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Singing army of Aussie soap stars are on the bubble...

Ten years after Kylie Minogue hit the top of the charts with I Should Be So Lucky Britain is bracing itself for the second coming of Ozpop.

The sexy stars of Aussie soaps like Neighbours and Home And Away are back in the recording studios... and this time it's not just Kylie and Jason.

There's an army of them, with big names like Neighbours' Natalie Imbruglia and Home And Away's Nicola Quilter gearing up to do battle with the Spice Girls later this year.

First off the mark is Kylie's little sister Dannii, in at No 5 in the charts this week with her new single All I Wanna Do.

She's best known for her role as boy-chasing brunette Emma in Home And Away, and followed her big sister's footsteps with some pretty awful pop hits in the early 90s.

Now Dannii's raunched up her image with a new blonde hairdo and a fuller figure - and dropped the Minogue name.

Meanwhile Kylie has been playing it cool, trying to shake off the dungareed girl-next-door image.

She's been hanging out at trendy bars and fashion shows, perfecting a grungier look, and working with less poppy guitar bands like the Manic Street Preachers.

Her new single is due out in September - and she's already teasing audiences by only allowing snippets to be heard on shows like TFI Friday.

That could mean one of two things: either Kylie's new music is brilliant and the record company are trying to create a buzz, or it's really bad and they don't want critics to get hold of it too early and give it a good going over.

From what I've heard it could be the latter. Both Minogue girls have said that they aren't out to compete with each other, but you can bet Kylie will be having a nervous look over her shoulder when she sees how well Dannii is doing.

Whatever happens in the Minogue battle, there are two more Aussie soap babes waiting in the wings, ready to launch an assault on the charts.

Natalie Imbruglia, from Neighbours, is the one everyone is looking out for.

The 22-year-old former girlfriend of Friends star David Schwimmer has already landed a big deal with Gary Barlow's record label RCA, and is said to be very serious about her music career.

"She'll only talk about her music at the moment," an RCA spokesman said. "She wants people to know things like she's working with Radiohead's producer, and doesn't really want to talk about Neighbours or David Schwimmer."

Another budding pop babe trying to play down her TV past is Home And Away's caring teacher Donna Bishop, otherwise known as Nicola Quilter.

Unlike Natalie, Nicola has already played some gigs in London - and with support from fellow Aussie rockers INXS she's being tipped as the soap star most likely to come out on top.

While the girls look set to clean up in the pop stakes the soap boys have had a much harder time convincing record buyers.

Neighbours hunk Dan Falzon, who played hearthrob Rick Alessi, left the show to start a band with his brother Tom.

"People are in for a big surprise when they hear our music," said Dan, just before his group Milk released their first record in February this year.

"We write our own songs and play our own instruments, we're a real band and we're sticking to it."

Unfortunately, despite loads of TV exposure the record sank without a trace - and nothing has been heard since.

Not put off by this, another soap hunk Daniel Amalm, Home And Away's rebel rouser Jack, is launching his brand of Ozpop on Britain next month. But the signs aren't good.

As yet there hasn't been any indication that British soap stars are planning a counter attack, although there have been unconfirmed rumours that guitars and fiddles are being tuned on a farm somewhere in Yorkshire.

What could that mean?
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Hyland, Ian
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 17, 1997
Words:656
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