Olivia Ruiz rose to fame in 2001 as a contestant on the first edition of the TV reality show Star Academy, the French equivalent of American Idol. Subsequently, Ruiz exploited her popularity to secure a record deal and pursue a solo career. Certainly, her Star Academy background has been both a curse and a blessing for Ruiz. On the one hand it allowed her to become a recording artist; on the other it made her immediately suspicious to critics and music lovers, because of the dubious musical merits of such shows. It is thus an unexpected and pleasant surprise to realize than in her solo albums Ruiz is firmly bent in disowning the Star Academy stigma, enthusiastically embracing instead the French chanson genre. More surprising still is the fact that she actually fully succeeded in her goals with the release of her second album, La Femme Chocolat. A marked improvement, both artistically and commercially, over her 2003 debut, J'aime Pas l'Amour, La Femme Chocolat sold over a million copies and turned Ruiz into one of the best-paid French female singers of her generation.