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Saturday, 22 December, 2001, 22:34 GMT
Pop Idol's Rik bows out
Rik and Darius
Rik was replaced by Darius
Pop Idol contestant Rik Waller has withdrawn from the competition due to a throat infection.

The 20-stone singer was said to be "gutted" that he had not recovered from a throat infection in time for Saturday's live knock-out round.

Pop Idol winner odds
6-4 Gareth Gates
2-1 Rosie Ribbons
7-2 William Young
7-1 Aaron Bayley
Source: Eurobet
Darius Danesh, who came third in the same qualifying heat as Rik, took his place alongside eight other contestants and made it through to the next round.

Twenty-year-old Jessica Garlick, from Kidwelly, west Wales, was eliminated from the ITV 1 singing competition by the public.

A spokesperson for the show said: "Rik is obviously disappointed and earlier in the week he said he would be gutted to have to withdraw.

"All at Pop Idol wish Rik a speedy recovery."

'Conceited'

The 20-year-old singer, from Gillingham in Kent, has been plagued by throat problems, caused by a bug, leading up to the knock-out rounds and was allowed to sit out the original show he was scheduled to appear in.

He has been seeing a top voice specialist in an attempt to make a strong enough recovery to sing live and was given until the day of the next show to make a decision on whether to perform.

Gareth Gates is favourite to win the show
Gareth Gates is favourite to win the show
Although Rik was a popular entrant with voters, the judges have not been so impressed.

Simon Cowell told him that all the attention he had been receiving in the press had made him conceited.

Pop Idol continues the success of Popstars, the show that put hit group Hear'Say together.

Ten thousand wannabe stars took part in auditions for the ITV1 show, and the winner will be given a record deal.

See also:

21 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Last minute decision for Pop Idol Rik
19 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Idol's Rik waits on voice
16 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Korben ejected from Pop Idol
17 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
Under-age Pop Idol hopeful rumbled
16 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
Take That manager attacks Pop Idol
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