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Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 19:16 GMT
Kylie tipped for record of the year
Kylie Minogue's song was number one for four weeks
Can't Get You Out of My Head is the favourite
Kylie Minogue has emerged as the 6/4 favourite to scoop the Record of the Year award after a shortlist of 20 was announced at a star-studded launch in London.

Can't Get You Out Of My Head - a chart-topper for four weeks - was among the contenders unveiled by Pop Idol judge Simon Cowell at the event at the Hard Rock Cafe, also attended by Hear'Say and DJ Otzi.

But Cowell - of Westlife's record label Polydor - revealed the Irish boy band will not be notching up a hat-trick of Record of the Year gongs because they have withdrawn from the competition.

The Irish boyband took the title in 1999 - for Flying Without Wings - and again in 2000, with My Love.

Robbie Williams in his Sinatra garb
Robbie Williams is hot on Kylie's tail
Cowell said: "I think we would win this year, but sometimes you have to make a decision to withdraw. The first time we won I can honestly say it was the most exciting night of my life. This is the most important ceremony - I'd rather win Record of the Year than a Brit Award."

The 20 semi-finalists for 2001 will be profiled in an ITV1 programme on Sunday 2 December. Ten finalists will then be selected to face a public vote to determine the winner on a live show on Saturday 8 December.

Robbie Williams' Eternity is second favourite to take the title at 5/2 but Cowell, who described the awards as "the most intense evening", said: "I put my money on Kylie if she turns up."

Meanwhile, Record of the Year contenders Hear'Say and DJ Otzi said they were delighted to make the shortlist.

Danny Foster from Hear'Say, which formed as a result of the hit TV talent show Popstars, said: "It's been an amazing year for us. This has topped it off."

Pure and Simple is at 12/1
His bandmate Myleene Klass added: "A lot of people said that a year down the line we wouldn't be here - but that's the biggest compliment that we're all still here and nominated for Record of the Year."

Austrian singer DJ Otzi said being shortlisted was "a big surprise and a big honour - something I have always wanted".

Hear'Say are 12/1 to take the title with Pure and Simple, with DJ Otzi's Hey Baby on odds of 25/1. Other shortlisted artists include S Club 7, Destiny's Child, Blue and Bob the Builder.

See also:

23 Nov 01 | Music
Acting like a singer
22 Nov 01 | Music
Record of the Year shortlist
18 Nov 01 | Wales
Pop Idol wannabes reach finals
23 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Hear'Say success in kids' awards
19 Nov 01 | Reviews
Robbie Williams: Your views
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