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EDITIONS
 Monday, 16 December, 2002, 15:24 GMT
Popstars chart battle begins
Girls Aloud and One True Voice with DJ Dr Fox
The Christmas number one will be revealed on Sunday
The two rival bands created by the ITV1 Popstars show finally go head-to-head in the race for the Christmas number one spot as their debut singles are released on Monday.

The girl group, Girls Aloud, are now favourites to come out on top after bookmakers switched their predictions for the coveted Christmas chart prize.

One True Voice
The boys have covered a Bee Gees song
The boy band, One True Voice, had been odds-on favourites - but the girls are now seen to have the more catchy song.

Music retailer HMV said there had been "huge interest" in both groups at its stores across the UK.

"They're absolutely neck-and-neck at all our branches," said an HMV spokesman.

The groups will spend the week campaigning for fans' allegiances with a string of public appearances and publicity stunts.

In a text poll for the Pepsi Chart Show on Sunday, the bands could barely be separated. One True Voice got 50.5% of votes, while Girls Aloud had 49.5%.

But in a CBBC Newsround online vote, Girls Aloud were leading on Monday with 39% with One True Voice laggng behind on 23%.

The girl group's song Sound Of The Underground has been praised for its dance-pop sound, whereas the boys' hopes are riding on their cover of the Bee Gees song Sacred Trust.

Girls Aloud
A TV special will reveal the result on Sunday
The boys' double A-side single also offers After You've Gone, a track written by group member Daniel Pearce, and their campaign is being masterminded by manager Pete Waterman.

The girls, managed by another Popstars judge, Louis Walsh, have added a cover version of East 17's Stay Another Day to their double A-side single.

Girls Aloud will appeal for fans' support when they appear at HMV in Manchester's Trafford Centre on Monday, while One True Voice will play for 200 fans at Harrods in London.

Their reactions to the chart outcome will be seen on a live TV special on Sunday.

But it is not a foregone conclusion that they have the chart sewn up, with the current number one, Elton John and Blue, expected to continue to sell strongly.

The Cheeky Girls - whose song Touch My Bum is number two - is also likely to stay near the top of the chart. They auditioned for a place in Popstars: The Rivals but were rejected at an early stage.

 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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