'POPSTARS' AUDITIONS HAVE ADDED SPICE! Get Tickets

Wannabe the next Will Young? You'll have to get past Geri Halliwell first...

Wannabe GARETH GATES and WILL YOUNGs are being invited to open auditions for 'POPSTARS: THE RIVALS' on Friday (August 9) at LONDON's WEMBLEY CONFERENCE CENTRE .

Such is the overwhelming demand from the stars-in-waiting, that producers on the show, the follow-up to both 'Popstars' and 'Pop Idol', have scratched the plans for invitation-only auditions. Four hundred hopefuls were invited to attend yesterday and a further 400 today (August 5) after sending in audition tapes. A second open audition day will be held on August 16 at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester.

Judges for the new series are producer Pete Waterman, Irish boyband svengali Louis Walsh and former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.

Halliwell, who previously had promised to handle all-comers with tact and compassion, has already incurred the wrath of one of the contestants.

Carol Lynch, 19, told ananova.com that Halliwelll made a cutting jibe about her weight.

"When I finished singing, Pete or Louis said I was a larger-than-life character," she said. "Then Geri said: 'Yeah, very larger than life' in a sarky way."

Referring to the star's eating disorders, Lynch said: "She looks like a child: She's got the figure of an eight-year-old. I'm not eating food and throwing it up in a toilet for anyone."

Two groups, one all boys the other all girls, will be created through the television experiment. Ten boys and 10 girls, shortlisted by the judges, will live in two 'Big Brother'-style houses under the watchful eye of the TV cameras.

Viewers will then take part in phone polls to evict a boy and a girl until the desired number is found. The winners will battle it out for the Christmas Number One spot.

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