Pop Idol then and now: What happened to stars like Darius and Rik Waller?juin 30, 2020
Cast your minds back to the start of the noughties and the birth of the talent competitions that would eventually take the nation by storm.
Long before X Factor was a thing, viewers were hooked on the iconic television show Pop Idol.
The series, judged by none other than Simon Cowell, Pete Waterman, Nicki Chapman and Neil Fox, ran for a mere two seasons yet had an immense influence over future talent shows across the globe.
It’s been nearly two decades since viewers were graced with the presence of Will Young and Gareth Gates, and the number 1 singles that followed.
Since then the entertainment industry, that propelled these budding singers to noughties stardom, has dramatically changed as well.
So where are our favourite Pop Idol season one competitors now?
Will faced stiff competition but stole the crown of Pop Idol Season 1 in 2002 at the tender age of 22.
He went on to have a successful music career with a number of top 40 hits including Light My Fire and Leave Right Now.
He also won two BRIT Awards in 2003 and 2005, and boasted four number one albums in the UK.
In 2016, Will joined the cast of Strictly Come Dancing but dropped out at week three citing ‘personal reasons’
Now 41, Will boasts 81,500 Instagram followers and has spent lots of time during the lockdown at home with his dog.
He continues to create music and in September, he is releasing his book titled ‘To be a Gay Man’.
Pop Idol runner up Gareth Gates was just 17 when he narrowly missed out on winning the show in the early noughties.
However, the spiky haired teenage also went on to enjoy several big hitters including Unchained Melody after leaving the show.
Although he hasn’t released a single since 2007, Gareth enjoyed a successful musical theatre career and starred in several musicals such as Les Miserables and Legally Blonde.
Gareth, who also has a 11-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, was most recently linked to Corrie star Faye Brookes before their dramatic split last year.
Scottish singer Darius Campbell had already competed in Popstars – the show that brought us Hear’Say – a year earlier before turning his attention to Pop Idol in 2001.
The singer came in third in the competition and actually went on to earn himself an impressive five top ten singles, including chart topper Colourblind.
Darius even supported Shakira on her live tour and released a book after his Pop Idol appearance.
The musician then went on to enjoy a career in musical theatre and in 2010 he won the show Popstar to Operastar .
Darius wed actress Natasha Henstridge in 2011 before filing for divorce two years later.
Zoe was just 16 when she became the highest ranking female competitor to remain in the popular ITV show.
She released a single called Treat Me Like a Lady following her television stint, which ranked in 12th in the charts.
She was quickly dropped from her recording label following the flop.
Zoe also went on to star in a number of musical performances and was Alexandra Burke’s understudy for Broadway show The Bodyguard.
In 2014 she entered the Big Brother house but came in ninth place.
Nowadays Zoe has 23,900 social media followers and describes herself as a ‘mamma and Westend Singer.’
Hayley came in fifth place in the show and then landed herself a small role on Coronation Street.
In 2012, the budding singer auditioned for a second shot at fame on X Factor but sadly didn’t make it past the bootcamp.
In 2016, Hayley was pitted as one of the contestants to represent Romania at the Eurovision song contest but was forced to withdraw because of a severe knee injury.
Australian-born Rosie came in sixth in the show however she went on to sign a five-album deal and land two top 20 singles.
She even supported Liberty X during their tour and enjoyed some musical success.
However, the budding singer’s contract was cut short after her agency ran into financial troubles.
In 2007, she auditioned for Australian Idol but failed to make it to the live shows .
Following her stint on Pop Idol – where she came in seventh place – Laura went on to pursue studies.
In 2006, Laura graduated from the University of Ulster with a music degree and went on to teach hip hop in schools.
Nowadays, Aaron Bayley plays in a wedding band called the Aaron Bayley Band.
According to the band’s website, they are: “The number one choice when it comes to booking a wedding band in Newcastle and the North East.”
He was also a member of reality group G*Mania that performed renditions of Don’t Stop Believin’ and Gold Digger among others.
Although Jessica came in ninth, the songstress went on to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest the following year.
Amazingly, her entry Comeback, came in third – which is unheard of in modern UK Eurovision memory.
Jessica wed in 2004 and has two children.
She also tried to revive her music career in 2009, but her single failed to kick off.
Rik Waller sadly had his time on Pop Idol cut short when he had to drop out of the competition due to laryngitis.
He was replaced by Darius in the show.
Despite his abrupt end, the singer went on to land a top ten hit with a cover of I Will Always Love You.
A year after his Pop Idol stint, Rik appeared on Celebrity Fit Club and two years after he starred in Back to Reality.
Rik stared his own band and headed on tour, but dwindling ticket sales meant many of his shows were cancelled.
As his music career slipped away from him, Rik also faced financial difficulties and ended up queuing at the job centre.
By 2014, he was said to be working as an exam invigilator at a local school.
The first contestant to be eliminated from Pop Idol was Korben – also known as Chris Niblett.
Nowadays, the former Pop Idol contestant goes by the name of Korben Niblett and as of 2014 was the Regional Education Manager at Estee Lauder Travel.
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