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Tuesday, 19 March, 2002, 14:18 GMT
Gates fails to match Young's debut
Gareth Gates and Will Young
Gareth is expected to oust Will from the top one spot
Pop Idol runner-up Gareth Gates looks certain to land the number one spot in the singles chart - but has failed to break the chart record set by his rival Will Young.

The 17-year-old's single Unchained Melody will replace Young at the top of the charts if his opening day sales continue throughout the week.

Unofficial figures reveal Gates shifted about 328,000 singles on Monday - compared with Young's first day sales of 385,000 for the double A-side Evergreen/Anything is Possible.

Gareth Gates
Gates has been given a sultry make-over for his single cover
But chart experts say Gates is unlikely outshine Young's fastest selling record achievement of 1.1m in a week, set three weeks ago.

"Although he remains behind Will on first day sales of 385,000 copies, the margin is much closer than expected," said HMV analyst Gennaro Castaldo.

Mr Castaldo said it was "not impossible" that that if Gates can sell consistently more this week, he could beat Young's record of 1.1 million copies, or at least go through the one million barrier.

"Failing that, he should comfortably pass the 750,000 first week sales of Band Aid's Do They Know it's Christmas? 1984 to become the second-most successful debut single of all time behind Will," he added.

Regional bias

Bookmakers William Hill are offering odds of 1/9 that Unchained Melody will be number one and 10/1 that it will stay at the top of the chart for eight weeks or more.

There were signs of a strong regional bias - with Gates performing far more strongly in northern UK cities like Leeds and Newcastle and his home town of Bradford.

The HMV store in Bradford had some fans queuing from 0600 GMT on Monday, two hours before it opened.

Will Young
Will holds the record for fastest-selling UK single
Store manager Andy Baxter said: "I thought that we had seen it all with Will, but in my 14 years with HMV I have never seen scenes like this, with so many people queuing just to buy a single.

"You'd have thought that Gareth was actually in the store signing copies."

Mark Turner, manager of the V Shop in Keighley, West Yorkshire, said: "As Gareth is a local boy, we knew it would be big, but we have been overwhelmed by the reaction - fans were buying up to five copies at a time!"

Gates and Young last battled it out in the final of ITV1's Pop Idol talent search, where the top prize was a lucrative recording contract.

Although Young won with 53.1% of the public vote, both were snapped up by record label BMG, which is headed by Pop Idol judge Simon Cowell.

On Sunday, Young held on to the top spot with his double A-side single for a third week, selling more than 1.5 million copies in total.


BBC News Online reviews Unchained MelodyGareth gets set
Pop Idol star releases his debut single
See also:

15 Mar 02 | Music
Fan frenzy for Pop Idols
15 Mar 02 | Reviews
Pop Idol concerts: Your views
14 Mar 02 | Music
Idol Will to sing on TOTP
10 Mar 02 | Music
Pop Idol Will: 'I'm gay'
10 Mar 02 | Music
Young stays top of the pops
08 Mar 02 | Music
Pop Idol managers 'naive'
01 Mar 02 | Reviews
Will takes web by storm
25 Feb 02 | Music
Will Young's solo gamble
12 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Moody makeover for Will
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