Sarah Harding: Popstars: The Rivals audition resurfaces as fans remember Girls Aloud singer

Singer was just 21 when she auditioned for ITV talent show

Isobel Lewis
Monday 06 September 2021 09:13
Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding dies from cancer aged 39

Fans are remembering Sarah Harding’s first audition for Popstars: The Rivals following her death.

The singer, who was best known for her work as a member of girl group Girls Aloud, died on Sunday (5 September) aged 39, one year after revealing that she had been diagnosed with cancer.

Harding rose to fame in 2002 while appearing on the ITV talent show, in which a boy and girl band were formed to compete for the Christmas number one.

She auditioned in front of Louis Walsh, Pete Waterman and Geri Halliwell and while only a short clip was shown on TV, Harding clearly made a positive impact on the judges.

“You’re going to London,” she was told by record producer Waterman, reacting in excitement at the news.

The then 21-year-old made it through to the live finals, where she became the last person to join Cheryl Tweedy, Kimberley Walsh, Nadine Coyle and Nicola Roberts in new girl group Girls Aloud.

The band would go on to dominate the UK charts, earning themselves 20 consecutive top 10 singles, four No 1s and a Brit Award.

One fan remembered: “Devastated to hear Sarah Harding has died. I remember watching her audition on [Popstars] and became a huge Girls Aloud  fan, even though it wasn’t my usual type of music. So sorry for her family and friends; a terrible tragedy. My thoughts today with all breast cancer victims.”

“So sad to hear about #sarahharding - she was always a favourite from the first time I saw her audition on screen - she shone a bright light and always walked her own path,” another tweet read, adding: “F*** cancer. May she rest in peace.”

Spice Girl Halliwell, who was there at Harding’s original audition, led celebrity tributes to the singer.

“Rest in peace, Sarah Harding,” she tweeted. “You’ll be remembered for the light and joy you brought to the world.”