List of Pop Idol finalists (series 1)

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Pop Idol was a British interactive reality talent show. The first series was broadcast on ITV between 6 October 2001 and 9 February 2002. The series saw a series of auditions for aspiring singers, with a final 50 performing in a series of five pre-recorded shows. Two contestants from each show went through to make up a final 10, who performed live in front of a studio audience.

One contestant who received the least votes from television viewers left the show each week. Will Young won the competition, beating Gareth Gates in the final on 9 February 2002.


Aaron Bayley[edit]

Aaron Bayley was originally a train driver who came from Newcastle. At 26 years old, he was the oldest of the series finalists. He was eliminated in the third week of the finals, despite never previously appearing in the bottom two or three. Bayley is now a member of reality group G*Mania.[1]

Zoe Birkett[edit]

Main article: Zoe Birkett

Zoe Birkett from County Durham was the youngest finalist, aged 16. She was the highest placed female in the series, finishing in fourth place. After the show, she scored a top 20 single, and has appeared in many stage musicals.

Darius Danesh[edit]

Main article: Darius Campbell

Darius Danesh, (aged 21) from Glasgow was already known to the public after an embarrassing audition on Popstars. He was originally eliminated from the competition in the top 50 stage, after failing to appear in the top 2 from his group, but he was given a reprieve when Rik Waller dropped out of the competition. He then went on to finish third in the competition, and scored a platinum selling album, and a number one single.

Laura Doherty[edit]

Laura Doherty, (aged 19) came from Derry in Northern Ireland. She was in the bottom two or three every week until her elimination in the fourth week of the finals.

Hayley Evetts[edit]

Main article: Hayley Evetts

Hayley Evetts, (aged 25) from Birmingham was also known to the public after appearing on Popstars where she made the later stages. She went on to host several television presenting jobs, but failed to gain a record deal and has not released any material post show.

Jessica Garlick[edit]

Main article: Jessica Garlick
Jessica Garlick

Originating from Kidwelly in South Wales, 20-year-old Jessica Garlick placed 9th in the show. She went on to represent the United Kingdom in the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest, where she placed joint 3rd, a result which remains the UK's best performance in the competition since 1998.

Gareth Gates[edit]

Main article: Gareth Gates

Gareth Gates, (aged 17) from Bradford was the runner-up of the series. The widely accepted frontrunner, Gates spoke with a stammer, but it didn't affect him when he sang. He went on to release 4 number one singles, and three top 20 albums once the show was over.


Twenty-one-year-old Korben, (born Chris Niblett) was the first finalist to be eliminated from the show. In the week leading up to his elimination, he was outed by tabloid newspapers, which led to speculation that this had hurt his chances in the competition.

Rosie Ribbons[edit]

Main article: Rosie Ribbons

Rosie Ribbons (aged 18) is from Alltwen in South Wales. She was a favourite of judge Pete Waterman, and made him cry at her initial audition. She signed to Telstar Records after the show, but her debut album was scrapped due to financial difficulties at the company. Ribbons did however release two top 20 singles in the UK. In 2007 she was a semi-finalist in Australian Idol after moving abroad, but failed to make the finals.

Rik Waller[edit]

Main article: Rik Waller

Rik Waller from Gillingham in Kent was forced to resign from the competition after losing his voice. An early tip to win the show, he was given a bye to the second live show, but with his voice failing to improve he was unable to participate and had to leave. He was replaced by Darius Danesh. After the show ended, he appeared on reality shows Back to Reality and Celebrity Fit Club and released two singles.

Will Young[edit]

Main article: Will Young
Will Young

Will Young, (aged 22) from Wokingham, Berkshire won the competition. He was widely seen as the dark horse to win the title, but after the show was over, he was revealed to have led the voting several times. Post show, Young has gone on to have a lengthy music career, and as of 2009 has released four albums, all of which have reached the top 2, as well as achieving four number one singles.