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Wednesday, 20 March, 2002, 18:42 GMT
Young throws in the towel
Gareth Gates and Will Young
Chart battle has not stopped the pair being friends
Pop Idol winner Will Young has conceded his number one spot to his rival Gareth Gates days before the official chart is revealed.

Young has held on to the top of the chart for three weeks with his debut double A-side Evergreen/ Anything but the huge sales of Gates' Unchained Melody look certain to topple him.

Posing for photographs, Young handed over a baton to symbolise losing the coveted chart position.

The continued domination of the Pop Idol stars came as US network Fox secured the rights to screen an American version of the talent show.

Gareth Gates
Gates has covered the Righteous Brothers' Unchained Melody
Gates' single was released on Monday and day one saw him sell 328,000 copies, according to unofficial figures.

Although this did not beat the first day sales of Young it should prove more than enough to secure Gates a number one hit.

But chart experts are still finding it difficult to predict whether Gates' total sales will eclipse Young's fastest selling record achievement of 1.1m, set in its first week.

American TV bosses are hoping the Pop Idol phenomenon will hold the same appeal with US fans.

Fox Broadcasting has finalised plans to launch the series in the summer, according to Variety newspaper.

'Unreal'

The as-yet-untitled show will be produced by Spice Girl guru Simon Fuller's company, 19 Group.

It is Mr Fuller who is credited with the success of the ITV1 show.

The American show is expected to run along similar lines as the British version, with 22 episodes climaxing in a live final and the winner picking up a record contract.

"This is the biggest thing the UK has experienced in six or seven years," Fox executive Mike Darnell told Variety.

"We're extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to produce the show here in America. If we can even come close to what the UK generated in calls, it'll be unreal."


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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