Take five girls, add some hype, and make a Christmas No 1

Dan Gledhill
Monday 23 December 2002 01:00

The made-by-television pop group Girls Aloud, landed the Christmas number one spot yesterday, just a month after they were formed.

The quintet, who were accusedof not singing on their track, fought a battle for the top spot with One True Voice, a boy band also formed for the ITV1 show Popstars: The Rivals. The programme was created with the express intention of grabbing the festive chart-topper, traditionally a highly sought-after position. Girls Aloud's release "Sound Of The Underground/Stay Another Day" became the 50th Christmas number one, while One True Voice's "Sacred Trust" was a place below them.

Critics will say it shows how easily charts can be manipulated if enough money and exposure are put behind a group. But despite attracting millions of viewers, sales figures show few were prepared to put their money where their votes were. Girls Aloud sold 213,000 copies while One True Voice sold 147,000 copies.

The race was given added spice by a row between Girls Aloud's manager, Louis Walsh, and Pete Waterman, the man behind One True Voice. Waterman said of the girls' single: "It's a smashing pop record – but they're not on it." Walsh called Waterman "a liar".

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