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Monday, 4 February, 2002, 18:21 GMT
Hear'Say hold on decision
The existing stars are helping choose a new band member
Existing band members are helping choose a new star
Pop act Hear'Say are to delay choosing a fifth member after two days of auditions, saying the standard has been too high.

It had been expected that the new recruit would be introduced to the world on Monday, chosen from 100 shortlisted hopefuls.

The group has confirmed they will make their announcement at 1200 GMT on Tuesday.

Hear'Say's Noel Sullivan told the BBC: "We've whittled it down to 12, but we still haven't decided.

"We're going to work through the night, trying to whittle it down further if possible."

3,000 hopefuls queued up on Sunday
3,000 hopefuls queued up on Sunday
Myleene Klass said: "We've found the vocalists and now we want to test their dancing skills and entertainment skills - we want a team player."

They emphasised that the process had been extremely thorough.

"We've done loads of screening, choreography and singing lessons," said Noel.

"It really is down to vocal ability and personality, and we still haven't found exactly what we're looking for."

Starlets

"It's so important for us to have a bond with that person," added Myleene.

The new member - who will replace Kym Marsh - will be one of 3,000 starlets who queued up to be auditioned from Sunday morning onwards.

The second day of the selection process saw the remaining candidates undergo tests with voice coaches, choreographers and musicians, and chat to existing members to make sure they got on well.

One of the judges, Paul Adam, has said whoever is chosen will need to fit in with the group's image - but they could be male or female.

Noel Sullivan said he was "astonished" by the response to the appeal for a new bandmate and that he had seen nine or 10 outstanding candidates on the first day.

"I know what they are going through and it's nerve-racking for us too," he said. "We are making a big decision."

Kym Marsh
Marsh: Left to spend more time with her two children
Thousands of hopefuls were rejected on Sunday before they had even sung a note because of their style or looks.

A sign on the gates read: "The first round auditions are based on a pre-defined look, therefore a vocal audition is not guaranteed."

Many had travelled overnight or early on Sunday morning to get to Brixton Rehearsal Studios in south London by 0900 on Sunday, where they queued in the streets.

But after a brief selection process which took place outside the rehearsal studios, only about 500 remained to perform for the judges.

After the auditions, in which the wannabes had to sing unaccompanied, another 400 were rejected.

Hear'Say
The group, including Marsh, notched up two number one singles
London Weekend Television controller Bob Massey told BBC News Online he thought the turnout was "amazing", adding he was relieved he was not having to choose the new member.

Mr Adam said he had seen "a number of possible stars", adding: "There will be a number on standby in case we discover someone isn't at all suitable."

The judging panel consists of the group, their manager Chris Herbert and Paul Adam, who took part in Popstars.

LWT is filming the entire process for six half-hour TV shows, in much the same format as the show that put Hear'Say together, Popstars.

Catalyst

That show proved to be a ratings winner, and gave Hear'Say invaluable publicity, helping them achieve a record for the fastest-selling single for their first release Pure and Simple.

Mr Adam added that "although everybody has written Hear'Say off, I think unfairly, perhaps a new band member will act as a catalyst for new success".

Marsh left the group last month, amid a flurry of media speculation that she had fallen out with fellow member Myleene Klass.

But with a huge UK tour looming, Hear'Say are acting quickly to replace her, after announcing the auditions last week.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's David Sillito
"A chance to sing before the judges"
Noel Sullivan, Hear'Say
"It really will be down to the vocal ability and the personality"
See also:

03 Feb 02 | Music
In pictures: Hear'Say auditions
18 Jan 02 | Music
Crisis talks for Hear'Say
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