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Idol Singer

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

Much of Asian pop music centers around "idols", entertainers trained in a multitude of performance skills with singing as their primary focus. Idol singers are recruited through multi-level audition processes, manufactured, and managed by media companies as "products" that are influential in advertising, campaigns, and dramas with their image and music. Idols are intentionally marketed to seem normal and approachable in order to be relatable to their fans and be the underdog that everyone wants to support. As such, a core part of the "idol aesthetic", so to speak, is that they are trained to sound like a "normal person" when singing, rather than a trained, professional singer. Their objective is to "sell dreams", which basically means to entertain and be the healing balm that relieves people from the anxiety and stress from their daily lives. As such, most of their public appearances picture show them as charming or having tons of fun.

The concept and marketing model for idols originated from Japanese Pop Music but has also appeared in Korean Pop Music since the 1990s. There has been a shift towards "mega-groups" due to them being more financially successful than solo singers. Most are tightly controlled by their producers and expected to maintain a public image of purity and innocence for brand and marketing purposes through Contractual Purity. While this level of control has loosened somewhat with the growing impact of social media, which allows idols to interact with fans more casually, as well as a Japanese court decision that effectively rendered the "no dating" clauses of idol contracts unenforceable (it's still very in-force in Korea, however), the industry has been slow to overturn its most problematic and exploitative elements. Idol companies are known to ruthlessly discard their talents after a few years of cranking out formulaic hits for any reason they want, or bind them in long contracts. Most idols change careers after the age of 25 due to the industry valuing freshness and youth. Some idols move onto becoming serious actors and singers, while the less successful ones end up becoming a Former Child Star.

The relationship between idols and their fans is also a notable feature, as their longevity is co-dependent on each other. Idols are specifically marketed to create a strong emotional connection with their consumer fan base for the sake of buying their merchandise, and in doing so, fans are viewed as loyal supporters who carry them throughout their career. Some fans may get possessive and believe idols should be Married to the Job, which may lead to Yoko Ohno if a dating scandal happens.

As the Idol Singer trope is more prevalent in Japan and South Korea, there is Values Dissonance involved in the fan culture and how the performers are marketed. Westerners are more likely to find the way they are marketed as exploitative and are often shocked by how strict their Contractual Purity clause is. However, a comparable equivalent in the West is the Disney Channel due to holding a similar image that idol singers are expected to portray. During The New '10s, the Idol Singer trope collided with the anime industry to form the Idol Genre, always on the lookout for new trends to sell Moe merchandise and Dating Sim games.

And yes, Idol Singer has crossbred with Heavy Metal to form the kawaii metal genre (BABYMETAL anyone?)

If an idol is a villain in a Superhero or Magic Idol Singer show, they might be an Evil Diva. The Western equivalent of this trope is a Teen Idol, which may overlap. Do not confuse with the singer Billy Idol. The other wiki has more information about the history of idol singers.

Trope Codifier:

  • The 1964 French film Cherchez l'idole, released in English as The Chase, was the film that spearheaded the Idol Singer movement in Japan and what defined idols as a whole. Sylvie Vartan, the Trope Codifier, was 18 at the time and played a secondary character who was a singer. The Japanese public took interest in her, and later started referring to female singers who shared her aesthetic as an "idol." Her song "La plus belle pour aller danser" sold more than a million copies in Japan at the time.

Fictional examples:

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  • The third season of Aggretsuko introduces OTMGirls, an underground idol group who's still trying to make it big. Retsuko becomes the group's accountant after she accidentally backs into their producer's van, and she later joins the group herself. Later on, the darker aspects of the idol industry are explored when a Loony Fan starts stalking and harassing Retsuko since he doesn't like the direction the group is going in after she joined, culminating in him trying to stab her in public with a boxcutter.
  • The main characters of AKB49 – Renai Kinshi Jourei are training to be idol singers, and the group which they are part of, AKB48, exists in real life.
  • Similar to the above is AKB0048 which is set in a sci-fi future where the main characters are AKB's 77th generation of trainees. The entire soundtrack is made up of AKB48 songs, and the fictional idols use the real dance moves that correspond to each song.
  • Dream Festival! is a project about boy idols which, sadly, has ended.
  • Marginal #4 follows the daily high school lives of the four members of the titular boy band, plus their senpai and kouhai units, Lagrange Point and Unicorn Jr.
  • When Tomo from Azumanga Daioh gives up on attaining the look of anime character Fujiko Mine, she settles for setting her sights on looking like Real Life idols Ryoko Hirosue (in the manga) or Ayumi "Ayu" Hamasaki (in the anime).
  • Idol singer trio Eclipse in Basquash!. They're more tomboyish than the usual example - these girls can play basketball and sing at the same time.
  • Battle Spirits Shonen Toppa Bashin has My Sunshine, who is extremely popular with roughly everyone of every demographic. She tires of the restrictions of idol life and lives a secret double-life as the masked card battler Suiren.
  • Ayumu in Best Student Council is scouted to become one. Shame that didn't work out for her.
  • 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.
  • Case Closed has several examples:
    • Yoko Okino is an older example, as well as Kogoro's main contact in entertainment 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.
    • An episode featured the idol singer Risa Shigaki, nicknamed Risa Purple for her trademark purple-dyed hair. Ran cosplays as her at her concert - and ends up getting kidnapped in her place. The mastermind of the kidnapping is Risa's former bandmate Bianca, out of envy because Risa managed to make it into stardom while she was unable to.
    • After weatching a movie about Girl Bands, Sonoko tries to rope Ran, Azusa, and Sera to become idol singers with her. She fails since Azusa can't really play instruments, but soon they meet a group of ladies who are in a band... and then the band leader/drums player is murdered by the keyboard player, who blamed her for the death of the band's original vocalist.
    • Another case features Rokumichi Hado, a once very popular male idol who is about to return to the musical scene much to the joy of the press and his fans. But then Rokumichi appears dead, his corpse hanging in the middle of a theater stage, and Conan and Amuro must deduce whether the killer was his manager Kanae, the paparazzi Kajiya, or the record label president Fuse. Neither did it: Rokumichi commited suicide over his Dark and Troubled Past. Kanae, his ex girlfriend and the other part of said past, made it look like murder so their tragic bond wouldn't be revealed.
    • An anime-only case has five very famous women, and one of them is the Idol Singer and songwriter Harumi Fukatsu. She's one of the suspects of the case, even, when two of her fellow famous ladies (the top model Asuka Shibazaki and the oil painter Ema Anzai) are murdered. She's a Red Herring, but she does have a personal connection to the case itself: the asshole victims caused her best friend, Sakurako Suzuka, to commit suicide.
  • 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.
  • 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" fans 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...
  • Akihiko and Haruhiko Beppu from Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! are male examples as the VEPPer. They can sing and are popular with the ladies and the guys. They became idols because they wanted to get closer to Gora Hakone, not because they actually enjoyed being idols. Until the end of season 2 that is.
  • Creamy Mami, the Magic Angel is a Magical Girl version, as well as the Trope Maker for the Magic Idol Singer; 10-year-old protagonist Yu Morisawa uses magic to age herself up to 16 and is roped into becoming an idol, with the rest of the series being about her living a double life as herself and the eponymous Creamy Mami. 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.
  • Death Note:
    • Misa Amane is not only a famous actress, but an idol as well. Part of Light's frustration with her is that, as a well-known public figure, it makes it that much harder to cover up her Serial Killer tracks for her.
    • There's also a popular male idol 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.
  • Denjin N: Misaki Kanzaki is the lead of Les Fées (Fairies) idol group. She's passionate about it, but as many point out the group isn't really remarkable compared to other idols, which is something Tadahiro can't stand. In the ending Misaki decides it's really not her thing and quits.
  • 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...
  • Corona, a Quirky Miniboss Squad member from Destiny of the Shrine Maiden. 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.
  • Hikaru "Rabi~en~Rose" Usada from Di Gi Charat (whose full name is a very obvious reference to prominent singer Hikaru Utada) 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 voiced 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 the anime 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.
  • Full Moon has the titular Magic Idol Singer, Full Moon (aka Mitsuki Koyama), and her rival Madoka Wakamatsu. Noticeable in that both Mitsuki and Madoka were voiced by actual idol singers (myco and Emi "Kana" Oota, respectively)
  • The title character of Futaba-kun Change!. It's funny, once you remember the main quirk of Futaba...
  • Gintama has Tsu Terakado, who's a parody of the concept since she's much more foul-mouthed than idols should be; all the lyrics to her songs are threats or insults.
    Otsuu-chan: "Where the hell is your mother from!?".
  • Hayate the Combat Butler:
    • Luca 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Be Back is a Manga Time Kirara manga focusing on a former underground idol who teams up with a Vocaloid producer after her band breaks up and still finding herself desperate to become an idol.
  • Idol Densetsu Eriko (usually translated as "Legendary Idol Eriko") has... well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The sweet and cheery Eriko also has an idol rival, Rei Asagiri, who is of the archetypical Broken Bird type. The series is based on the life of idol Eriko Tamura, known to non-Japanese audiences as Princess Yaeko in Heroes.
  • Idol Dreams is about a 31-year-old office worker who tries an experimental drug that ages her down to 15 years old for 5 to 6 hours. After taking it for the first time, she's scouted to be an idol, and she starts living a double life as one.
  • 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.
  • If My Favorite Pop Idol Made It to the Budokan, I Would Die has the twist of the main protagonist, Eripiyo, being a young woman who's a huge fan of the least popular member of the C-list idol group ChamJam, with the story overall focusing more on the fan perspective of idol culture. Reconstructed, as it shows that as obsessive as she and other idol fans can get at times, it comes from a place of genuine love, with the fans going through great lengths to fully support the titular idol group in their different ventures.
  • Deconstructed in Kakegurui: Yumemi Yumemite, a member of Hyakkao Academy's Absurdly Powerful Student Council, is an incredibly popular idol singer who joined the school in order to get connections to help her achieve her dream of becoming an A-list Hollywood actress. However, spending so much time around legions of Loony Fans and smelly Otakus has made her extremely bitter about the idol lifestyle, but she says she's willing to pretend to like it as long as it pushes her toward the "real" stardom she desires.
  • 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.
  • Kemono Friends has the idol group PPP, of which all the members are Little Bit Beastly penguin girls. The PPP seen in the series is the third generation of the group, and one episode focuses on their first live performance.
  • Key, Miho, and Beniko, from Key the Metal Idol, which also uses their plights to deconstruct the trope.
  • Kirarin☆Revolution focuses on a budding idol, Kirari Tsukishima, who was played by then-Morning Musume member Koharu Kusumi. She released music and performed as the character in concerts and on Oha Suta. Due to Kusumi's success on the show, the second season, Stage 3, adopted a similar format for the other main characters. Hello! Project trainees You Kikkawa and Sayaka Kitahara were cast as original characters to release music with Kusumi as an idol group, while Ships was recast with younger actors to release music and appear on live television as the characters. Several rhythm games were also released for the Nintendo DS along with arcade games.
  • The Kodocha 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 place 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.
  • 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 groups of schoolgirls who form amateur idol units. There's emphasis on the fact that they're "school idols" (female students who sing and dance to promote their school and put together all their music, dance routines and costumes themselves), not professional performers 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.
  • Akira Kogami from Lucky Star, who hosts the Show Within a Show Lucky Channel, is an idol and frequently talks about her career. However, she's never actually seen doing anything idol-related, and the only time she gets to perform onscreen is when she sings karaoke in episode 16, since the staff couldn't afford to book a live concert for her. Her highly jaded personality is likely a Take That! at how an idol's popularity is constantly threatened by the next cutest thing on the block.
  • Numerous characters from the various Macross series, in which idols are frequently the key to saving the day. Despite their overall aesthetics being very typical of idols, their roles in the plot lean more towards the Glamorous Wartime Singer.
    • 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 on her way to becoming an Idol Singer, but due to a traumatic past she abandoned her dream becoming Sharon's creator.
    • Sheryl Nome and aspiring idol Ranka Lee (the green-haired cutie supplying the page image) 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 the show 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, and then the action is kickstarted when one of the Mardook girls is caught by the human Intrepid Reporter protagonist.
  • Fancy Lala: Miho Shinohara, the main character, is another Magic Idol Singer who turns into the idol Lala with the help of a magic sketchbook.
  • Romeo in the Manga Shakespeare adaptation of Romeo and Juliet is a Japanese rock idol.
  • 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.
  • Musuko ga Kawaikute Shikataganai Mazoku no Hahaoya: The demon Valentine became one for both demons and humans, in the hope of helping the two species come together. She's horrified when she learns her voice can force demons to go out of control and is even prepared to give up her career and even her voice for it. Fortunately the cause of this problem is removed and Valentine is able to keep going as a singer without having to sacrifice her voice.
  • 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.
  • My Hero Academia: Vigilantes: Pop Step is a "vigilante idol" who throws impromptu street performances where she sings and shows off her Quirk. To her embarrassment, it soon becomes apparent that no one is really there for her singing, just for her skimpy costumes. She has a constant problem of the police breaking up her illegal concerts. Technically using her Quirk is also illegal, but it's a minor crime, to the point that when she starts getting a chance at real concerts no one even mentions it.
  • 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.
  • invokedOshi no Ko explores the darker aspects of the idol industry and show business in general; idols are cynically referred to as talented liars who can easily sell an illusion to their fans. The story starts with the incredibly popular idol Ai Hoshino being pregnant with twins, which has to be kept tightly under wraps since it breaks the very strict Contractual Purity idols are subjected to. Unfortunately, one small slipup leads one of Ai's fans to learn about this and murder her in a jealous rage. Later on, Ai's daughter Ruby desperately wants to become an idol herself, which her brother Aqua at first tries to prevent since he knows how harsh the industry can be, but he eventually relents.
  • Osomatsu-san:
    • Totoko tries to become an idol singer as an adult. She uses a fish theme as her main gimmick, and even wears a fish costume made out of actual fish. It's later revealed that her idol career isn't really going anywhere at all.
    • The Matsuno sextuplets tried to reinvent themselves as Magic Idol Singers in the first episode to appeal to modern day viewers. Choromatsu in particular is an idol otaku who is a big fan of Nyaa Hashimoto.
    • Nyaa Hashimoto is a cat themed idol with pink hair who dresses as a catgirl. She actually has an unpleasant personality when not performing.
  • 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.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • The anime-only Showcases in the Kalos arc are heavily based on idols, and also bare similarities to the Contests from Hoenn and Sinnoh. Serena and Shauna are Performers in the anime.
    • Way back in the Johto arc, there was a girl named Brittany who sang on stage with her two Igglybuff. Bonus points for being voiced by Yui Horie and being named after singers in Japan and America.
    • Kris' anime counterpart, Marina, wanted to be a Pokémon Idol. She's later shown in advertisements, implying she's become a popular idol. Marina predates the Contests (which have elements taken from idols) but she's also shown to have become a Top Coordinator alongside being an idol.
    • The episode "Crossing Paths" reveals that Jessie auditioned to be in an idol trio as a child. Jessie's two friends were chosen, but not her.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, Yancy from Black 2 and White 2 briefly cameos during Blake's introduction, as he breaks up with her because he thinks their relationship is detrimental to her career. Which is a cover for the real reason he's leaving — he's a secret agent and has concluded she's not a suspect in his case.
  • 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..
  • 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 (manga and Sailor Moon Crystal) and Kuroki Mio (live-action series) are two villainous examples. However, in the 90s anime Mimete was merely an idol wannabe who targeted her favourite idols, though in one episode she seriously considers quitting the Death Busters to become an idol but turns back to evil after Minako beats her in an idol competition.
    • Sailor Moon Stars also had the Three Lights, a Boy Band consisting of Bad Boy Seiya, Pretty Boy Yaten, and The 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 love interest, 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 Mokuzu (from Satou Kashi no Dangan wa Uchinukenai) correctly believe that she is the daughter of a male Idol of the same surname. Her father Masachika was a famous TV Actor and musician, and his songs are used for popular commercial jingles; plus he's invested his money very well, and now lives with his daughter in a Big Fancy House. Sadly, Masachika is also one HELL of an Abusive Parent to Mokuzu, to the point he kills her.
  • After Radio Bodhisattvon ended in Seiyu's Life!, 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.
  • The Shounen Hollywood multiple media franchise features a group of male teen idols. Like Wake up, Girls!, it's a series grounded more in reality, showing the process of trying to get famous, some lying about age in the case of "God", and even a new generation of idols having big shoes to fill after inheriting the name of Shounen Hollywood from their predecessors. It even deconstructs the concept a bit by showing what happened to the original Shounen Hollywod after their band broke up.
  • Silver Nina: Nina's dream is to one day become one of the idol singers she watches on television.
  • Male example, Sho from Skip Beat! is ranked as one of Japan's top ten most popular entertainers.
  • Tsubasa and Kanade from Symphogear. Though the latter was Killed Off for Real in the first episode.
  • In Tamagotchi, one of Mametchi's friends, Lovelitchi, works as an idol singer named Lovelin who is quite popular with other Tamagotchis. As Lovelin, she also appears in a number of non-singing roles in television shows, including as a sidekick for the eponymous character of Gotchiman.
  • 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.
  • Tomica Hyper Rescue Drive Head Kidou Kyuukyuu Keisatsu has Sala Manda, a masked idol and model who dresses like a salamander. Despite this oddity, she's quite popular.
  • 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.
  • Primera the fairy from Magic Knights Rayearth appears as one in an early arc of Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-.
  • Tsukipro started with the Tsukiuta series, about Moe Anthropomorphism characters of months as male idols. It has since grown into a series of 81 idols, including two units of female months. What sets the series apart is its fantasy AU stories and Magical Realism elements, involving magical spirits who live in the dorms with them. Like THE iDOLM@STER: SideM, it features more adult idols than underage. On top of that, the series takes place in real time, so the idols get older every year.
  • The Horse Girls of Uma Musume are champion athletes that double as Idols. One of the prizes for winning a race is getting to be the lead in a Winning Concert, performed to thank the fans for their support. Team Spica runs into trouble early on, when they win their races....and then realize they've neglected to practice for their concerts. (Naturally, the franchise organizes the actresses into idol units to crank out tie-in albums.)
  • In Valvrave the Liberator, Saki was one. She's definitely the Broken Bird style cynical portrayal of this trope - she got into it to escape her Abusive Parents, and it's implied that she was also abused by her producers quite a lot. Specifically, the infamous unusual Horror Hunger attack late in the first season wasn't the first time she's been a victim of that sort of thing. And if she can still remember all of her lines from the movie she starred in back then...
  • 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, putting a lot of focus on callous or careless managers, the precariousness of their careers, and the exploitative side of the industry.
  • In Washio Sumi Chapter, Sonoko tells Washio and Gin about a dream she had where they were an idol group and the audience was made up of cats.
  • 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.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • Urara from Yes! Pretty Cure 5 starts out as a beginner idol, and various episodes are dedicated to her furthering her career.
    • Trinity, an idol group in Fresh Pretty Cure!, is a variation, being dancers instead of singers, but are still treated as idols, and get mobs of fangirls.
    • Makoto from Doki Doki! PreCure (Mackenzie from Glitter Force Doki Doki) starts the series already as a world-famous idol singer named MakoPi, and she is even offered the lead role in a movie due to her previous work.
    • KiraKira★Pretty Cure ŕ la Mode Episode 3 features an idol caled Ayane Misaki, who recurs throughout the series as someone both Ichika and Aoi idolize.
    • In HuGtto! Pretty Cure, the two mid-season Cures, Cure Macherie and Cure Amour, are themed around idols, to go with the career theming of the other girls, as Cure Yell is cheerleader-themed, Cure Ange is nurse-themed, and Cure Etoile is flight attendant-themed. In their civilian forms, Emiru wants to be a musician but is mocked by her sexist older brother and fantasy-forbidding grandfather.
    • Mao from Star★Twinkle Pretty Cure is a Cat Girl-themed idol. She turns out to be one of many fake identities of the phantom thief Blue Cat.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Zombie Land Saga, Kotaro Tatsumi plans to make the main characters into a successful idol group to save Saga Prefecture. There's just the small detail of them all being, well, zombies. The anime as a whole tends to be an Affectionate Parody that both deconstructs and reconstructs Idol Genre series and the Japanese idol industry in general, with zombies being about as on-the-nose of an allegory as you can get for overworked performers repeating the same content. Only two of the main girls have experience as professional idols when they were alive; Ai was the lead singer of Iron Frill, the most popular idol group of the 2000s, while Junko was famous as a solo performer who pioneered the idol industry during the eighties.
  • Mami Miura from The Island of Giant Insects is an idol and she has made mention that she has produced a CD that has sold an impressive amount of copies, and is fairly famous in her school.

  • SERA 00 features a very large group of idol singers, based on AKB48.

    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.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Tokimeki PokéLive! and TwinBee has School Idols just like Love Live! proper, who promote the school they are attending. Also quite possibly the first ever attempt to introduce the concept of Mons to an Idol series, Pokémon that is, in addition to meshing Idols with more traditional Shōnen tropes as well.
  • As Fate Would Have It has Nancy and Christoph (Yancy and Curtis), as they were in canon. Later chapters establish that Nancy learned all of her tricks of the trade from none other than Lisia, who mentored her in not only being an idol singer, but also in Pokemon Contests. Yancy ultimately ends up quitting the idol industry late in the story in order to be with Nate, deciding to pursue a movie acting career instead.
  • Fall Into the River: Allana Corwesh is described as a famous and influential Capitol pop star. Her Beautiful Singing Voice is repeatedly commented on. Jason is dazzled when she asks his opinion on an important matter.

  • Pipp Petals from My Little Pony: A New Generation is the biggest celebrity in Zephyr Heights, known for both her live music performances and social media presence.
  • 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.

  • William Gibson's Bridge Trilogy features virtual idol singers, most prominently Rei Toei (the title character of 1995's Idoru).
  • Milan Himemiya, vocalist of the Chocolate Rockers, in Haruka Nogizaka's Secret. She also does voice acting for anime, as she voices a character in the in-universe anime Nocturne Girls' School Lacrosse Club.
  • How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom: After being appointed as the new king of Elfrieden, one of the new businesses Souma sets up is precisely to promote singers (known as "lorelei" In-Universe) for his people's entertainment in addition to the improvement of their lives. Juna Doma is the most prominent one and quickly gains popularity across the kingdom and beyond, to the point Souma has to keep their engagement a secret to prevent the Yoko Oh No trope from happening.
  • 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.
  • Is This A Zombie?: The Lovely Kira (Sarasvati), who is confronted by her subordinate Seraphim on her stealth who inadvertently gets dragged into becoming one. Then, Haruna gets jealous and steals the show. Finally Yuu joins in as well, thanks to Ariel and Ayumu.
  • In Last and First Idol, Mika Furutsuki wants to be the greatest idol of all, and won't let a little thing like the annihilation of the human race stop her.
  • Kanako Kurusu from Oreimo is one of Kirino's fellow models, but she aspires to become an idol despite her less-than-stellar personality. She goes to numerous auditions and is at one point tricked into participating in a cosplay contest; despite this, she still enjoyed the attention and even performs afterwards.
  • 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.
  • In Suburban Senshi Rise Of The Magical Girl , Vienna Ritz-Carlton is an Idol Singer who also happens to be a (former) magical girl. Paisley Pythia Peinforte also becomes one temporally. Somewhat deconstructed, as the book does not pull any punches on the darker aspects of the business.
  • In the second Light Novel for Tokyo Ghoul, a minor Idol named Mitsuba is stalked by Tsukiyama. It turns out she became an idol to follow in the footsteps of her old sister, who disappeared years earlier while pursuing a career as an Idol Singer. She's noted as being quite unassertive and melancholy, in comparison to the typical image of an Idol.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Super Sentai and its adaptation Power Rangers:
    • In Choujin Sentai Jetman, the initially tomboyish Ako was revealed to have become an Idol Singer in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue.
    • 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.
    • Subverted in Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger, where Ranru had previously trained as an idol but gave up because she wanted to be a mechanic.
    • Power Rangers: Dino Thunder has Kira Ford, the yellow ranger, a high school student who wanted to be a famous singer. One of the episodes focusing on her invoked this trope, by having a producer wanting to control every aspect of her singing career, resulting in her wearing clothing and singing songs she really doesn't like. The episode ends with her breaking ties with said producer, wanting to start a singing career on her own terms. Power Rangers S.P.D., taking place 20 years later, reveals she succeeded, with Syd, the pink SPD ranger being one of her fans.
    • Sentai took idol singing to its wackiest in Engine Sentai Goonger with Saki, Miu and Kegalesia forming an idol group, named G-3 Princess, to defeat a Monster of the Week that weakened when hearing beautiful singing. The group reappears in a later episode to appease a nature spirit haunting a hotel. When that attempt fails, 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 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.
  • Robin Scherbatsky of How I Met Your Mother used to be one of these, to her great embarrassment.
  • Idol x Warrior Miracle Tunes! is a live-action series focusing on the idol group, Miracle2, who live a double life as the Magical Girl Warriors Miracle Tunes. During the show's run, a rhythm game was released on the Nintendo 3DS while the actresses released music and performed in music festivals as their characters.
  • 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.
  • Secret Girls was a web drama in the early 2010s as a collaboration between Ciao Comics (Shogakukan) and Fuji TV, where a group of five middle schoolers lead a double life of being the idol group Secret Girls. The actresses released music and performed as their characters in music festivals.

  • Vocaloid is a software with the concept of virtual idol singers, you can create music, along with third party softwares (e.g. MikuMikuDance) for character models. There've been cases of having the virtual singers being projected into real life.
  • The fictional agency Pythagoras Productions act as Rejet's mascot characters and as their main idol units. They carry 3 groups— Marginal #4 (the main group from which the project took off from), their senpai group Lagrange Point, and their kouhai group Unicorn Jr. Several of the characters, particularly Tsubasa of Unicorn Jr. (cv. Shouta Aoi), are noted for their singing. Rejet has a number of other idol series under their belt as well, such as the HAPPY+SUGAR cast, the characters of FORBIDDEN STAR, the Zenryoku boys, and the cast of the game Star Revolution.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The Beauty Pair, the first breakout native stars of All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling, fell very much in line with this trope, as they were as well known for their singing and dancing as they were for their Tag Team wrestling. Even moreso in that Jackie Sato and Maki Ueda weren't the best singers, dancers or even wrestlers, as The Black Pair demonstrated, but these facts helped fans relate to them as underdogs. Even more, Zenjo had a "retire at 25" policy, and The Beauty Pair were not spared. They did pop up in other promotions, most notably JWP, but Zenjo found an even more popular pair in the Crush Gals, who were also not an example of this trope, "retirement" at 25 aside.
  • Yumi Ohka went against the grain of JD Star's infamous "Athtress" program by trying to be an idol singer rather than a model or actress. That was her gimmick anyway, and she frequently serve as an "intermission" by performing. After four years JD Star considered giving Ohka a serious push but an injury and them going under lead to WAVE getting the privilege. She finally got to the top by defeating Misaki Ohata, who claimed Okha had gotten too old to be succeessful and The World Famous Kana, an actually successful (and evil) wrestling model.
  • Somewhat common in Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling most notably with Maki Itoh as well as the members of Up Up Girls (Pro-Wrestling). The latter are more straight example being a pro wrestling spinoff of the larger idol group Up Up Girls (Kakko Kari) and are meant to be both pro wrestlers and idol singers opening every TJPW show with a performance of one of their songs. Itoh, meanwhile, was formerly a member of the idol group Lin Q however she was eventually dismissed from the group for various reasons (including, notably, the belief that her head was too large). This plays into her gimmick as a bitter fighting idol determined to prove her doubters wrong and demanding acceptance and praise from others.

    Video Games 
  • Pretty Rhythm combines the performance of idol singers with figure skating. Spin-offs of the series include Pretty Rhythm: Rainbow Live, King of Prism (a male-centric sequel for Rainbow Live), PriPara, Kiratto Prichan, and recently Waccha Primagi.
  • Aikatsu! is an idol arcade game franchise aimed at young girls.
  • 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.
  • Ape Escape:
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • The iDOLM@STER is the originator and powerhouse of the genre. Not only does it include several of the most popular female idol series, it's Spear Counterpart, THE iDOLM@STER: SideM, is one of the most popular male idol series, as well. They were also the first to give idols the speculative fiction treatment, with Idolmaster: Xenoglossia.
  • Misora Hibiki from Megaman Star Force (named Sonia Strumm in the U.S. video games, and Sonia Sky in the anime).
  • Persona:
    • In Persona 2: Innocent Sin, Lisa and a few friends unexpectedly got their "Wish" to be idol singers, with a dose of Character Development (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.
    • 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 realized that she does like singing and dancing and there's nothing inherently wrong with it.
    • Persona 4: Dancing All Night introduces Girl Group Kanamin Kitchen, headlined by Rise's rival/friend Kanami "Kanamin" Mashita. Despite the game's Rhythm Game premise, its story is a big Take That! at the idol industry; the very first cutscene features an idol being Driven to Suicide due to the stresses of her job (said idol, Yuko Osada, is clearly based on Yukiko "Yukko" Okada, a popular real-life idol in the eighties who also committed suicide). That said, the game also expresses that despite the many unsavory aspects of the idol industry and the fandom, it can be genuinely fulfilling to perform in front of an audience and connect with your fans, somewhat similar to the message behind Rise's Social Link.
  • 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 (and she even gets an instrumental version of it as her boss battle theme!).
  • Okage: Shadow King. 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.
  • Pokémon:
    • 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. Contests in general are revamped to be more like idols than before.
  • Catgirl Repre from Atelier Iris 3...
  • Dark Hero Axel from Disgaea 2 was one of these, but lost his fame before the game started.
    • Disgaea D2 brings us Lanzarote, who quickly rises up the ranks in popularity, to the point that it's implied she might take the Overlord's position, which Laharl isn't happy about. Crosses over into Evil Diva when it's revealed that she's been using brainwashing music to boost her popularity.
  • Makoto Aihara's superstar persona in Rumble Roses XX.
  • Yuna in Galaxy Fraulein Yuna, mostly in backstory but she still does concerts.
  • Um Jammer Lammy has Teriyaki Yoko, an idol that Lammy encounters in Hell after dying/a tropical island after being sent back in time, though she sings and behaves more like a Western pop artist than a Japanese idol singer.
  • 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.
  • 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 took her family away, 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:
    • Splatoon has the Squid Sisters, Callie and Marie (Get it? Calamari?), who are modeled on modern Japanese idol groups. 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.
    • Splatoon 2 takes place two years later, and the new hip idol double act in Inkopolis is Off the Hook, consisting of Pearl and Marina. Like the Squid Sisters before them, they report the news and have Splatfest hosting duties. Also like the Sisters, they're quite capable in a pinch; Marina is an ex-combat engineer and Pearl's voice becomes a literal superweapon when combined with her Killer Wail. However, they differ from the stereotypical Japanese-style mold in that they write all of their own music, and their music (and overall style) draws more from 90's rap and techno-R&B than Japanese-style idol pop.
    • Splatoon 3 takes place five years after 2 in the comparatively backwater (but rapidly growing) Splatsville, with its news and Splatfests hosted by Deep Cut, a three-man act consisting of Shiver, Frye, and Big Man. Matching the new setting's "Chaos" motif, the trio and their music depart even further from the typical idol mold by having no unifying theme, instead taking cues from Japan, India and Brazil in an eclectic fusion. Like their predecessors, Deep Cut's members are also more than capable of handling themselves in a fight, being part-time treasure hunters who serve as actual boss fights in the single player campaign.
  • In Yakuza 5, Kazuma Kiryu's niece Haruka Sawamura goes to Osaka to pursue a career as an idol singer. Her chapter plays out very differently from the others, revolving around training for a reality show in the hopes of securing a lucrative contract and a Tokyo concert. Despite the game being an open-world beat-em-up, she never throws a single punch, instead engaging in dance-offs.
    • Yakuza 6 starts off where the previous game ended, with Haruka confessing about her relation to Kiryu and runs off after the show to find him. It turns out her confession comes back to bite her hard when everything she does is scrutinized in the public eye as mafia business, ruining her reputation. One substory has Kiryu trying to find a picture of Haruka for a fan and he finds out that after her statement, all merchandise of her was pulled from shelves!
  • ARMS introduces Ribbon Girl, a pop star with a cheerleader theme and ribbon arms. Her multiple mid-air jumps have a music note effect to them, and the music from her personal stage, the Ribbon Ring, has her providing the vocals. She's even described as "the pop star of the ring".
  • The sixth rival of Yandere Simulator's 1980's mode is Ai Doruyashi, who isn't technically an idol, but she aspires to be one and shows to have the talent necesary to achieve her dreams. It's even stated that she spent many years of her life learning how to sing and dance in order to achieve her goals. Canonically Ryoba sabotaged her microphone so it would fatally electrocute her while she was performing a song that uses electricity metaphors.
  • In the mobile phone game Love Nikki - Dress Up Queen one of the craftable outfits, Heart of Miracles, is described as the costume worn by twin sisters that are popular idols in Lilith Kingdom. It comes in pink and blue versions.
  • Uta No Prince Sama started as a Dating Sim game where the main character is a girl in a school for idols, training to be a songwriter. She befriends the male unit Starish and their senpai unit Quartet Night, and begins to write songs for them - while romancing whichever the player chooses. The franchise has been holding stadium concerts for years, and its singles top the charts.
  • The Producer course from Ensemble Stars! gives us a whole group of male idol singers. Both the main game and the manga adaptation explore 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, and they pour in a lot of blood, sweat and tears to become stars, with many ending up with their dreams crushed.
  • Idolish 7 focuses on four groups of male idols.
  • Juri Minesei of Omega Labyrinth Life is the Idol Singer for her school, Belles Fleurs Academy. Among other things, she has a Custom Uniform that doubles as her stage outfit, legions of fans among her peers, and many skills that focus on her talents in singing and dancing.
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE is set in the idol industry, as the supernatural Mirages are drawn to creative energy.
  • 100% Orange Juice! has Sham and Sora, who have teamed up to form a duo of idol singers known as the Cuties. They even have their own Image Song, "Ultimate Weapn Girl", which sounds when they use their Hyper, and can be acquired via DLC. It's a case of Hilarious in Hindsight, as Sham has aspired to become a singer since her home game, and even asked Sora to join in.
  • In Genshin Impact, Barbara is the nearest thing Mondstadt has to one, and in fact learned the very concept of idols from a foreign magazine. This is reflected in her skills, which take the form of visible music. Her character story mentions that her idol performances sounded strange to the people of Mondstadt who are used to the songs of bards, but eventually they embraced her songs, befitting the City of Freedom. Diona is jealous of Barbara for having young people as her fans while Diona's fans are drunk middle-aged men.
  • Quantum Protocol: The hacker codenamed "Idol" has a day job of being an idol while somehow incorporating her programming skills into her performances. Unfortunately, this means Queen can hack into these performances to leave behind a calling card, something that annoys Idol to no end.
  • Dead by Daylight has a very dark take on K-pop idols in Ji-Woon Hak, who used to be part of a boy band called NO SPIN. Growing jealous of his bandmates' popularity, he commited Murder by Inaction by leaving them trapped inside of a recording studio when the building caught on fire. He then went on to accomplish a successful solo career as The Trickster, where he had a Darker and Edgier image... in part because he moonlighted as a Serial Killer, sampling the screams of his victims in his songs. Finally, after Executive Meddling stopped him from producing his own songs, he retaliated by torturing his record label's board members to death while forcing the talent scout who recruited him to watch.
  • Fate/Grand Order: Following her appearances in Fate/EXTRA and the subsequent games, the Lancer version of Elisabeth Bathory hopes to become one of these, yet between her draconic heritage strengthening her vocal chords and her own lack of singing rhythm, her attempts land her straight into Dreadful Musician territory, her songs coming off more as screaming too loud. That said, her Grand Order profile implies that her lack of success is due to her selfishness at wanting to become an idol; if she ever were to sing for someone else's benefit, she'd enjoy much more success.
  • Idol Manager is a game about, well, managing one or more groups of female idols, training their singing and dancing, and making them look attractive, while trying to keep your idol company afloat and keep them from having injuries or emotional meltdowns.
  • Mega Man X DiVE: For the 2022 Valentine's Day event, RiCO and iCO gain variants with this motif.
  • Miitopia has the Idol Class (renamed as Pop-Star in the west). They take a role similar to a bard, using music to make enemies dance, or buffing their allies. Their weapon of choice are microphones which they throw against multiple enemies.
  • Lapis Re:LiGHTs is an entire series of this alongside Magical Girl elements. All of the main cast are currently studying to be or were witches at Flora Girls' Academy, which trains them in magic, combat against Magical Monsters, and performing live shows called "Orchestra" in order to gather magic power from civilians and help fuel themselves and their Magitek world.
  • Princess Connect! Re:Dive features an idol guild known as "Carmina", who promote themselves as idol singers while also working as adventurers. Nozomi, the leader and face of the group, wields a sword. Chika is a Song Summoner, her singing able to call spirits to her aid in battle. Tsumugi provides the stage outfits for her bandmates, and can also use her threads to bind and restrain enemies during combat. In the anime, while they appeared in the opening for the first season, they aren't officially introduced until the second episode of Season 2.
  • Wumela from the Richman series is one who starts her career when she was 13. Her singing and dancing are so professional, even October, and old farmer who usually interested in Taiwanese opera, loves her performances while sing and dance with her music videos.

    Visual Novels 
  • Sayaka Maizono of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is an idol singer, and Makoto’s Love Interest. She is also a rare villainous and quite manipulative example who tries to kill Leon and frame Makoto for it. 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.
  • The seven heroines of Shining Song Starnova are all members of the newly-formed Starnova idol unit, and the game’s story revolves around their efforts to become successful in the industry while also coming into conflict with the much larger and more popular group Quasar.
  • In Spirit Hunter: NG, Momo Kuruse is an idol that's gained notoriety for her occult interest and aesthetic. Her true identity is Kaoru Hazuki, a friend to the first victim of Kakuya's curse. Akira's cousin is a fan of Momo, and changes his ringtone to one of Momo's songs. The same song is sung by Momo herself in a bonding scene with Akira, and can also be sung by Akira's best friend in an optional scene.
  • Among the love interests in True Love Junai Monogatari, Ryouko Shimazaki is one of these under the identity of "Sonoko Takahashi". 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...
  • 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.

  • Combagals Snuggly and Sleepy from Furry Fight Chronicles are idol singers apart from being professional fighters. Snuggly even complements her career as an idol and Combagal by promoting her songs before her matches.
  • 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 at the height of her career 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.
  • NEXT!!! Sound of the Future is a fancomic that reimagines the Vocaloid vocal synthesizer programs as mass produced androids that are created to be idol singers, although some of them go on to do other jobs in the entertainment industry or even eschew pursuing fame entirely.
    • Tech used to be an extremely famous idol, as a result of her being one of the first four Hatsune Miku androids ever created. Her music was a huge inspiration for main protagonist Shine. The circumstances behind her retirement are shrouded in mystery, although Shine theorizes she may have been let go by her agency to be replaced by a newer unit.
    • Shine aspires to be an idol singer herself, something that she thought would be impossible for her because she has a bug that makes her unable to sing. She also doesn't even really know what exactly an "idol" is supposed to be, and wonders if she even has the talent, drive and connections it takes to be one.

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  • Kanon's RomCom Mangas: Homura has a crush on an idol singer named Tsurara, however when he goes to meet her in a handshake event, she recognizes and enthusiastically shakes her hand with him, causing him to be confused and happy at the same time. She turns out to be Hyoka Shiomi, the bland-looking girl who's sitting next to him in his classroom, making Homura realize he was having a crush on his classmate all along.
  • Manga Room: I Ran Away With A Beautiful Idol Girl And Something Terrible Happened stars Sana as a runaway idol chased by her manager and sheltered by Shota, who is a stage construction manager. She tells Shota that the reason she ran away was that her manager told her that they're going to make a primetime TV show about her group and for that, she had to spend a night with the producer.
  • RomCom Manga Chan: Aoi was a former idol but she quit due to the CEO being too obsessed with her and became homeless. Kota met her and let her move into his house. When the CEO and his cronies showed up at Kota's work looking for her, he decided to get Aoi to try to get her away but a traffic accident occurred. Fortunately, the CEO and his cronies were arrested and put in prison for their crimes.
  • On The Edge: The Punishment episode The violent idol management company gets punished features a group of idols for which protagonist Jiro Kurebayashi worked as a manager. However, he later finds out the CEO pimped the girls out to sponsors in exchange for money and contracts. The bastard even had them sign a contract that forced them to pay a considerable penalty fee if they dared to leave. Thankfully, Jiro tells the girls to leave before going off to beat the crap out of the shady CEO.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • HJ5 from Kuu Kuu Harajuku themselves.
  • 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, Countess Coloratura, appears to be one.
  • Sunny Day focuses on 3 girls who run their own hair salon and are their own idol group, singing songs at least Once per Episode.
  • Four Eyes!: Mindy, a purple-haired pop princess whom Emma takes a shine to after hearing a song on the radio that specifically talks about hating milkshakes and being "alone on Earth," which resonated with the extraterrestrial Emma. Due to not knowing the concept of industry-backed singers, Emma takes the song literally, and obsesses over her to the point that she nearly blows her cover just to prove they are supposedly cut from the same cloth.

Real Life examples:

    Anime & Manga 
  • Because of the popularity of the Idol Singer trope in anime, lots of voice actors have an overlap in the idol genre, especially actresses who started their career as an idol trainee before entering the voice acting industry. Voice actor idols ("seiyu aidoru") did not become popular until the late 1990s and early 2000s, when late-night anime became popular. However, the Tokyo School of Anime credits the following people for being examples that helped launch the phenomenon:
    • 1970s: Toshio Furukawa and Tōru Furuya were the first example of voice actors with an idol-like presence and large fan base after they created the band Slapstick following their appearances on Mobile Suit Gundam.
    • 1980s: Noriko Hidaka was a former Idol Singer who eventually became a voice actress.
    • 1990s: Hekiru Shiina, Mariko Kouda, and Megumi Hayashibara were not just voice actresses, but they also held a concurrent singing career on the side that was just as successful as their voice acting.
  • In the 2000s, when late-night anime became popular, allowing for voice actors themselves to appear on television, Yui Horie, Nana Mizuki, and Yukari Tamura were intentionally marketed as idols by their record labels.
  • Aya Hirano was a wildly popular voice actor idol after voicing Haruhi Suzumiya at the age of 18, except it went nowhere when it turned out she didn't care about maintaining an idol image.
  • Rumi Shishido joined the idol industry at age 14, and then later moved onto voice acting in the mid-1990s. She still calls herself an idol and performs at indie events, credited for being part of the early underground idol movement.
  • Yui Ogura and Kaori Ishihara used to train at Up-Front Works and had formed the duo YuiKaori during their early career.
  • Sayaka Kitahara is an ex-trainee from Up-Front Works who eventually became a full-time voice actress following her stints with Kirarin☆Revolution and Inazuma Eleven, where she portrayed the characters in live-action media in addition to voice acting.
  • Nanabun no nijyuuni is a multimedia project of "real-life anime idols" created by AKB48 producer Yasushi Akimoto, Aniplex, and Sony Records Japan, with newcomer voice actresses portraying an idol group in animation and in real-life. Some of the members of the group have voice acted in outside projects.
  • An aversion: Shouta Aoi is often mistaken for being an idol singer due to having an active concurrent singing career (and also because he was a singer prior to entering voice acting). Despite voicing many Idol Singer characters, he is officially marketed as a "voice actor artist", as he is directly involved in music production.
  • StylipS and iRis are idol voice actor groups.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Disney Channel's been doing this with many of their teen and child stars, some well-known ones being Hilary Duff, Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, The Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, Zendaya and Ross Lynch, hoping to cash in on them as much as possible before they hit their twenties. Many of these singers cross-promoted other Disney shows and had a merchandise line of their own.
  • 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 wouldn'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 signed up to Universal Records' Republic label, making her the 2nd Nick star not backed by Columbia. Unlike the other three mentioned Nick stablemates, she ended up being the most successful of them all and eventually moved on out of her Teen Idol image.
  • 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), which, unlike most examples, does allow auditionees over the age of 25, which are included in their own category. Its most successful winners to date are Leona Lewis and Little Mix, though its biggest success story comes from One Direction.
  • The British Girl Group Girls Aloud was formed by the reality show Popstars: The Rivals.
  • 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.
  • The South Korean Produce 101 series (including Produce48, a collaboration with AKB48 groups) focuses on gathering 101 trainees from various talent agencies and having the audience (referred to as "producers") select which trainees they want to be in the final group line-up. The "producers" get to select the group's name and songs, and the winners enter a contract to perform exclusively for several years.

  • The 1970s were formulative years for idol singers in Japan, jumpstarting the careers of Momoe Yamaguchi and Junko Sakurada, who became famous after being scouted through audition television programs. The first well-known idol singer groups were Candies and Pink Lady.
  • The 1980s was known as the "Golden Age of Idols" and were mostly defined by Seiko Matsuda and Onyanko Club. Onyanko Club was the first super group of idols with a "graduation system", lasting two years and with 52 members, and their format can be seen in other rotating idol groups such as Morning Musume and AKB48.
    • One of the biggest success stories in the idol industry, particularly in the "graduating into a proper music career" aspect, is Naoko Kawai (most famous - at least to anime fans - as the singer of "Manhattan Joke" from Legend of the Gold of Babylon). In an industry where careers usually last five years or less, it says a lot she kept making music for sixteen straight years before quitting to focus on her family. (Her daughter Kaho had a brief idol career, but opted not to follow up on it after learning she would have to move to Japan, Naoko and her family having moved to Australia after her first child was born.)
  • The 1990s saw a decline in idol singers in the first couple of years due to young people preferring rock music and being "artists", but it also launched Namie Amuro's career. Also, it was known as the "Chidol Boom", where child idols (elementary school aged idol singers) became popular. Morning Musume and Arashi became popular during this era.
  • The late 2000s and The New '10s what the media called the "Warring Period of Idols" (Aidoru Sengoku Jidai) due to exponential growth of idol groups debuting during that time, which is not helped by the anime industry having a hand in this too. Idol groups that debuted during this time included AKB48 and their sister groups NMB48, HKT48, and SKE48; AKB48's official rival groups Nogizaka46 and Keyakizaka46; Hello! Project groups Berryz Kobo, C-ute, and S/mileage (later known as Angerme); Momoiro Clover Z, Tokyo Girls' Style, Idoling!!, Sakura Gakuin (and maybe its More Popular Spin-Off Babymetal), etc. These days, over 3,000 idol groups perform in Japan... and that's only counting female groups.
    • To stand out, some idol groups have taken an "anti-idol" image to stand out from the norm. Examples include Momoiro Clover Z and Babymetal. The first is the first well-known example, while the second is a fusion between Heavy Metal and idol pop. Frontwoman Suzuka Nakamoto describes Babymetal as a fusion of Idol-pop and Heavy Metal and Japanese press often refer to it as a "Metal Idol Dance Unit", it otherwise defies most trappings of Idol-dom: the pop aspects of the music have dwindled over time, the girls have zero public social media presence, have never put out a photobook (their work with Sakura Gakuin excepted), have held no meet-&-greets since 2013, and kept the same lineup for seven years – only changing due to (according to official sources) the collapse of Yui Mizuno's health… and no "graduation" was held for her, just a short notice she had left which was itself deleted after a short time.
      • The desire for groups to stand out as well as the sheer number of them has given rise to what's termed as chika (i.e. underground) idol. As the name implies it's much more of an indie affair with groups often times performing shows in small clubs or music venues to audiences which usually number from a few dozen to at most a couple hundred. This tends to lead to a much more intimate connection between the performers and the fans, notably with the practice of cheki or getting some instant Polaroids taken with a performer while having around one to three minutes to chat with them. For the actual performers the need to stand out tends to lead to even more experimentation from their producers (or themselves if they're self-managed), especially in regards to the use of seemingly unconventional (for idol) musical genres such as Progressive Rock, Punk Rock, Synth-Pop or Shoegazing. These groups are also sometimes called "live idols" as their focus is more on live performances rather than the typical cross media promotion associated with mainstream idols while fans in the west tend to label them as alternative idol or "alt-idol". Notable names to emerge from this scene include Necronomidol, You'll Melt More! and BiS (as well as its various spinoff groups under the WACK label).
  • Perfume started out as an idol group, but after gaining Yasutaka Nakata as a producer, they are marketed as a "near future technopop unit".
  • The Distaff Counterpart to female Japanese idols would be any act hosted by Johnny's Entertainment. Johnny's Entertainment is well-known for producing popular male idol acts like SMAP and Arashi. They are so powerful and influential that it's rumored that the company personally eliminates any competition from other male idols by forcing big music programs not to invite them onto their shows to promote, so much that other competing male idol groups have rebranded themselves as "dance and vocal units" to avoid clashing with the Johnny's.
  • In the Korean Pop Music industry, most idols undergo training periods before debuting that, depending on the company and the idol, can last from less than a year to (in the most extreme cases) more than a decade - while good looks in the industry are very important, there's also an emphasis on dancing and singing skills. Most idols within groups have positions and roles (such as main/lead dancer, main/lead rapper, leader, etc.) that are decided based on their talents and personal qualities. They're also entertainers, often making appearances or even starring in variety shows, and a lot of effort is put into visual content (such as music videos and concept pictures) and artist/fandom connection (particularly through social media in recent years). Idols' hard work is thus often acknowledged and repaid for by fans.
    • The restrictions and creative freedom a Korean idol may have can vary depending on the company and the idol's experience; while some companies like SM Entertainment are infamous for their tight control over artists (as frequently portrayed in Western media), there's an increasing amount of groups in the industry with looser contracts and/or with Singer-Songwriter members, some to the point of going beyond the usual perception people have of idols. Notably, global sensation BTS are well-known for writing their own songs (some with sociopolitical commentary) since pre-debut, owing to their Hip-Hop influences - in fact, their creative control is credited as one of the main reasons behind their loyal fanbase and worldwide success.
  • In America, the boy bands and female "pop princesses" of the late '90s and early '00s are probably the most famous examples of this trope. Britney Spears as a big Teen Idol during her teenage years, and her Pepsi commercial is still memorable until this day. Many of the biggest boy bands (including the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC) were formed by Lou Pearlman, a businessman from Orlando whose talent agency, Trans Continental Records, turned out to be a front for a Ponzi scheme that got him sent to prison.
  • 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.
  • A specific American example from around the same time as The British Invasion: all of the big Motown names were pulled right from the streets of Detroit, which is not the kind of image you want to sell to a greater American audience. 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 teenage girls who rose to fame... and most of these averting the trope 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.
  • 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 sixty years ago, and of course the criticism has softened; many people today who were the critics' ages back then (50s and older) now praise Elvis Presley for his powerful baritone voice and clean image, comparably speaking.

    Web Original 
  • hololive is a Virtual Youtuber group marketed as idols, though only a handful of the fifty plus talents are primarily singers (Sora Tokino, AZKi, Suisei Hoshimachi, Rikka, Watame Tsunomaki, Calliope Mori and IRyS) while and most of them are better known for their game streams and other variety content. Which isn't to say that the other members don't or aren't as capable as they are putting out original songs, more so since the Floral Circlet series and the Bloom concert, but Let's Plays are still the bulk of their output. They also have an interesting relationship with traditional idol culture: At first, the talent were made to adhere to it and presented themselves with the expected pure and sweet image befitting idols, causing friction with some of the raunchier and more chaotic within their ranks (notably Matsuri Natsuiro and Coco Kiryu), until management stopped doing so when they realized how popular Hololive was getting precisely because they weren't "pure idols" and were given freedom to be themselves and become the eccentric bunch they are better known as.


Video Example(s):



Yumi, one of the two playable characters from Ape Escape 3, is a 9-year old idol singer who's a sensation all over Japan. The game opens with her aunt, Aki, watching one of her programs on TV, and her stardom acts as a defense mechanism against the Monkeys in-game.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / IdolSinger

Media sources: