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  Pop Idol fans fury at phone vote 'fix'
Updated 11 February 2002, 10.20
Pop Idol hopefuls Will and Gareth
Did Will win because of phone vote problems?

Pop Idol fans are furious after thousands say they couldn't get through to vote for their favourite.

Almost nine million votes were cast, with Will Young surprisingly winning ahead of favourite Gareth Gates.

But, since then, fans have been complaining that the 28,000 phone lines were jammed - perhaps helping Will to win.

Phone problems?

A Cable & Wireless phone engineer told the Daily Mail newspaper that Gareth's vote number had far fewer phone lines than Will.

He said that Gareth's number, which ended in 05, had only 4,900 lines allocated; while Will's 04 number had 21,300.

But ITV have denied that. They said in a statement: "(We) are totally confident that the voting on Saturday night's grand final was fair and unbiased, and that Will won fair and square and by a large margin of 500,000 votes."

They've insisted the way the phone lines were organised meant there couldn't be any unfair advantage to either Will or Gareth.

Will's new single

Ex-Hear'Say member Kym
Ex-Hear'Say member Kym
And Telescope, who ran the phone lines, say that any problems getting through didn't affect who won the show.

Will is already hard at work in his new role as Pop Idol, filming the video to his double a side single Evergreen/Anything Is Possible this week.

But Emma Jones, the editor of Smash Hits, has warned Will to learn from Popstars winners Hear'Say, who enjoyed huge success early on but are now finding things more difficult.

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