POP WIZARDS OF OZ!

Unlike last year's all-girl format, there are two lads this time...

These five smiling faces have been selected from hundreds of hopefuls to form the second generation of Australian ‘POPSTARS’.

The group were formed from the second series of the television programme in Australia, the first having launched the career of all-girl group Bardot.

But unlike last year’s all-girl format, this year two boys – Jason Bird and Simon Dichtam will join three girls Daniella Scala, Anna Belperio and Tamara Jaber to become an R&B outfit, replacing last year’s basic pop format.

The name of the group has not yet been announced, although rumour is circulating throughout the industry.

In Australia, the first series topped television ratings last year, and Bardot‘s self-titled album and single ‘Poison’ both debuted at Number One on the Australian ARIA charts.

This second series has rated equally highly across the country, and though many pundits had been sceptical, public interest appears equally as high the second time around.

New recruit Daniella Scala, 19, of Adelaide, told NME.COM that despite scepticism she believed the group could be as successful as their pop predecessors Bardot.

“The only thing we have in common with that group is that we were both formed from the same television series,” she said. “The main difference is we’re not six foot tall like those girls.

“But we shared the same dream as them, this is what we have always wanted and we can reach an international audience like they did.”

Scala said the group had already received advice from their ‘Popstars’ seniors, including a well-earned piece of advice from Bardot‘s Sophie Monk, who ripped a costume during a show last year, bearing her midriff.

Scala admitted: “She told me to always make sure the costume fits properly!”

Scala said she had been shown a video of UK ‘Popstars’ winners ‘Hear’say’, and it seems the young singer already has an eye for market demographics.

She added: “Their song is so likeable, people aged from 12 to 60 could like that song. They did well by not narrowing their market.”

In an interview with NME.COM when they arrived for promotional duties in the UK, Bardot expressed their horror at the treatment of Kym, from the Brit ‘Popstars’, being told to lose weight by Nasty Nige.

Simon Ditcham was the last of the lucky hopefuls to be unveiled in this week’s episode – even more of a surprise given he had failed to make the cut for the final 12.

The judges selected him as they felt “something was missing from the group”.

Scala said she was thrilled with Ditcham’s selection, adding: “The series makes it look like he can’t dance, but really he can.”

The group will begin a shopping centre tour later this month starting in Adelaide.