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Thursday, 7 February, 2002, 10:02 GMT
Hear'Say deny auditions 'fix'
Hear'Say and Johnny Shentall
Shentall (C) is said to have danced with the group
Pop group Hear'Say have issued a statement refuting claims that their auditions to find a new member were "fixed".

Johnny Shentall, 23, was chosen from thousands of hopefuls who had travelled to London on Sunday to queue for auditions to replace Kym Marsh.

But the press and fans said the process had been a "stunt" after it emerged Shentall was engaged to former Steps singer Lisa Scott-Lee and an ex-member of chart group Boom!.

One newspaper has reported he may have previously performed onstage with Hear'Say.


The whole audition was filmed by ITV2 - when that film is broadcast, it will be seen that the selection process was fair to everyone

Hear'Say's solicitors

Solicitors acting for the group issued a statement on Wednesday night saying the selection process had been fair.

The statement from Harbottle And Lewis reiterated denials made by the group earlier in the week after speculation over the speed of Shentall's selection.

It said the "plain facts of the matter" were:

  • The auditions were "open and anybody could apply".
  • The decision to appoint Johnny was made "at the end of the auditions and was unanimous".
  • The decision was "hard but we all decided that Johnny was the best person".
  • "Not one member of Hear'Say or their management knew Johnny personally."
  • "The whole audition was filmed by ITV2. When that film is broadcast, it will be seen that the selection process was fair to everyone."

    Sarcastic

    The Sun reported on Wednesday that Shentall had danced with Hear'Say at the Top of the Pops Awards last November, even though he and the group denied ever meeting before the auditions.

    Lisa Scott-Lee and Johnny Shentall
    Shentall is engaged to former Steps singer Lisa Scott-Lee

    The Mirror branded the audition process a stitch-up and the Daily Mail was equally sceptical.

    And many BBC News Online users emailed their views, saying they were unimpressed by the group's decision.

    Hear'Say members Suzanne Shaw, Danny Foster, Noel Sullivan and Myleene Klass said on Tuesday that Shentall was the right man for the job.

    "Johnny is an all-rounder, he has the right look, he sings well, dances well and is perfect for the role," said Shaw at a press conference.

    Shentall's singing ability will be heard when Hear'Say's new single is released over the next few months, said their record company Polydor.

    But he will be going straight to work with the group as they begin new recordings. He will also join them on tour in September.

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

    She was one of the original members of Hear'Say, who shot to fame last year after going through a gruelling selection process on the TV series Popstars.

  •  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
    06 Feb 02 | Music
    Papers pour scorn on Hear'Say
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