Insults fly over heavy-handed 'Popstars' judges

It was a brutal introduction to the music industry for 19-year-old Carol Lynch. As if coping with rejection in the first round of auditions for ITV's latest version of Popstars was not enough, the shop assistant had to put up with apparent jibes about her weight from no less an authority than Geri Halliwell.

The panel has a reputation for rudeness. But its members this time – the pop Svengali Pete Waterman, his Irish equivalent Louis Walsh and the former Spice Girl – seemed so nice. One male judge even told Carol, a size 16, that she was a "larger than life'' character.

But Carol said Ms Halliwell, who lost weight dramatically after leaving the Spice Girls, had quipped that she was "very much larger than life''.

"She was there looking like a child. She is 30 and has the figure of an eight-year-old. That's not sending the right message to anybody.

"I don't have a figure like a child but I'm not going to start throwing up my food for anybody. I just think she's jealous of people who can sing,'' she said. Carol, from Basildon, Essex, thought her rendition of "I Wanna Be Down'' by the R and B band Brandy was probably not "cheesy'' enough for the programme, whose first series created the boy-girl band Hear'Say.

There is another possible explanation. By lunchtime yesterday Pete Waterman said he had heard enough appalling cover versions to have a cemetery of pop greats turning in their graves.

"Some of it has been awful. Some people who saw the first series are clearly chancing their arms,'' he said. Mr Waterman added that the judges were simply being honest with people who had no hope of a showbusiness career.

He and Mr Walsh claimed responsibility for any quips about the girls' weight but he admitted some of Ms Halliwell's comments had made them "choke".

Some failed contenders complained of the mauling they received from the judges.

Anne Raymond, 20, was stopped halfway through Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You'' by Mr Waterman, who told her it was "horrible''.

The part-time waitress from Nottingham said afterwards: "He said I had a beautiful face and nice body but I was making a horrible noise. It's disappointing but I was really nervous. It's a step back but I'll keep going.''

Determined optimism was a characteristic shared by all the 400 contestants at the Wembley Conference Centre in London at the first of a dozen mainly closed audition days for contestants who had sent in videos of themselves performing. Glasgow and Manchester will also hold auditions.

Chloe Staines, one of a handful to get through to the second round, showed how much optimism was needed to succeed.

When Mr Waterman told her she did not have star quality she told him he was wrong and challenged him until Ms Halliwell took her side. Unsurprisingly the 18-year-old London student had nothing but praise for the former Spice Girl. "I'm a big fan of hers, she is so determined and confident. Maybe she liked me because I'm like that as well,'' she said.

The new series, Popstars: The Rivals, starts next month. It will create an all-male and an all-female group to compete for the Christmas Number One. The 10 men and 10 women who qualify for the finals will live in Big Brother-style houses, with viewers urged to phone in to evict them one by one.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Technical Director / Digital Director / Development Director

£75 - 85k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Technical Director / Digital Director / ...

Guru Careers: International Project Coordinator / Account Coordinator

Circa £26,500 DOE: Guru Careers: An International Project Coordinator / Accoun...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Cambridge / London - £47,000

£40000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing ...

Sauce Recruitment: Sales Executive - Consumer Exhibition - 12 month Fixed Term Con

£20000 - £22000 per annum + up to £22K + commission : Sauce Recruitment: The ...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen