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Sunday, 23 December, 2001, 12:10 GMT
Jessica voted off Pop Idol
Jessica Garlick
Jessica Garlick mantains she will be "a big thing in pop"
Jessica Garlick has been voted off ITV1's Pop Idol show, leaving eight contestants for next week's heats.

Garlick's performance of the Shakin' Stevens number Merry Christmas Everyone was praised by judges - but received the fewest votes from the show's viewers.

Apparently fighting back tears, she hugged the other eight contestants and said: "I've had the most fantastic experience of my life."

All of the would-be stars had been given Christmas songs to sing.

'Entertainer'

Pete Waterman said Ms Garlick had "a very professional voice" but cast doubt on her ability to make it as a pop star.

Rik Waller
Rik Waller: Unable to overcome a throat infection
Fellow judge Nikki Chapman also doubted the singers' likelihood of making it through the competition but said she was "an entertainer who has been consistent in this competition".

Garlick disagreed with the judgements - and maintained she could be "a big thing in pop".

Rik Waller's withdrawal from the competition due to illness gave a second chance to Darius Danesh, who was rejected in a previous heat.

'My life'

Gareth Gates is favourite to win the show
Gareth Gates is favourite to win the show
Waller, 20, was said to be unhappy the programme had gone ahead without him and wanted ITV bosses to postpone Saturday night's show until he had fully recovered.

"To ITV it's just a business, but it's my life," he told the News of the World.

The eight contestants remaining will compete by singing Burt Bacharach songs in next week's show.

They are:
Darius Danesh, 21, who is studying at Edinburgh University,
Hayley Evetts, 25, from Birmingham,
Gareth Gates, 17, from Bradford,
Aaron Bayley, 26, from Newcastle,
Rosie Ribbons, 18, from Swansea,
Laura Doherty, 19, from Londonderry,
William Young, 22, from London, and
Zoe Birkett, 16, from Darlington.

Bookmakers William Hill have put Gareth Gates favourite to win the contest at 6/4. according to bookmakers William Hill.

The winner will receive a management deal with 19 Management, the team behind the Spice Girls and S Club 7, and a recording contract with RCA Records.

See also:

22 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Pop Idol's Rik bows out
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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