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Sunday, 18 November, 2001, 11:49 GMT
Pop Idol wannabes reach finals
Finalists Jessica Garlick, left, and Rosie Ribbons
Finalists Jessica Garlick, left, and Rosie Ribbons
Pop Idol contenders Rosie Ribbons and Jessica Garlick have been picked as finalists for the popular talent-spotting TV show.

The pair from Wales were the latest heat winners to go forward to the finals in December, joining Gareth Gates, 17, Zoe Birkett, 16, Hayley Evetts, 25, and Laura Doherty, 19.

The finalists will battle it out for a deal with 19 Management - the force behind the Spice Girls and S Club 7 - and a recording contract with RCA Records.
Gareth Gates, Pop Idol finalist
Gareth Gates, Pop Idol finalist

Rosie, 18, from Pontardawe, near Swansea, received a huge 51.2% share of the public vote with her rendition of Bryan Adams' Everything I Do.

Her vote was the second highest for a contestant on the ITV1 show, hosted by Ant and Dec.

Panel judge Pete Waterman said: "Rosie's a superstar, I told you that from the beginning. I just think she's fantastic."

Jessica, 20, from Kidwelly, west Wales, who has appeared on Michael Barrymore's My Kinda People, received 12.4% of the vote, with her version of Madonna's Crazy For You.

Jessica said she was delighted with her place in the final.

"This is my dream and I'd love to take it on to the second phase," she said.

Criticised

The 10,000 hopefuls who applied to Pop Idol were reduced to just 50 by the show's judging panel, consisting of Simon Cowell head of Artists and Repertoire at RCA records, publicist Nicki Chapman, Capital Radio DJ Dr Fox and Waterman, who helped launch Kylie Minogue.

The youngest competitor in this week's group, 16-year-old Ollie Manson, came third with 8.8% of the vote.

Judge Simon Cowell was criticised by fellow panelist DJ Neil Fox for attacking Ollie's performance of I Swear as "no where near good enough".

Fox accused Cowell of being over the top and claimed he had become a "caricature" and "pantomime dame" during the series.
Layla Manoocherhri, disqualified constestant
Layla Manoocherhri: Under age

In fourth place was Sandi McCash, with 8.5% of the vote, while Christopher Mason came fifth with 8.3%.

Earlier this week, Warwickshire schoolgirl Layla Manoocherhri was disqualified when it was discovered she was only 15.

Anonymous e-mails sent to the programme revealed she did not meet the 16 to 25 age requirement.

Layla, who was immediately replaced, defended her decision to ignore the rules.

"All I wanted to do was show them what I could do".

"I got there on my own merit. The organisers are right, but it's not that serious."

A Pop Idol spokesman said: "Layla and her parents knew the age limit for the competition when she applied and took a risk."

See also:

17 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
Under-age Pop Idol hopeful rumbled
16 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
Take That manager attacks Pop Idol
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