LYING THE FLAG; EXCLUSIVE Fury as Eurovision rivals accuse Scooch of miming way to victory.
THE Eurovision Song Contest was at the centre of a cheating storm last night after Scooch were accused of miming their song to win the UK entry.
Rivals were furious when the band admitted they had two backing singers hidden offstage to boost their performance.
Singers Justin Hawkins and Brian Harvey claimed the four-piece pop act mimed their track Flying The Flag (For You) and only scooped the prize thanks to the strong voices of their hidden assistants.
Former East 17 star Brian said: "I was p***** off with the whole Scooch thing. I thought one of the singers was mouthing something and nothing came out. The public have been conned."
A source close to ex-Darkness frontman Justin added: "Everyone was furious that Scooch had two ghost singers who weren't on stage.
"The general feeling was the public were being misled as they would have thought the group's singing was actually better than it really was." Big Brovaz star Randy, who also lost out, added: "It seems they were miming as the backstage girls were really loud most of the time.
"Also the microphones Scooch used were for miming. We entered Eurovision because we thought it was about credible acts but it isn't."
Scooch admitted using the backing singers, in their 40s, on the UK's winning entry but insisted they sang on the track - voted for by viewers on a 25p a time phone line.
And the camp band's spokesman Andrew Hill accused the losing rivals of jealousy. He said: "Scooch won fair and square. They were not miming. It is difficult to sing while running around doing dance routines.
"The reason the singers were backstage was because they didn't look the part. Perhaps Justin Hawkins and the rest of the entrants have a touch of sour grapes."
The BBC insisted Scooch broke no contest rules by having the hidden singers. A spokeswoman said: "Scooch won fair and square in a vote by the British public.
"They and any other acts are allowed within the Eurovision rules to have backing singers out of vision. All of Scooch sang live."
None of the other acts had singers hidden away backstage.
The cheating storm will be an embarrassment to the BBC after Terry Wogan gaffed by announcing the wrong winner on Saturday night's Making your Mind Up.
Justin stormed off when his track They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To - with singer Beverlei Brown - failed to win.
A source said: "It was mayhem backstage. When Justin came off he said: ' "Oh f*** it, f*** it, f*** the public, f*** Eurovision. I will make it on my own anyway.'
"When Brian and Big Brovaz came to commiserate with him he stormed past them into his dressing room.
"But then the mood turned ugly and everyone was complaining."
Angry Justin even branded the public "racist or stupid", claiming Beverlei never got votes because she is black. He added: "The whole thing whiffed of a stitch-up."
Voice of the Mirror: Page 8
WINNING MOMENT ...but rivals claim Scooch conned public; CON: Brian Harvey; ANGER: Justin Hawkins