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EDITIONS
Monday, 16 December, 2002, 08:20 GMT
Popstars Girls win musical war
Girls Aloud
Girls Aloud: A "pleasantly surprising" offering

Once upon a time, we used to wait with baited breath and a flutter in our hearts to see who would land the coveted and eagerly contested Christmas number one slot.

But this year, the long list of musical stars and novelty acts have failed to put themselves up for the ultimate chart battle thanks to the full-blooded onslaught of a reality television show.

Popstars: The Rivals has shaped the birth of a boy band and a girl group, who have been primed to slug it out for the seasonal chart-topper, hijacking the traditional chart race and making it a two-horse affair.

We dive straight into the mire of boy band balladry, which is as sickening as too much plum duff and brandy butter

The five members of male vocal harmony group One True Voice were finalised a whole week before their female counterparts, and their contender Sacred Trust follows a path deeply rutted by boy outfits before them.

A lesser-known Bee Gees cover leave them on safe ground tackling a well-loved song could leave such a fresh outfit open to criticism.

Their opening gambit is a jaunty, mid-paced number that could become a toe-tapper after a few too many Christmas egg nogs.

It has had some very smooth production values slapped on it, so the rawness of the boys' live television performances is nowhere to be found.

Flip-side After You're Gone is a self-penned effort - but that does not make it any more original.

Energetic effort

We dive straight into the mire of boy band balladry, which is as sickening as too much plum duff and brandy butter.

Girls Aloud pitch in with a pleasantly surprising antidote to all the worst post-office party hangovers, with enough oomph to blow those cobwebs away.

The females win hands down in the musical stakes with a decent stab at pop-rock

Their offering Sound Of The Underground is a fresh tune that has no intentions of following the road to seasonal schmaltzville.

A mashed-up beat and meaty twiddles of rock guitar boost the attitude factor on this tune, while the vocals are well-matched to the music.

In this poptastic battle of the sexes, the females win hands down in the musical stakes with a decent stab at pop-rock, while the boys follow a dull, predictably cheesy pattern that has been done time and again.

As for the chart battle - this year it has less to do with the music, but with which group is the slickest, prettiest package.

A far cry from Christmas chart battles in the old days, when housewife's favourite Sir Cliff Richard ruled with ditties of festive cheer and even a pink and yellow inflatable creature blobbed his way to an unlikely number one.

  • Sacred Trust by One True Voice is out now on Jive Records. Sound Of The Underground by Girls Aloud is out now on Polydor Records.
  •  VOTE RESULTS
    Who should be Christmas number one?

    Girls Aloud
     16.42% 

    One True Voice
     4.93% 

    Blue and Elton John
     20.95% 

    Cheeky Girls
     10.74% 

    Someone else
     46.95% 

    16173 Votes Cast

    Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


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