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Sunday, 10 February, 2002, 04:19 GMT
Will wins Pop Idol
William Young
William Young: Newest BMG signing
William Young has won ITV1 talent search show Pop Idol in a nail-biting final with 4.6 million votes - 53.1% of the vote.

The 23-year-old from Hungerford, Berkshire, wins a recording contract with BMG records.

I thought 'I am second and I have lost by that much' - I promise, I just thought, 'Oh well, that's not bad'

William Young
He will have his first stab at the charts on 25 February when double A-side Evergreen/Anything is Possible is released.

He will now be managed by judge and publicist Nicki Chapman and is expected to film a video at a mystery location overseas next week.

Will looked genuinely shocked as the result was announced and put his head in his hands.

He then immediately hugged losing finalist Gareth Gates, who scored 4.1 million votes, and took to the stage to sing Evergreen, dedicating it to Gareth.

Gareth Gates and Will Young
Gates and Young campaigned hard in the final week
He eventually shed tears as he was told: "You are a Pop Idol."

He said later he was sure he had lost when he heard how the vote had split.

"I thought 'I am second and I have lost by that much'. I promise, I just thought, 'Oh well, that's not bad'," he revealed.

"And then they said it and I just, I don't know, I felt really isolated. I stepped backwards. I could not believe it."

Speaking backstage immediately after the show, he said: "I am really ready for it now. I am just up for it massively, in a huge way".

The voting was neck-and-neck on Saturday night, with the lead changing several times during the course of the evening, said show hosts Ant and Dec.

A record total of 8.7 million votes were cast by fans.

A BT spokesperson said the volume of calls had threatened the national network, and the company was forced to limit the number of calls that got through.

The National Grid called ITV to check advert break times amid fears of a power cut from huge surges in electricity demands.

Gareth, 17, who has struggled to overcome a stammer, had been the bookmakers' favourite before the final.

He struggled to talk after the result, saying simply:"Will, Will."

Gareth later said: "He (Will) is just absolutely wonderful. I must say that he is an absolutely awesome guy.

"If there's one person who deserves it, it's Will. We are really good friends."

He said he was disappointed, but hoped to have a single of his own out within the next few months, and revealed he had been offered a contract by show judge Simon Cowell.


Last week more than six million people voted, with Gareth winning 39.8% of the votes, Will on 39.3% and Darius Danesh on 20.9%, a result which eliminated the former Popstars contestant.

On Saturday night they were required to sing three songs each before the panel.

They performed the double A-side single, to be released by the winner, but also sang the track the panel thought was their strongest during the series - Will performed The Doors' Light My Fire, while Gareth chose The Righteous Brothers' Unchained Melody.

The TV programme has captured the public's imagination and the winner is almost certainly guaranteed a hit single and album.

ITV Popstars band Hear'Say broke all records when they released their first single, Pure and Simple, the fastest selling debut single of all time, selling 500,000 copies in its first week.

But as their decline has shown, sustained success is not a certainty.

Pop Idol Will Young describes the winning feeling
"It has been such a long journey"
The BBC's Alex Stanger
"Everyone has been a winner in this"
Will's dad Robin Young
"I'm on happy pills"
Will you buy the Pop Idol's single?



12730 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

09 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
William conquers Pop Idol
09 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Pop Idol: Your views
23 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Pop Idol: What's all the fuss about?
02 Feb 02 | Music
Rik faces Pop Idol legal threat
28 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Pop Idol audience reaches 10 million
26 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
'Star performer' Zoe out of Pop Idol
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