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POPSTARS WANTED... But not if you live in Wales; Hopefuls must go to Manchester for TV auditions.

Byline: Gemma Williams

MOST wannabe popstars will do anything, anytime, anywhere to be famous.

And now it looks like Welsh singers may have to do just that to audition for the new television series, Popstars: The Rivals.

Despite Cardiff's very own success story of Noel Sullivan in series one, the programme makers of the televised battle-of-the-bands have decided not to come to the Land of Song to judge the local talent.

The reason is because they feel Manchester is close enough for the Welsh to travel to - four hours away.

Heats for the show will also be held in London and Glasgow at the end of August - but not in Wales or the West Country.

``We are only holding auditions in three locations because we haven't got the time or money to go all around the country,'' said a spokesman for Popstars: The Rivals.

``We thought Manchester was quite central and close enough to Wales. We are hoping that peo-ple will make the effort to travel to us and would welcome anyone from Wales as it has a fantastic history of singers. And, of course, Noel Sullivan from Cardiff was chosen to be in Hear'Say after appearing in Popstars last year.''

Only a limited number of wannabe stars will be invited to try out for the series, selected from the thousands of videos that have already been sent in from all over the country. But the lucky chosen ones will have to find their own way there and pay for their travel costs.

The spokesman said: ``We haven't got the budget to pay for travel costs and we're hoping that people don't see this as a snub to Wales.''

But Sarah Morgan, 22, from Llandaff, Cardiff, who has just completed a course in the performing arts, said: ``I understand that they can't hold auditions everywhere. But don't they realise how far away Manchester is from Cardiff?

``I'd love to get an audition but it would be a long way to go.''

HOW TO APPLY...

Send in an application form together with a photograph of yourself and a recording of yourself singing.

You must be between 16 and 24 on July 1, 2002, and be a UK resident.

If you are under 18, you must obtain a parent or guardian's signature on your application form. There are three ways to apply for an audition form:

Phone: 090 66 80 1111. Calls cost 25p per minute, maximum two-minute call.

Text: 07876 500 100

Online: www.itv.com/popstars

WHY WE DESERVE IT...

TEN reasons why there should be an audition in South Wales:

Noel Sullivan, left, who was chosen to be in Hear'Say after appearing on ITV's Popstars programme.

Rosie Ribbons, from Pontardawe, who was one of 10 finalists on Pop Idol this year.

l Jessica Garlick, from Kidwelly, who was also a finalist on Pop Idol and represented the UK in this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

l Charlotte Church, who has sung for the Pope, US presidents and royalty.

l Tom Jones, who has kept us all singing and dancing since the '60s.

Shirley Bassey, the lady with the big voice from Tiger Bay.

Kelly Jones, lead singer of Stereophonics.

James Dean Bradfield, lead singer of the Manic Street Preachers. CerysMatthews, the ex-Catatonia singer who is writing her solo material in America.

Shakin' Stevens - not so trendy now but in the 80s he was top of the pops.

CAPTION(S):

POP DREAMS Noel Sullivan and Hear'Say found fame after being formed on the Popstars show.; JUDGE GERI; The former Spice Girl is may be on the jury of the new series of Popstars.
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Title Annotation:Features
Comment:POPSTARS WANTED... But not if you live in Wales; Hopefuls must go to Manchester for TV auditions.(Features)
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUW
Date:Jul 25, 2002
Words:602
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