Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Justin Timberlake He Is Not

Nova TV doesn't have much luck with its reality shows. First they lost their main star Marin Tironi, then Tironi's transfer to rival HRT (state television) and subsequent mudslinging gave ammunition to all those who would like to accuse Nova TV of promoting drug use among Croatian youth.

Then comes Story Supernova Juniors, music talents show designed for children and teenagers under 16. The show, co-hosted by Anja Alavanja (one of Story Supernova contestant and currently the closest equivalent to Britney Spears in Croatia) has been recently smeared by the alleged child abuse committed by Josip Katalenić (Josip Katalenic), 22-year old pop singer who, together with Ms. Alavanja, works as a jury member.

Apparently, Katalenić didn't take his job very seriously – when on air, he pays little attention to young wannabe singers and their singing abilities (or lack of). Instead, he does everything in his power to bring camera attention to himself. Katalenić's favourite method is making faces, using bizarre gestures and sniping sarcastic remarks at the unsuspecting young contestants. One of the most troublesome escapades involved giving his hotel room number to 14-year old female contestant – in front of camera.

After a while Katalenić's antiques have been criticised in Jutarnji List television supplement, but now some Croatian children rights NGOs are urging Nova TV to sack Katalenić. Young pop star responded to accusations by claiming that the whole campaign is a result of an influential parents having their child being rejected at the show. He also involved politics into this, because Katalenić's father happens to be deputy minister of small business in Račan's (Racan's) cabinet.

On the other hand, negative publicity is probably good publicity for Katalenić, whose blonde hair and boyish looks failed to create armies of screaming female teenager fans and thus establish him as one of Croatian pop icons. Katalenić is no stranger to scandal – he was involved in a traffic accident, but nothing matched his answering a mobile phone in the middle of concert (while his voice still sang from the loudspeakers).


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