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Saturday, 17 November, 2001, 16:23 GMT
Under-age Pop Idol hopeful rumbled
Pop Idol's Layla Manoocherhri
Layla Manoocherhri is 'too young' for Pop Idol
A contestant on ITV1's Pop Idol talent show has been disqualified after judges found out she was too young to take part.

Schoolgirl Layla Manoocherhri, from Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, led the judges to believe she met their strict 16 to 26 age requirements, but anonymous e-mails to them revealed she was only 15.

Layla, who has been replaced on the show by 23-year-old Rebecca Govan, defended her decision to ignore the rules.

She said: "I had a feeling they (the show's organisers) knew my real age. All I wanted to do was show them what I could do".

Rebecca Govan replaces Layla Manoocherhri
Rebecca Govan is getting a second chance
Layla, from Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, added: "I got there on my own merit. The organisers are right, but it's not that serious."

She said she still wants to become a full-time singer after her studies and her appearance on Pop Idol can only help: "I am a strong believer in fate and I think good things will come out of this."

Her replacement, Rebecca Govan, from Bolton, had originally reached the last 75 contestants before she was rejected.

After being given a second chance she said: "I'm over the moon. I'm an ordinary person from a normal family and would like to prove that if I can do it, anyone can."

A Pop Idol spokesman said: "As with any competition there are rules which must be adhered to.

"Layla and her parents knew the age limit for the competition when she applied and took a risk."

See also:

16 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
Take That manager attacks Pop Idol
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