Teen idols: Bright young things tell us what they really think about the pin-ups of 2009

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Tinchy Stryder

By Theo Bass, 19

Tinchy Stryder never really took my breath away – but the fashionable young British rapper, who recently had a number one in the charts, has become an idol to many youngsters. His music consists of catchy melodies, synth riffs, heavy bass and big beats, a real mish-mash of genres: hip-hop, R&B, pop and elements of electro.

Stryder mostly raps – his singing voice isn't the best. Thankfully his songs occasionally feature other artists (such as Frankmusik and Amelle from the Sugababes) who offer a refreshing alternative to the monotonous dross which Stryder can often produce (examples include "Never Leave You" or "Confusion Girl", from which I wanted more of the uplifting melodies of Frankmusik and less input from Stryder). On the other hand, sometimes Stryder's rapping is well structured and rhymed and relatively pleasing to the ear (as in "Number 1" and "Breathe", for instance). Some of my friends have implied that he still has a long way to go compared to the likes of UK hip-hop veterans like Task Force and Braintax. Stryder's music, along with a lot of modern hip-hop and pop, is well produced but lacks any real depth. But it is understandable how music like this has such a superficial appeal to my generation: it's all about catchy tunes, big beats, big bass and dancing around in clubs – with sunglasses on, of course.

Theo Walcott

By Sam Coates, 15

I've been a fan of Theo Walcott ever since he came on to the international football scene at the 2006 World Cup, when he was only 16 years old. It was great to see someone so young make it into the England team, even though he didn't end up playing in any of the matches. I think that credit has to be given to him because he must have been really disappointed not to have played in any of the World Cup matches and yet he didn't complain – he just got on with it and worked really hard at his football so that he could perform at the highest level, which of course is what he is now doing. He's inspirational to young people in this way because he's shown that by really applying himself to what he's doing he can achieve success. My friends and I look at him and believe we can do the same in life if we work as hard! He must also have found it difficult going from being really successful at Southampton in the early stages of his career to adapting to a really big London club like Arsenal. That's a lot of expectation, publicity and pressure for someone as young as he was when he was coming through. I like him as a player because he is a really fast and an exciting winger who plays well up-front. I loved it when he scored a hat-trick against Croatia in that qualifier last season.

Robert Pattinson

By Esther Richardson, 16

Ok, so i don't particularly like Robert Pattinson. Basically, it's because all the girls love him and that kind of thing really annoys me, especially as they don't even like him for his acting ability, only for his supposed "good looks". Also, when he first came to light in the Harry Potter films, not that many people noticed him, but when Twilight came along, suddenly everyone was infatuated with him. In all fairness, I haven't seen the Twilight films, or read the books, mainly because of this teen-idol persona that he has adopted, or rather the media has put on to him. Maybe I would be less annoyed if he was not so commercialised by all those rubbish magazines. He's constantly in these mags for the best body, best looks and so on and it really grates on me. Personally, I think he looks ill all the time! Anyway, I think people should stop following the crowd and get some real idols. What's wrong with admiring someone that not everyone has heard of? I don't really have an idol, especially not celebrities hyped for their good looks. But there are a lot of actors I really like and singers/bands too. Most people haven't heard of the music I listen to and I like that because it makes me different. Besides, is it really that great to idolise someone? There is nothing to gain from idolisation, it seems pointless to me.

Emma Watson

By Ella Thorold, 15

From child star to fashion icon, Emma Watson rocketed to world fame in her teenage years. Composed and intelligent – some would say she is also a breath of fresh air compared to the American teenage idols such as Lindsay Lohan and Mischa Barton. She has a special place in the British public's heart as our second-favourite best friend of Harry Potter, and she seems to be going from strength to strength in her career. Watson's just become the face of Burberry, as well as attending Brown University in the US this year. Part of her appeal is that she's the good girl; for instance, not once has she been papped coming out of a club completely wasted, or seen smoking. She's probably got a contract saying she can't deviate from the image of her geeky counterpart, Hermione, but maybe that's a little too cynical. And yet I still have inhibitions about Watson. For one, she seems a little too high on her horse, and quite stuck up. She comes across as quite unfriendly and intimidating – boys adore her and girls envy her, but the problem is, she seems to me to know this just a little bit too much. However, I suppose any arrogance is understandable – not all of us have starred in a multi-million-pound film franchise, are the face of a designer fashion brand and attend an Ivy League university. Oh yeah, and I forgot the millions she has in the bank before she's even 20.

Megan Fox

By Rebecca Christison, 17

I first came across Megan Fox in Transformers and my first reaction was, "Wow, this girl is so hot!" Now I hate her because she is so beautiful and rich and it's just not fair! Many other girls my age think she's beautiful, so they feel threatened by her – and the guys I know just think she's hot and nothing else. (Although, a while ago, I was at a friend's party and met some guys who said they'd never heard of her. I yelled at them and told them that they had to see what this girl looked like because – seriously – she's just perfection, and if they didn't see that then they didn't deserve to be in the same house as me!) I suppose she has had an effect on me, because she's so pretty and I compare myself to her. I wish I looked more like her and had her lifestyle ... The reason I like her is because she's cool and gorgeous – but not everyone else feels the same. Girls always seem not to like her – which could be envy, or because she can come across as outspoken and confident – but I don't know her as a human being, so I have no idea what she's like really! It must be quite hard for her, I suppose, having all those producers and directors who just see a very pretty face they can benefit from. Overall, there must be a downside to all the fame she has, and when she gets older and less attractive she'll realise it, but for now, she's amazingly attractive and lucky and I'm insanely jealous of her ...

The Saturdays

By Ele Lighter, 18

The Saturdays are an up-and-coming five-girl pop band, and like most girl bands they wear excessive make-up, do lots of posing and steal old classics to perform as their own. Their single, "I Just Can't Get Enough", is a cover of a song by the Eighties electro band Depeche Mode, who frankly performed it with more passion and better singing. The Saturdays have a seductive music video which simply consists of a bunch of attractive females prancing about in their underwear! The fact that they encourage the ditzy, girlie look I find degrading; for example, the band member Frankie is on some scales and drops her dressing gown to reveal her bra – implying she wants to lose some extra pounds. The message this sends to teens like myself in a time of increasing anorexia and size-zero-ness is that being skinny and worried about your weight is what a girl should be thinking about. This was not the only undignified aspect: each girl is introduced as a calendar model, and they're all wearing the most minimal outfits possible. It seems today more girl bands get to the top of the charts by flaunting themselves in a provocative manner. The other characters in this video include a cheerleader, a girl vacuuming and dish-washing. Young girls really need a strong-willed role model who shows more personality and is less sexually provocative to boost their confidence in being unique.

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