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Monday, 31 December, 2001, 14:59 GMT
Rik advised by ex-Church manager
Rik and Darius
Rik was replaced by Darius Danesh, now third favourite
Former Pop Idol contestant Rik Waller is being advised by the ex-manager of opera sensation Charlotte Church.

West End impresario Jonathan Shalit was currently advising Rik purely on a "friendship basis" about what to do next, according to his father Kris Waller.

Rik was kicked out of the ITV1 talent search after developing a throat infection which prevented him from singing in the live show.

He was replaced by Pop Stars reject Darius Danesh.

Pop Idol winner odds
4/5 William Young
13/8 Gareth Gates
8/1 Darius Danesh
10/1 Rosie Ribbons
12/1 ZoŽ Birkett
16/1 Hayley Evetts
100/1 Laura Doherty
Source: Eurobet
Mr Waller said the jibes about the weight of the 20-stone singer were making Rik more confident.

He said: "Going back 12 months, Rik would have been mortified at being called fat bloke, fat git.

"Now he takes it all in his stride. The question was, can he cut it emotionally and I think he has shown that he can."

A spokeswoman for Mr Shalit, who is currently in Barbados, said they met for the first time before Christmas after Rik approached him.

She said: "We are helping Rik look after his best interests at the moment but whether Jonathan and Rik strike a deal together we do not know."

Mr Shalit began nurturing Charlotte Church's unusual talent in 1997 when she was just 11 years old and helped win her a five-album deal with music giant Sony Records.

William Young is the new favourite to win Pop Idol
William Young is the new favourite to win Pop Idol
In January last year she sacked him in favour of her mother Maria.

There are seven contestants left in the Pop Idol competition after Aaron Bayley was voted out last Saturday.

The train driver from Newcastle became the third singer voted off the show by the public.

William Young is the new favourite to win with the bookies, with former leader Gareth Gates slipping down to second.

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:

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
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