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All you need to know about ITV's Popstars: The Rivals.

So, what's it all about?
Popstars: The Rivals is the second series of 2000/2001 hit Popstars, which spawned the band Hear'Say.

Who'Say?
A nationwide auditioning process saw wannabe pop singers do their stuff in front of the panel of judges -- Nigel Lythgoe, Paul Adam and Nicki Chapman. The number was eventually whittled down to ten, from which the final five -- Kym Marsh, Noel Sullivan, Suzanne Shaw, Danny Foster and Myleene Klass -- were chosen. The group went on to have two number one singles and a number one album. In January 2002, Marsh quit the band and was replaced by Johnny Shentall. The remaining five from the final ten formed a band of their own, Liberty X, who have also gone on to have a number one single.

Are the same judges back again?
No. Nigel Lythgoe has gone on to work at the 19 Group, where he has executive produced Pop Idol and taken the format to the USA. Chapman also joined 19, and now co-manages Will Young and Gareth Gates, two of the stars that emerged from Pop Idol. Paul Adam was too busy with his record label RCA to take part in the new series. Taking their places on the judging panel is Pete Waterman, a music industry veteran and Pop Idol judge; Geri Halliwell, a former Spice Girl but now a solo artist; and Louis Walsh, manager of Westlife and judge on the Irish version of Popstars.

So what else is new?
The most significant format change is the end product -- Popstars: The Rivals will create two five-piece bands, one all boys, and the other all girls. Both will release singles simultaneously in a race for the Christmas number one spot. The bands will be signed to different labels (Pete will sign the boys to his PWL label, and Louis will take the girls to Polydor), ensuring a fierce commercial battle as well.

The other major change this series is interactivity. The judges will whittle the hopefuls down to ten boys and ten girls, who will live in neighbouring houses. Each week, they will perform live as individuals and in groups. One contender will be voted out each week until just five girls and five boys remain -- the final bands. Details about the second half of the series are still patchy, with even production crew being kept in the dark about how exactly it will play out.

Who's presenting?
Big Brother's Davina McCall. Keen Popstars fans will remember her hosting the final live edition of the first series, when Hear'Say were confirmed as reaching the number one position in the charts with "Pure and Simple".

I'm an addict already -- I want more!
As is now common with most ITV1 shows, support programming will be available on ITV2 in the form of Popstars: The Rivals Extra, fronted by Pop Idol finalist Hayley Evetts and solo artist Dane Bowers. Initially, the programme will provide extra footage from the auditions, but later in the series will come live from the two Popstars houses and feature video diaries made by the contestants themselves.

You can also keep up-to-date with full coverage and the latest gossip right here on Digital Spy, and share your opinions on the show and contestants in our dedicated forum.

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