singer who pretty much died on-stage.
  • Utae Sonokoe from R-15 is the Genius Idol Singer.
  • Noa Kashima from Rail Wars.
  • Sailor Moon examples:
    • Minako, depending on the medium: in the anime she dreams of becoming one; in the live action she already is one; and in the manga she used to dream of becoming one back in her solo series, before the events of the finale made her realize she'd always put her mission over everything else.
    • Rei tried her hand at being one in the live-action series twice, first when Minako effectively forced her to and later to get Minako back to her senses through her competitiveness.
    • Mimete of the Witches 5 (anime and manga) and Kuroki Mio (live-action series) are two villainous examples.
    • Sailor Moon Stars also had the Three Lights, a Boy Band consisting of Bad Boy Seiya, Pretty Boy Yaten, and Smart Guy Taiki. In reality, they were actually women disguised as men (crossdressers in the manga, and gender benders in the 90s anime).
    • Finally, many of the enemies in Codename: Sailor V use idol acts as their disguise. The series also has Ace, a male idol and Minako's true love, who reveals himself as Danburite, the Big Bad, and gets killed by Minako when he won't stand down.
  • Though she denies it, the classmates of Umino Masachika (from Satou Kashi no Dangan wa Uchinukenai) correctly believe that she is the daughter of a male Idol of the same name. Her father was a famous TV Actor and musician, and his songs are used for popular commercial jingles.
  • Tsubasa and Kanade from Senki Zesshou Symphogear. Though the latter was Killed Off for Real in the first episode.
  • Male example, Sho from Skip Beat! is ranked as one of Japan's top ten most popular entertainers.
  • After Radio Bodhisattvon ended in Sore ga Seiyuu!, Kaibara signed on Futaba, Ichigo and Rin as a voice actress idol unit called EARPHONES. Aside from that, several of the voice actor cameos throughout the show are current or former idols.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. In conjunction with the premiere of the second movie, Gainax released a CD and music video of Yoko singing and dancing around in Fanservice-y costumes. Reportedly, they've got one with Nia in the works, too.
  • Run from To Love-Ru becomes one around midway through the story.
  • To Y. Much of the story focuses on several tries to persuade the main character into a career as an idol. His biggest rival is one himself, with the whole series having a hostile outlook on the idol phenomenon.
  • White Album revolves around a girl becoming an Idol Singer and the strain this puts on her boyfriend. It portrays the entire situation as very carefully controlled and managed.
  • Kanon in The World God Only Knows. An emphasis regarding her advertising is that she's trying to return to the pure image of past idols, avoiding the present-day sexualization of the role.
  • Urara from Yes! Pretty Cure 5 and Makoto from Doki Doki Pretty Cure.
  • Asuka on Yu-Gi-Oh! GX defies this trope. Everyone around her from her brother to her teachers wants her to become an idol singer — everyone except her.
  • Male example: Kouji Nanjo of Zetsuai1989 is a VERY popular Visual Kei singer and a huge Broken Ace.
  • The Kodomo no Omocha anime has three girls becoming a pop star sensation and performing together as the group Sho-Roku-Tai. One of them is the protagonist, Sana Kurata, since this takes places after the Kodomo No Omocha Show Within a Show has been cancelled. The other two girls are Mayu Toita, who considers herself as The Rival to Sana, and The Quiet One Ayano Hanamaru.
  • The boys of High School Star Musical are going to a music-oriented school that serves as a stepping stone to help people wanting to be this get their career started, much like in Uta No Prince Sama.
  • Wake Up, Girls! is about seven girls who make up the titular group as they aim to become famous. This anime is notable for being more realistic and cynical than most series about idols, as it clearly shows all the struggles idols have to go through to make it to the top.
  • Yo-Kai Watch has a recurring idol group named "Next Harmeowny". Jibanyan is obsessed with them. Thanks to the franchises extreme popularity the group has been defictionalized.
  • Deconstructed in one City Hunter story arc where Ryo has to be the bodyguard of a young idol: the villain is a Loony Fan who wants her to retire or will 'protect her innocence' that has already thrown acid in the face of another idol, the "normal" fan are so insane she can't let herself be recognized in public or they'll give chase to show their love, trampling anyone in the way, and has a problem with paparazzi trying to cause scandals (with at least one snapping pictures of her while she's undressing. While spying he had seen she stuffed her bra, so...).

    Comic Books 
  • The X-Men's Dazzler, after a long period of effective non-existence in the Marvel Universe, now serves as an in-universe spokesperson for the team thanks to her celebrity status as a former disco/pop/trance sensation. Her concerts are still considered wildly popular and she even has a protege, in the form of new X-Man Pixie.

    Film 
  • The Disney Channel original movie Pixel Perfect revolved around a hologram created by a band who needed a singer. She is, well, a perfect singer and dancer. Not to forget drop dead beautiful.

     Literature 

  • Song at Dawn's author, Jean Grill, calls Troubadours the 'rock stars of the 12th century' and ladies such as Estela and Briez dream of becoming them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Disney Channel's been doing this with many of their teen and child stars (particularly their female ones, although a growing number of the males are getting this as well- the main examples being The Jonas Brothers and recently Ross Lynch), hoping to cash in on them as much as possible before they hit their twenties.
  • Nanami in Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger, who once had an Enemy Mine moment with Furabijou. Nanami did go onto become a successful ninja/idol singer, as evidenced a few years down the line in GoGo Sentai Boukenger vs. Super Sentai. Although in a double subversion, Idol Singer IS a cover for her duty as a ninja, but Nanami clearly enjoys being an Idol Singer on her own.
    • Nanami's direct counterpart in Power Rangers was made a surfer, but Kira in the following season, Power Rangers Dino Thunder, went through her trials and achieved a degree of success as well.
      • in the season after that, Syd is (was?, will be?) one, and cites Kira as her inspiration.
    • Sentai took idol singing to its wackiest in Go-onger with Saki, Miu and Kegalesia forming an idol group to defeat a Monster of the Week that reacted to music.
    • Not to outdo itself, the G3 Princesses were succeeded by the G5 Princes, the Go-on boys forming their own idol group. With spotlights and glitter and cheesy outfits.
    • In Choujin Sentai Jetman, the initially tomboyish Ako was revealed to have become an Idol Singer in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue.
    • Subversion: in Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger, Ranru had previously trained as an idol but gave up because she wanted to be a mechanic.
    • In Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, Candelira performs as an Idol Singer in human form (played by her voice actress, real-life singer Haruka Tomatsu.) Explained in-universe that she is impersonating a real singer whose appearance she can imitate. Mikoto "Meeko" from the Gaburincho of Music movie was also an idol singer, which was actually an important part of the plot.
  • Nickelodeon was late to the party. They also don't push as hard to sell actresses as idol singers, leading to multiple aversions from actors who don't sign up with Nick's record label partner, Columbia Records.
    • Played Straight:
      • Their first real attempt to create an Idol Singer is Miranda Cosgrove from iCarly. They built an entire episode around a plot dedicated to having Carly sing Miranda's single Shakespeare. It has been reasonably successful, as Miranda has been on multiple well attended tours and achieved reasonable record sales. Her most recent tour was sold out across the country until a bus accident cut the tour short.
      • Victoria Justice had Victorious built around her as a singing platform for her Idol Singer role and pushed hard. They brought out a Victorious soundtrack. Her first live performance was in the 2010 Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.
    • Aversions:
      • Jennette McCurdy signed to a rival record label because she wanted to sing Country Music rather than getting pushed into a pop career. As a result, Nick won't let her sing on iCarly or promo her music. The closest she came to singing was rapping in an iCarly/Victorious crossover, and the closest they came to promoting her was a short excerpt from her first single when Jennette expected the entire song. It caused her to lash out on Twitter against Miranda and Victoria by retweeting and responding to people saying she was being screwed and was a better singer than the other two girls.
      • Ariana Grande recently signed up to Universal Records, making her the 2nd Nick star not backed by Columbia.
  • Every Boy Band and female pop star during the late '90s and early '00s falls into this trope.
  • American Idol, as its name suggests, is second only to the Disney Channel in its output of disposable idol singers for American consumption. The most successful singers from the show are pop-rocker Kelly Clarkson (season 1 winner) and country star Carrie Underwood (season 4 winner), both of whom have multi-platinum albums to their name, although it's mainly associated with churning out one hit wonders.
    • Indeed, one of the reasons why Season 8 was so much better perceived (at least talent-wise, thanks Kara) was that Adam Lambert, Kris Allen and Allison Iraheta seemed to be personally determined to push the show as much as possible out of the pop-confection-machine mold.
  • The British version of the show is The X Factor (and before that, Pop Idol), whose most successful winners to date are Leona Lewis and Little Mix.
  • The British Girl Group Girls Aloud was formed by the reality show Popstars: The Rivals.
  • Robin Scherbatsky of How I Met Your Mother used to be one of these, to her great embarrassment.
  • Daddy's Daughters star Liza Arzamasova was promoted as one to capitalize on her new fame, and she released a song called "I am your sun." She has not released any songs since, but has continued to act.
  • Mendol Ikemen is about three girl idols, who after repeatedly getting rejected from auditions (as a result of having to hide from the mob in drag), get talked into posing as male idols instead.

    Music 
  • This phenomenon is Older Than They Think; change the "Japanese" to "British", and you'd have a pretty accurate assessment of the British music scene in The '60s (at least that bit not dominated by British Invasion bands capitalizing on the success of The Beatles). Ready Steady Girls has more details.
  • Idol singers that came in a group of attractive girls or commonly known as "Idol Group" become a cultural phenomenon in Japan since 70's with Pink Lady and Onyanko Club (that had 52 members at the time). In the 2000's, after the wake of popularity of Morning Musume of Hello! Project, many Idol groups successfully debuted thereafter such as AKB48 (and its sisters NMB 48 and HKT 48), Momoiro Clover Z, Tokyo Girls Style, Berryz Kobo, C-Ute, Nogizaka 46, Idolling!, SUPER GIRLS, BABYMETAL of Sakura Gakuin, Passpo, and Dempagumi.inc. They've gained vast popularity and even dominated the music charts, this phenomenon is dubbed as the "Warring Era of Idols" (Idol Sengoku Jidai).
  • By far the best contemporary examples are K-pop groups, which take the Japanese idol manufacturing system and turn it Up to Eleven. Good looks are a must note , but singing abilities and other related talents are optional. Idols undergo long training periods before debuting. If Japanese idols spend at most two years of training before debuting, Korean idols training can go up for a decade. Their stages are extremely carefully choreographed, the idols undergo strict diets, social media is often prohibited. All their hard work, however, seems to have paid off, as it has made K-pop a global phenomenon.
  • Subverted with Perfume in that the group was initially an idol group in their earlier years but as their songs gained a more distinct style of techonopop the group became a "near future technopop unit".
    • Their producer, Yasutaka Nakata, thrives on this, working with several idols looking to break out of their pop image.
  • A specific American example from around the same time as The British Invasion: All the big Motown names were pulled right from the streets of Detroit, which wouldn't make for a very good image. In order to clean them up, Berry Gordy set up a charm school specifically for up-and-coming Motown singers. If they didn't pass, they weren't allowed to perform.
  • In mainstream popular music, over the decades some of the best-known teen-aged girls who rose to fame ... and most of these averting the trop due to genuine singing ability:
    • 1960s: Brenda Lee was perhaps the top female teen singing idol of all time, and perhaps overall the most successful. Hers was a career that transcended her teenage years, as she also flourished on the country charts as she grew into her 20s and 30s. Little Eva and Lesley Gore were probably the top teen stars otherwise. In the early part of her incredible career and association with the Supremes, Diana Ross (who was barely 20 when the Supremes had its Breakthrough Hit "Where Did Our Love Go") could have counted.
    • 1970s: Marie Osmond. Later on, Debby Boone, although she was 21 when she had her monster hit "You Light Up My Life," was often emulated by teenagers and younger for her winsome good looks, charm and clean living (no doubt thanks to her father, Pat Boone).
    • 1980s: Tiffany and Debbie Gibson were easily the top female teen stars, and were noted for their own clean living.
  • In country music, all of whom avert the trope due to actual singing ability:
    • 1970s: Tanya Tucker was easily the top female country singer for more than 30 years, and – like Brenda Lee – had a career that has lasted long into her adulthood; she was just 13 when she had her Breakthrough Hit with "Delta Dawn." Also, due to her crossover success, Marie Osmond ... who to this day remains the youngest singer ever to have a No. 1 hit on the Billboard country charts ... she had just turned 14 when she hit No. 1 with "Paper Roses" in November 1973; like Tucker, her career has lasted into adulthood.
    • 1990s: Le Ann Rimes, who was just 14 when she first hit the national scene with "Blue."
    • 2000s: Say it with me now ... Taylor Swift.
  • His most vicious critics blasted him as nothing but a Teen Idol who corrupted youths with his suggestive hip movements while singing and his love for amplified pop music, dismissing it as "garbage" and "noise." That was nearly 60 years ago, and of course the criticism has softened; many people today who were the critics' ages back then (50s and older) point to him for his powerful baritone voice and clean image, comparably speaking ... and of course that would be Elvis Presley.
  • Vocaloid is a software with the concept of virtual idol singers, you can create music, along with third party softwares (e.g. Miku Miku Dance) for character models. There've been cases of having the virtual singers being projected into real life.

    Video Games 
  • Lenne from Final Fantasy X-2. The game also features a "Songstress" Dressphere that allows any of the characters to transform into Idol Singers during combat.
  • Connie from Steambot Chronicles.
  • Pink Monkey from Ape Escape 2 wants to be one. You fight her during her debut concert. After a few hits, she screams that you ruined her show and then turns into the monkey equivalent of Carrie. In the third game, she changes her image and tries to break out again... and once again pulls out the psychokinesis when you ruin her show.
    • Oh, and also in the third game, the female protagonist is a successful idol singer herself. Monkey Pink was not pleased.
  • Athena Asamiya, best known from The King of Fighters series, holds the day job of Idol Singer when she's not in fighting tournaments.
  • Misora Hibiki from Ryuusei no Rockman (named Sonia Strumm in the U.S. Mega Man Star Force video games, and Sonia Sky in the anime).
  • Rise "Risette" Kujikawa of Persona 4. Having quit the business to try living a normal life, she's left to cope with everybody knowing and loving her manufactured media personality, while she struggles to figure out exactly who the "real" Rise is, or if there ever was one to begin with. Enter her Shadow… In the end Rise decides to come back to the industry, since she has realised that she does like singing and dancing and there's nothing inherently wrong with it.
  • Courtney Gears of Ratchet & Clank is the evil robotic Omnicidal Maniac version of this trope, complete with a song about destroying organic life to a catchy pop beat.
  • In Persona 2 Innocent Sin, Lisa and a few friends unexpectedly got their "Wish" to be idol singers, with a dose of Character Developement (Lisa admitting she doesn't speak a word of English, and revealing how much she hated being the "odd one out"), and plot (the songs were to spread the Joker Rumors further). In a bonus bit of Take That to the exploitative nature of Idol Singing, the manager is a pedophile.
  • THE iDOLM@STER is all about this.
    • Idolcraft is a freeware take on the same concept.
  • Okage. Linda, the idol singer evil king.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 has its own idol singer in the form of Kuna (who is also an ARKS member more than capable of holding her own). She even performs live for the players.
  • You can battle a couple in the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl games.
    • In the Pokémon Gold and Silver and Crystal versions, on the route leading to Mt. Silver, there's a cabin with a girl (using the overworld sprite for the Lass trainer class) and a Fearow in it. If you talk to her, she says that she was once an idol singer, and went to the route leading to Mt. Silver to hide form the paparazzi. She will then give you the TM Steel Wing, and says that she wore a dress inspired by the move at her first live performance.
    • And the Black 2 / White 2 versions bring us Nancy and Christophnote , who appear in various TV shows and are famous singers, too.
    • Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire has Lisia, who serves to reintroduce Pokemon Contests to the series.
  • Catgirl Repre from Atelier Iris 3...
  • Immediately followed by Catgirl Nikki from Mana Khemia Alchemists Of Alrevis.
  • Dark Hero Axel from Disgaea 2 was one of these, but lost his fame before the game started.
  • Makoto Aihara's superstar persona in Rumble Roses XX.
  • Yuna in Galaxy Fraulein Yuna, mostly in backstory but she still does concerts.
  • The "Idol" in UmJammer Lammy was Satan or a demon in the original Japanese version. Executive Meddling changed the level from Hell to an island. (The voice of Lammy was Sara Ramirez, known more for her role on Grey's Anatomy and for multiple musicals on Broadway.)
  • NG Resonance in Deus Ex: Invisible War. Clearly inspired by the Japanese idol singers, she's encountered mostly as an AI-controlled hologram that's way smarter and nicer than the real NG who you meet near the end of the game.
  • The Garner twins from Infinite Space are an example... which the main characters really do not like. Thomas is a fan, but everyone else goes "What the hell is this Grus?" and Franny remarks that at least one good thing came from being imprisoned for as long as she was.
  • Edy Nelson from Valkyria Chronicles wants to be one of these and sees Rosie Stark as a rival because the latter is a Glamorous Wartime Singer, not just a wannabe. Alas, Edy later finds that she is Hollywood Tonedeaf and just floors everyone with her horrible singing, eventually deciding to do acting instead. Her sister in the sequel, Anisette, also wants to become one, and she can sing better despite also being just as tone deaf as her sister, but doesn't have the stamina for it.
  • Lumi in Child of Eden, who is also the virtual face of Q Entertainment's own band, Genki Rockets.
  • Studio SiestA gives us Aqua Seep Seal of Trouble Witches Episode 1, a genius pop-star idol of the sea. Let it be known that no one should ever talk badly about her pop-idol career or her outfit. She won't like it...
  • Neptunia gives us the blue-haired, midriff-baring 5pb., who also had her own radio show in the original game. Neptune and Nepgear are featured as Idol Singers in-game in Mk-2 as well.
  • Sayaka Maizono of Dangan Ronpa is an idol singer. This is what ends up killing her, in a sense. Because of the dog eat dog nature of the business, she was all too desperate to leave the school she was trapped within (as she feared she would be forgotten and left behind), which drove her to attempt murder, as per the "graduation" rules.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica spin off Madoka Magica Portable for PSP; the Bonus Route has Homura convince (or rather browbeat) Mami Tomoe to become one (mainly because, if it works, Mami will have the attention and companionship that she desires, and in fact desperately needs and requires after her Dark and Troubled Past that involved her parents's deaths among other hands, all to keep Mami happy and more emotionally stable, thus keeping her from either going insane or getting herself killed, which Homura has seen happen miltiple times already and wants to avoid)
  • In Rhythm Heaven Fan Club mini-game features an Idol Singer singing typical j-pop song to an audience of monkeys. Also was reproduced in real life, when on one of the promotional tours for the game actual idol sang the song live.
  • Splatoon has the Squid Sisters, Callie and Marie. Being very popular with the young Inklings, they host the Inkopolis News sections and Splatfest online events. They are also Hidden Badasses, being the player's predecessors in the single player campaign and the granddaughters of the war hero Cap'n Cuttlefish.
  • Among the love interests in True Love Junai Monogatari, Ryouko Shimazaki is one of these under the identity of "Sonoko Takahashi". [[spoiler: If one pursues her route, the Player Character will learn that Ryouko/Sonoko has serious issues with how her brother, manager and father figure Tadaki has been handling her career lately...

    Webcomics 
  • The webcomic Megatokyo has Broken Bird Erika, who is an ex-Idol Singer and extremely jaded about the whole experience. But she wasn't thrown away by an adoring public. She quit of her own free will after a little relationship problem. The fact that her persona involved her needing to be a bit of a Stepford Smiler likely didn't help matters.
  • Warren Ellis' Superidol (found here) in which an increasingly scared writer for a pop culture website documents the rise of a computer-generated J-Pop singer who is slowly taking over the world.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • Outside of Japan, the All Grown Up! version of Susie Carmichael is close enough to this trope. She's not actually famous though, just an aspiring singer. Emica works as an example.
  • Possible reference to the phenomenon in Kim Possible, as Señor Senior, Jr. (a young man) wants to be a pop star as his all-consuming life's ambition.
  • Jerrica Benton as Jem fits the basic purpose, as someone that every little girl wanted to be like for her fame, singing and fashion. However, she is presented as a powerful, grown-up member of a rock band and her own manager, not a cute teenage pop-singing pawn. Jem also has some Magical Girl tropes thrown in too.
  • Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi is an Animesque example, starring the cartoon versions of two actual Idol Singers: Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura. Subverted by the real singers, now in their early 40's still being respected performers, considering that their pop rock music appeals to a boarder demographic that simple teenage bubblegum pop.
  • Cherry Jam in Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Bitty Adventures.
  • Ember from Danny Phantom.
  • In her My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic animatic shown at San Diego Comic-Con 2015, Lena Hall's character appears to be one.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/IdolSinger