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UK Popstars 2, Week 4: Bye Bye Babyby Phil Lewin -- 10/03/2002
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This week's Popstars - The Rivals focused on the continued culling of the final fifty hopefuls down to ten girls and ten boys. However, with lousy timing as far as the second series of Popstars is concerned, the evolution of the new bands has been overshadowed by the news that the band formed in the first series of Popstars, Hear'Say, have decided to split, after an existence of approximately eighteen months. For once, the proverbial 'creative differences' were not cited (probably because they did not have much in the way of creativity in the first place). Instead the band members blamed increasing public hostility (and probably the same reaction from the media, although they diplomatically omitted to mention that) after being insulted in the street, booed at public appearances and culminating in a bizarre incident when they were threatened at gunpoint while being driven along a freeway, which some more cynical commentators interpreted as nothing but a publicity stunt.
The band had lost already most of their little credibility when one of the original five members walked out at the end of last year and was replaced in an apparent sham of a recruitment process by one of their backing dancers, so their eventual demise was inevitable, but few people expected it to come so soon. However the band formed in the original Australian Popstars, Bardot, only managed to last just over two years before splitting and also lost one of their original members along the way. If any of the auditionees for the new Rivals bands still idealistically had any illusions that the reward for the pain and pressure of the auditions would be the birth of a band that would propel them to everlasting fame and glory, this news is likely to rudely shatter their dreams. Although whether it actually deters any of the survivors from going through the forthcoming brutal week by week eliminations and subsequent pressures on the new bands remains to be seen.
Anyway, back to The Rivals. Thirty more people need to be eliminated through a gruelling programme of dance and vocal exercises over the next 48 hours. Tanya, the choreographer, has returned to put the girls through some more routines while Geri Halliwell and Louis Walsh observe. Pete Waterman gives the boys voice tests designed to expose their raw melody. In the afternoon, the groups swap. It is a long and stressful day. Two of the girls, Emma and Lynsey, start to lose their voices while the extrovert Sarah is in tears at her perceived inability to handle the dance routines.
By the end of the afternoon, both Pete and Louis are getting some idea of who should be in their respective bands. Pete has identified David as having the best voice but is not sure how he would fit into the band. Louis meanwhile stated that his protege Hazel was the best of the girl vocalists. Now there's a surprise. His assistant, however, feels that she would be better as a solo artist. "She deserves to be on TV," was Louis's response. Uh?
It was now time for 'the green mile' where fifty needed to be cut to thirty. Everyone is on edge and Davina McCall's supportive mother-figure act is in overdrive. The theme from The Matrix plays inexplicably. At last all of the girls and boys are called, one by one, into a room to be told the good or bad news by Louis or Pete respectively.
Louis puts on some of that old Irish charm (although some might call it sleaze) with words of comfort and big hugs for the girls that are going through. Emma, despite her throat problems, makes the next cut, and she bursts into tears as they embrace, despite his statement that she is "too nice for this business", making him sound more like her pimp than her manager. Michelle is in tears before she even enters the room, but she is through as well. "You're gorgeous," gushes Louis, as they kiss. Pass the sick bag. Sarah is convinced that her poor dancing had put her out. "I'm too much of a loon, I'm just too mad," she cried. Louis quietly told her that she was through. "I hate you," she screamed before they hugged and she ran out and collapsed on the floor. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Sarah makes it into the final ten as she is likely to drive all the other girls in the house completely crazy.
Oh, I nearly forgot to mention, Hazel is through as well. Tell us something we didn't know.
There is not so much hugging and kissing between Pete and the boys for some reason, though there is a lot of yelling and air punching. Just to prove that Louis does not have the monopoly on Popstars nepotism, it has been revealed that one of the boys in the final cut, Jeremy, was also known to Pete well before the auditions started. So are any more of Louis and Pete's favourites about to come out of the closet? If Rick Astley was still under 25, one wonders whether Pete would persuade him to come along to try his luck.1 2 Next-->
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