Instant Star was a Canadian Soap Opera and Teen Drama created by Linda Schuyler (the same woman who created Degrassi: The Next Generation). Lead character Jude Harrison, an amatuer singer-songwriter musician, wins an American Idol-type competition and recording contract and is instantly thrust into the world of celebrity and fame. She has to overcome problems with both her personal and professional life, such as her parents' divorce and maintaining her career and pleasing her record label.
The show, like Degrassi, is very much like a Soap Opera, oftentimes outdoing Degrassi with completely outlandish plots and characters. But also like Degrassi, it is balanced with a teenage realism and feel. The soundtrack to the series is pure teen pop, which pretty much makes this show the ultimate Guilty Pleasure. It aired on CTV in Canada and on Noggin's teen block, The N, in the United States.
This TV show has examples of the following:
- Adam Westing: Stacey Farber and Aubrey "Drake" Graham guest starred as themselves on one episode. The show has also had fun with the Degrassi cast members in some commercials, such as this one.
- The Alcoholic: Patsy, which leads to her demise.
- Alpha Bitch: Karma, the newest Instant Star acts like this towards Jude.
- Animal Wrongs Group: Jude had red paint thrown at her while wearing a fur coat by a PETA Captain Ersatz group.
- Asian Airhead: Karma, the type one "Trixie Tang."
- Bittersweet Ending: Jude accepts a record contract in London, and the future looks bright for her — unfortunately, she breaks up with Tommy and chooses her music over him. Fortunately for fans of the ship, the web finale rectifies this.
- Boy Band: Tommy was part of Boyz Attack, an old 90s boy band. He doesn't like to be reminded of that, as he's moving on to be a top producer.
- Break the Cutie: The instant fame Jude gains comes with a lot of heartache. The first season was especially rough on Jude, with being dumped publicly and her parents divorcing.
- Cool Big Sis: Sadie, towards Jude.
- Divorce Assets Conflict: Jude and Sadie's parents divorced in the second season and this was the cause for much stress for Jude.
- Fiery Redhead: Jude. Actress Alexz Johnson's hair is naturally blonde, though, and in Season Two, she went with the blonde look.
- The Jailbait Wait: Jude and Tommy, Jude was 16 at the beginning of the series and had an attraction to Tommy and Tommy was fighting his attraction to her, but once she turned 18, they decided to pursue the relationship.
- Killed Off for Real: Patsy, due to driving drunk.
- Left Hanging: The show's fourth season was planned to be the end, but a lot of plot threads weren't closed, most likely leaving those open for a possible fifth season. It didn't happen, though a later web finale did provide some closure.
- Love Triangle: Jude, Tommy and Jamie. This was the driving force for much of the show.
- Meaningful Name: Jude and Sadie Harrison.
- Music Is Politics
- Pass the Popcorn: Jude is seen eating from a bowl of popcorn while Tommy talks to a bandmate with whom he doesn't get along.
- Put on a Bus: Jude's friend Kat appeared sporadically in the second season before heading out on a Long Bus Trip.
- Rock is Authentic, Pop is Shallow:
- The earnest punk rocker Jude ends up winning the Instant Star competition (an American Idol-type show) against her Eden, a typical pop princess complete with big hair and an affinity for the color pink. Eden then becomes a rival to Jude in the first season.
- Later on after Eden gets Put on a Bus, Jude gets a proper rival in the form of Karma, another pop singer to leans into the Contractual Purity aspect of Teen Idol-dom.
- Ship Sinking: The two main ships, Jude/Tommy and Jude/Jamie, were torpedoed in the last season, much to the fans' chagrin.
- However, a web finale was filmed that shows Jude marrying Tommy years later, and having his baby.
- Show Within a Show: The Instant Star competition, which is obviously modeled after American Idol.
- Straight Gay: Instant Star winner #2 Mason, who is a country music singer.
- Yandere: Megan, in the show's fourth season.