Impostor syndrome

Who Replaced Avril Lavigne logo

Who Replaced Avril Lavigne review

Production company – BBC/CBC

Rating – 4 brains

One thing that is certainly true nowadays is that we all love a good conspiracy theory. Whether you are dipping your toes into the JFK assassination, or you are a full blown frothy mouthed COVID denier, there will be something online to keep you up at night.

One of the most enduring conspiracy theories is that of the celebrity death cover up. One of the earliest was the story of Paul McCartney. After (allegedly) dying in a car crash he was replaced by one Billy Shears. JUST LOOK AT THE ALBUM COVERS!!! (only joking). One that may have passed you by though is that Canadian pop-punk princess Avril Lavigne had been replaced by an impostor.

So what’s it about?

Who Replaced Avril Lavigne does pretty much what it says on the tin. Presented by Irish comedian and self confessed Lavigne-ophile (if that’s a thing) Joanne McNally, this show takes a deep dive into a bizarre internet story that appeared online around 2011.

The story posited that Avril Lavigne had died early on in her career. Those greedy record label bosses had Avril replaced by someone called Melissa. As usual, there are tell-tale signs and clues hiding in plain sight for those “in the know” that Melissa was saying she wasn’t Avril.

From seemingly humble beginnings, this story took off. For those interested in all things Lavigne it became quite the topic online. Not being a fan, this story completely passed me by, until I listened to this show. Personally, I thought that Avril Lavigne, Busted, Mcfly and et al were just a cynical cash grab. Avaricious record labels were seeking to harvest as much cash as possible off the back of the burgeoning pop-punk craze at the time. This isn’t the place for my personal opinions on music though, so I’ll leve thath there.

Is it any good?

This is a light-hearted and witty investigation into the world of a well known branch of conspiracy theory. Whilst there are certainly more erudite shows examining topics like this, this is a great introduction to the weird world of celebrity replacement stories. Something that, as the show goes on, you will realise are rather common than you possibly thought.

Joanne McNally is a great host for this show, and she balances her sense of humour and scepticism with a genuine interest perfectly. She does drop a hint later in the series with a new idea for a series, and to be honest, I would probably listen to that too.

Final thoughts

With stories like this, you really need to take them with a large pinch of salt. Unfortunately that isn’t nearly as fun as wondering “what if?”

Personally, I treat conspiracy theories like a trip to the zoo. It’s fun to look at for a while, but I wouldn’t want to be on the other side of the glass. With so many real conspiracies out there*, it always amazes me that people avoid them for the more outlandish stories.

At just seven half hour episodes, this series is a nice palette cleanser between more hearty podcasts. You could easily get through the whole lot in an afternoon, and thanks to the hosts engaging personality, this is easily done.

You can get Who Replaced Avril Lavigne here:


For more great reviews, I recommend GreatPods

*And no, I’m not talking about 911, COVID or the moon landings, but real political corruption and social media targeting voters. I could go on, but I won’t. Real conspiracies lack the glamour and glitz of the popular ones.

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