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Monday, 11 February, 2002, 13:42 GMT
Pop Idol's career hots up
A total of 8.7 million votes were registered
A total of 8.7 million votes were registered
The fledgling music career of Pop Idol winner Will Young is well under way with his unreleased single Evergreen already topping online retailer Amazon's hot 100 Singles chart.

Pre-order sales of the single, released on 25 February, have put it at the top of the chart, ahead of established stars Victoria Beckham and Enrique Inglesias.

Hear'Say's selection was watched by 12.6 million people
Hear'Say's selection was watched by 12.6 million people
More than 13 million people tuned in to watch the Pop Idol climax that saw Will Young narrowly beat Gareth Gates on Saturday, making the show more popular than the Popstars finalé.

The show where Young and Gates sang at 1900GMT on Saturday attracted 13.1 million viewers - almost 60% of the available audience.

The ratings beat the viewing figures for the Popstars climax, where the final Hear'Say line-up was chosen, when 12.63 million people tuned in.

'Elated'

Some 11.6 million people watched Young named winner later on Saturday.

The Pop Idol phenomenon also gave ITV2's audience figures a boost, with more than 1.5 million viewers tuning in to the result on the channel.

Pop Idol Extra, which acted as a companion to the main show on ITV1, was the most watched programme in satellite homes, excluding terrestrial channels.

Young, 23, said he felt "elated" after winning, and will now continue his hectic schedule to record a video for his debut single, Evergreen, which will be released at the end of February.

"His life will never be the same again," a spokesperson for the show said.

But there have been complaints from fans that the phone lines were so busy that they could not vote, with reports that the congestion may have affected the final result.

A total of 8.7 million phone votes were registered, with Young winning 51.3% of support and Gates - who had been odds-on favourite - getting 48.7%.

Phone demand

But some viewers said they could not get through, with press reports suggesting that only half the calls trying to get through succeeded in registering votes.

There has also been speculation that the result may have been skewed by the phone set-up.

But BT have said the accusations that Gates would have won if the voting lines were set up differently were "simply rubbish".

"It didn't affect the result of the vote," a spokesman told BBC News Online.

"Some people did have difficulty getting through because of the sheer volume of the calls."

Gareth Gates and Will Young
Gates and Young campaigned hard in the final week
There was "very, very high demand", meaning an emergency measure had to be put in place to stop the network collapsing completely, he added.

One million people were trying to get through every minute at the peak, according to Edward Boddington, chief executive of Telescope, the company that administered the phone lines.

"The situation was the same for both contestants. As many Will fans had problems voting as Gareth fans," he said.

Young continued his whirlwind rise to the top the day after the final, with just two weeks before the release of his first single, a cover version of a Westlife album track.

He will record a video for the song this week before embarking on media appearances and recording an album.

All 10 finalists from the show will perform a series of sold-out concerts at Wembley Arena in March.

Sunk in

After Saturday's show, Young, a politics graduate, said he was still in a state of shock that he had emerged as victor.

"It's very strange to be going after something for so long, and it really has been such a long journey, and now it's happened the things that I'm thinking are such basic things," he said.

"I don't think it's sunk in yet."

Young's twin brother Rupert said Will was a "fairly steady guy" and that the experience had pulled the family, from Hungerford, Berkshire, closer together.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Pop Idol Will Young
"It has been such a long journey and now it's happened"
The BBC's Alex Stanger
"Everyone has been a winner in this"
Will's dad Robin Young
"I'm on happy pills"

Pop Idol winner Will Young - can he become a true star?A true star?
Send us your views on Pop Idol's winning Will
 VOTE RESULTS
Will you buy the Pop Idol's single?

Yes
 45.11% 

No
 54.89% 

12730 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

10 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Will 'must strive' for lasting success
09 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
William conquers Pop Idol
10 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Will wins Pop Idol
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
11 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Pop Idol: Can Will make it?
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