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EDITIONS
Sunday, 28 July, 2002, 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK
Idols to compete for world pop crown
Will Young
Will Young has scored two number one singles
The creator of the successful Pop Idol franchise is planning to make the TV show into a global talent contest by pitting the winners of different countries against each other.

Simon Fuller, who also managed the meteoric rise of the Spice Girls, is working on a show provisionally titled World Idol, following the success of Pop Idol around the globe.

He told Billboard magazine that the show would be an Olympics-style contest with the winners competing against each other.

"My intention is that the whole world will vote, and we'll work the voting system so that the population of the country will be fair and proportional to the votes the contestants receive," he said.

If the planned show goes ahead it could launch UK winner Will Young into the global pop market.

UK contestants Gareth Gates and Will Young
The UK version made stars of Gates (left) and Young
Pop Idol first aired in the UK in 2001 and went on to become a huge ratings success for ITV, drawing in more than 10 million viewers during the final stages.

The final between Young and 17-year-old Gareth Gates was a close-run contest, with Young emerging victorious.

Sparring partners

But both the singers were signed up by judge Simon Cowell's BMG label and both have scored number one hits.

The US version of Pop Idol has proved a huge ratings winner for the TV network Fox, with nearly 10 million tuning in.

American Idol follows a similar format to the UK version, complete with Cowell on the judging panel.

This time his sparring partners are music industry supremo Randy Jackson and pop star Paula Abdul.

American Idol is currently whittling its way through the contenders, with just seven left vying for a recording contract.

In South Africa there were accusations of racism thrown at the country's version after a white contestant beat a black singer to the title.

Some commentators said that winner Heinz Winckler, was simply not as talented as his black rivals.

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