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THIS AUDITION IS FOR HEAR'SAY, NOT FAT CLUB; What band said to our Alun at interview for new member.

Byline: ALUN PALMER Deputy Showbusiness Editor

I AM the wrong side of 30. I could do with losing a pound or 20. I have the sartorial style of an undertaker and I can't sing and I can't dance.

Surely that shouldn't disqualify me from fulfilling my life-long ambition of joining a hip teen band.

Sadly, my dream died along with 3,000 other hopefuls yesterday when I failed miserably to be selected as the new member of phenomenally successful Hear'Say.

Putting a reassuring hand on my shoulder after my dismal audition, the band's Danny Foster told me: "With the looks and talent you've got mate, you should try auditioning for Fat Club - the Musical."

Kym Marsh walked out last month after a series of clashes leaving a gaping hole in the line- up. And I was desperate my rather large frame should fill that hole.

Yesterday in scenes reminiscent of the Popstars phenomenon last February, hopefuls lined up outside a rehearsal room in Brixton, South West London, desperate for a chance to fill Kym's shoes. As the queue snaked round, ruthless talent spotters searched the crowd for those with the right look.

The lucky ones got a coveted yellow ticket while the majority left with their hopes dashed.

Strangely, despite kitting myself out in Hear'Say garb from American Classics, where Danny and band mate Noel Sullivan get their gear, I wasn't chosen.

But sneaking round the security men, I managed to gain an audition with the band themselves.

In a huge audition room sat Noel, Danny, Myleene Klass and Suzanne Shaw. Nearly 18 months before they were in the same position facing the judges which included "Nasty" Nigel Lythgoe. Now it was their turn to pass judgment.

My appearance obviously didn't go down too well. "Are you here for the audition or delivering the pizza?" asked "Nasty" Noel.

It was then I experienced the terror that those who offer themselves up for this humiliation go through.

It's easy to laugh, sitting at home watching a clearly untalented, ugly wannabe making a prat out of himself. But when it is you that's another matter.

I sang their hit Pure and Simple with a passion I hoped would make up for my lack of talent.

Gaining confidence I sneaked a look at my inquisitors, confident that they simply couldn't resist this performance from the Rik Waller of journalism.

But Myleene smiled: "You were singing all the right notes - but not necessarily in the right order."

Desperate, I begged to show them a few of my own dance steps. But they insisted that I went through one of their routines.

With the grace and co-ordination of Norman Wisdom with a broken leg, I tried but I knew the end was near. With a nod, security escorted me to the door and my chance of 15 minutes of fame was gone.

Outside there were 75 people who would be asked back for more auditions today and by 5pm the new band member will be unveiled.

But sadly the public will have to wait a little longer before my talents are unleashed upon them.


PRIZED: Ticket for an audition; UNIMPRESSED: Alun is bombed out yesterday by Hear'Say's Suzanne, Noel, Myleene and Danny Picture: TIM ANDERSEN
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 4, 2002
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