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Wednesday, 6 February, 2002, 10:47 GMT
Papers pour scorn on Hear'Say
Hear'Say
Some critics think Shentall should have stayed hidden
Newspaper pundits have poured scorn on the choice of new Hear'Say member Johnny Shentall.

The 23-year-old was unveiled as the new fifth member of the act on Tuesday, replacing Kym Marsh, who quit last week.

Shentall has a track record in showbusiness - he was a member of short-lived pop group Boom! and is the partner of former Steps singer Lisa Scott-Lee.

The Sun claimed he had danced with Hear'Say at last year's Top of the Pop Awards, even though he and the group denied ever meeting before the auditions.

Showbusiness correspondent Dominic Mohan said it "raises doubts on whether the search for Kym's replacement had already been decided".

The Mirror branded the process a stitch-up and took on a sarcastic tone.

"4,000 young hopefuls auditioned to be Hear'Say's new singer and guess who they picked... the boyfriend of Lisa from Steps," the paper said.

Lisa Scott-Lee and Johnny Shentall
Shentall is engaged to the former Steps singer
The Daily Mail was similarly sceptical in its coverage: "The new member of pop band Hear'Say was revealed yesterday - or rather, uncovered."

Hear'Say manager Chris Herbert was adamant the group had no idea who Shentall was before the auditions.

'Publicity stunt'

"He joined the end of the queue on Sunday like everyone else. But he stood out from all the rest and it wasn't hard for the band and me to decide," he told The Mirror.

But many papers also quoted Pop Idol judge Neil Fox, who said: "I think it's a con. Kids came from all over the country and most of them never even got a chance to audition because their faces didn't fit."

He added: "I wish Johnny the best of luck but I think it was a publicity stunt which I hope backfires."

BBC News Online users were also unimpressed with the turn of events.

Hear'Say auditions
Thousands of hopefuls queued in the rain on Sunday
Kat de Adman from Surrey queued up for three hours in the pouring rain on Sunday to audition.

"I agree that the band's shelf life is quickly coming to an end and the way they went about this PR stunt has not helped in the slightest," she said.

"I didn't even get to go indoors, let alone sing a note. All I really gained from it was a common cold! Thank you very much Hear'Say."

Sarah McAvoy wrote: "What a load of rubbish. If it took three months to find the right band members for the original Hear'Say group, how on earth was a decision made in one day to re-recruit the essential fifth member?"

Others took a different view - Sarah in England wrote: "Well hello! He's definitely added some sex appeal to the band, that's for sure!"

 VOTE RESULTS
Will new recruit Johnny give Hear'Say a new lease of life?

Yes
 23.00% 

No
 77.00% 

100 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

06 Feb 02 | Music
Hear'Say: Your views
05 Feb 02 | Music
Hear'Say introduce new member
03 Feb 02 | Music
In pictures: Hear'Say auditions
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