Dominika Stará (born August 13, 1993) is a Slovak pop singer and bronze medallist in the first season of the Czecho Slovakian Superstar (Česko Slovenská Superstar) – a widely watched Pop Idol series based talent search competition hosted jointly by the two states’ commercial television stations Markíza (Slovakia) and TV Nova (Czech Republic) September through December 2009. The show, broadcast live from Bratislava on Saturday and Sunday nights, was won by Martin Chodúr (Czech Republic) shortly before Christmas. Although Stará did not win the talent contest (not split into categories according to gender), both the media and musical critics in either state did not fail to point to the fact that she emerged as the show’s most successful female singer.
Stará was born in Dunajska Streda and grew up in the western Slovakian town of Šamorín, near Bratislava, and has two younger brothers. Her mother Adriana, is a private entrepreneur and runs a beauty parlour and her father Ján is employed as an IT specialist. She owes her talent for singing to her parents, both of whom come from musically inclined families and lead church choirs in Šamorín. Prior to her debut in the Czecho Slovakian Superstar, Stará had taken part in a number of talent contests for young aspiring singers in Slovakia. She started to sing when she was 3 years old. Like many other young singers, she also feels drawn to theatre drama and acting. After graduating from the high school she currently attends in her home town of Šamorín, Stará wants to study media communication and international relations, and is determined to remain faithful to music and singing.
Czecho Slovakian Superstar
In the summer of 2009, Stará was one of almost 12,000 participants (aged 15-30), who aspired to make it through to the select group of 24 singers, to be picked out by a four-member jury and appear in the semi-final rounds of the TV show. As she herself put it at the opening casting, her dream had just been to try her luck and hear what Palo Habera (a Slovak pop singer and one of the four judges) thinks of her voice. Her parents agreed to put off a summer holiday trip to Crete to help that dream come true. It turned out to be a good decision, for in the end the modest teenager achieved far more than what she originally hoped for.
During the course of the semi-final and final rounds, Stará sang 16 songs that included some of the most famous hits by pop stars as diverse as Barbara Streisand (Memory), Madonna (Like a virgin), Kim Wild (You came), Sinéad O’Connor (Nothing compares to you ), Eric Clapton (Tears in heaven), Avril Lavigne (Complicated), Lara Fabian (Je suis malade), Suzie Quatro (If you can’t give me love), Jennifer Hudson (One night only), Roman Keating & Lulu (We’ve got tonight), Heart (Alone), as well as by Czech singers Karel Gott (Lásko má) and Michal David (Děti ráje), and Slovak pop stars Marika Gombitová (Vyznanie) and Richard Müller (Tlaková níž and Štěstí je krásná věc).
Some of the judges at first criticised her voice for “not being mature enough“ (the age limit for entry was 15) but later on in the show, they praised her for her performance on stage, charisma, and, above all, for her intonation and flawless handling of even the most difficult songs she chose to sing. Stará was also regarded as the show’s most telegenic contestant. She endeared herself to the Slovak and Czech TV audiences because of her down-to-earth style, natural demeanour and modesty. Her ever-smiling face started to fill the cover pages of both Slovak and Czech magazines. In interviews Stará made no secret of her religious beliefs and upbringing, and emphasized family values as being of greatest importance to her.
Leoš Mareš, the show’s Czech co-host, would point with unhidden enthusiasm and satisfaction to Stará’s great popularity in the Czech Republic. The fact that so many Czech TV viewers fell for Stará right from the start was often quoted as another evidence, that despite the division of Czecho-Slovakia 17 years ago, the two nations still continue to cherish their strong cultural and linguistic bonds. Many Czech TV viewers spoke with admiration about Stará’s Slovak pronunciation, appreciating at the same time also the fact that despite being Slovak, she sang Czech songs without a trace of a foreign accent. Stará managed to survive all eliminations with ease (and even won the final’s fourth round) except for the last but one final round in which she finished third. Judges, critics, media, and fans all agreed that her best moments came, when she sang her favourite song Je suis malade (after which she started to be regarded as one of the show’s top favourites for overall victory). Although finishing third, Stará was one of the competition’s pleasant surprises, and became the darling of TV audiences in both parts of the former federation.
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