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Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 12:14 GMT
Final countdown for Pop Idol hopefuls
Finalists Jessica Garlick, left, and Rosie Ribbons
Finalists Jessica Garlick, left, and Rosie Ribbons
Pop Idol contenders Rosie Ribbons and Jessica Garlick will be flying the flag for Wales in the final round of the popular talent-spotting TV show this weekend.

The pair have come through gruelling auditions which whittled down 10,000 hopefuls to just 10 who will be put through their final paces over the next 10 weeks.

Rosie's a superstar ... I just think she's fantastic

Pop Idol judge Pete Waterman

The Pop Idol contest follows the successful Popstars series which turned five hopefuls including Cardiff-born Noel Sullivan into the chart-topping group Hear'say.

Rosie, 18, from Pontardawe near Swansea, gained more than 50% of the public vote in her heat with a powerful rendition of Mariah Carey's Hero - she even managed to make record producer and Pop Idol judge Pete Waterman cry.

Jessica, 20, from Kidwelly in west Wales, was a surprise winner of her heat as none of the judges predicted she would make it into the final 10.

Noel Sullivan from Hear'say
Noel Sullivan from Cardiff found fame in Popstars
The singer is making her second bid for stardom having been a finalist in the first series of BBC One's Star For A Night although Rosie revealed that she had never auditioned for anything before Pop Idol.

"My mum sent off for an application form because I wouldn't have applied.

"If somebody had told me a year ago that I would be on my way to being a pop star I would have said, 'yeah right'!"

Rosie had to shrug off critical comments about her choice of clothes from Pop Idol judge Simon Cowell, head of Artists and Repertoire at RCA Records, although he could not fault her singing.

"He didn't like my top," she says. "But you can change what I look like - you can't buy a voice."

Star quality

Fellow judge Pete Waterman was much more impressed: "Rosie's a superstar, I told you that from the beginning. I just think she's fantastic."

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.

The 10 hopefuls will be sent off to a choreographer, a boot camp and have to perform a wide range of pop classics to stay in the race.

Each week viewers will be invited to vote a contestant off the show until the final two battle it out for the Pop Idol crown.

See also:

18 Nov 01 | Wales
Pop Idol wannabes reach finals
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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