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Saturday, 9 February, 2002, 22:29 GMT
William conquers Pop Idol
William Young
William most enjoyed singing with the big band
BBC News Online profiles William Young, the winner of ITV1's Pop Idol.

William Young made his first big impression by standing up to judge Simon Cowell after he criticised his performance as "distinctly average".

Up until then he had been one of the less outspoken and showy contestants.

But not one to take things lying down, the 23-year-old told Cowell he did not agree with his opinion, much to the delight of the remaining contestants.

And the following week, Cowell was big enough to admit he had been wrong and told a grinning Will, "You've humbled me".

Will's singing is just one of the strings to his bow - he also has a politics degree from Exeter University and has studied drama in London.

One of his biggest fans is twin brother Rupert, who could always be seen in the Pop Idol audience.

William Young
Judges have been struck by William's relaxed manner and big grin
Will's first brush with fame came with a contest run on ITV1's This Morning, winning a place in an ill-fated boy band.

All the judges admitted they did not remember Will from the initial Pop Idol rounds as they whittled the wannabes down to the final 50.

He was made to wait in the "maybe" room as the judges decided whether to allow him through to the next round.

Crooner

He puts his unmemorable early performances down to the fact that he was "rubbish" and only got into the swing of the contest in the later stages.

As 50 were stripped down to 10, Will's talent began to shine through as he put his own spin on tunes.

A favourite week for him was when a live big band were brought in to accompany them.

Will came across as a natural crooner and admitted he was more comfortable with older songs than other music he has had to perform such as Abba.

His trademark big smile was as wide as ever as he took the performance in his stride.

Head-to-head

From the outset it looked as if 17-year-old Gareth would be crowned runaway winner.

But there was an added air of excitement as Will crept up in the stakes.

Durig his campaign for votes in the final week, Will promised to "stay well clear of typical celebrity hangouts".

He also said he would "not throw celebrity strops at stalker journalists and the paparazzi (I reserve the right to break this pledge)".

At one point he was tipped by the bookies to go on to win but as the two went head to head, Gareth was the favourite.

The two candidates were completely different in style, looks and sound.

Will does not share Gareth's boyish good looks and trademark spiky hairdo but has a big voice, big smile and bigger personality, which his rival struggled to show because of his speech problems.

Now Will is the one who goes forward to a recording contract and a likely UK number one with the Pop Idol double A-side, Evergreen/Anything is Possible.

 VOTE RESULTS
Is Pop Idol getting too much attention?

Yes
 49.45% 

No
 50.55% 

5915 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

04 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Final hurdle for Gareth Gates
04 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Pop Idol stars campaign for votes
02 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Darius out of Pop Idol
02 Feb 02 | Music
Rik faces Pop Idol legal threat
28 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Pop Idol audience reaches 10 million
23 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Pop Idol: What's all the fuss about?
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