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Nicola goes top for Christmas.

GIRLS Aloud star Nicola Roberts today described the band's first number one as the perfect Christmas present.

Nicola, 17, from Runcorn, helped the band top the charts with Sound of the Underground a month after they were formed.

The five girls, who include Nadine Coyle, Kimberley Walsh, Sarah Harding and Cheryl Tweedy, were in a battle with fellow Popstars: The Rivals act One True Voice, who finished at number two with Sacred Trust.

Nicola said: ``This is the perfect Christmas present after everything we've been through to make it into the band.''

Girls Aloud sold 213,000 copies of their single, with One True Voice shifting 147,000 copies.

The chart race was partly overshadowed by the row between Girls Aloud's manager Louis Walsh and Pete Waterman, the man behind boy band One True Voice. Waterman had accused the girls of not singing on their track. He said: ``It's a smashing pop record but they're not on it.''

Walsh angrily denied the allegation.

Football pundit Ron Atkinson's Christmas single did not even make the top 40.

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FAMOUS FIVE: Nicola (second left) and the other members of Girls Aloud who have reached number one spot
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 23, 2002
Words:196
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