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Tuesday, 16 October, 2001, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Take That manager attacks Pop Idol
Take That
Take That came together at an audition for a boy band
The man who put together Take That has hit out at TV's Pop Idol for "humiliating" contestants for the sake of ratings.

Nigel Martin Smith says the judges on the ITV1 show are "destroying" the dreams of singers hoping to find fame.

Taking up where Popstars - the programme which brought together Hear'Say - left off, Pop Idol is searching for a solo singer to propel into the spotlight.

Having a tough time for two minutes on camera - so what? If you don't want that go to another talent show

Simon Cowell
"I'm sure that whoever wins Pop Idol will be huge, but I fear for the scores of kids who have been humiliated on the show for the sake of the ratings," said Mr Martin Smith.

From the outset the judges on the programme have been ruthless in telling the contestants they have no chance of making it.

'Personal attacks'

Mr Martin Smith - a panellist on Saturday's final of BBC One talent hunt Star For A Night - hit out after judges criticised his own ability to spot potential stars.

"Call me old fashioned, but in my book judges shouldn't laugh or giggle or make personal attacks on auditionees," he said.

" We are talking about peoples' lives here."

Mr Martin Smith is credited with realising the talents of Take That and Robbie Williams, who he later successfully sued for compensation for quitting the boy band.

Pop Idol
The Pop Idol judges pull no punches with contestants
He said the format of the original Popstars had worked because apart from a few cutting remarks made by judge Nigel Lythgoe, it was basically "good humoured".

'Look at Madonna'

The Pop Idol judging panel is made up of producer Pete Waterman, record executive Simon Cowell, DJ Dr Neil Fox and Nicki Chapman, who also decided the fate of the Popstars.

Waterman has already criticised Mr Martin Smith's credentials as a talent spotter.

"He thinks he knows what talent is," said Mr Waterman, who discovered Bananarama, Steps and Rick Astley.

"Take That was not talent - Nigel Martin Smith is nice to people because he does not know whether they are good or bad."

Mr Cowell defended the judges treatment of the auditionees.

"As for the pain people say they have gone through taking part, look at Madonna. She was starving in the street for years - that is hard work," he said.

"Having a tough time for two minutes on camera - so what? If you don't want that go to another talent show."

See also:

23 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
TV hunt to find solo star
12 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Popstars spark fan fever
06 Feb 01 | Entertainment
So you wanna be a pop star?
18 Mar 01 | Music
Hear'Say hit number one
14 Jun 99 | Entertainment
Spice svengali celebrates S Club success
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