Girls Aloud: the modern Spice Girls?


When Nadine Coyle, Kimberley

, Cheryl Tweedy, Sarah Harding and Nicola

won the girls’ section of the U.K. reality TV talent contest

Popstars: The Rivals
in 2002, and then formed a group called Girls

, I don’t think anyone was really expecting much from them.

After all, the last U.K. band formed

via a reality show, Hear’Say, had gone spectacularly to pieces, with

public backlash and rapid disintegration within 18 months. The twist

to Popstars: The Rivals was that it put together not one but

two bands: Girls Aloud, and a boy band called One True Voice, who were

then expected to battle it out for that year’s U.K. Christmas No.

1. Public money was on One True Voice: After all, teenage girls always

have room on their walls for another boy band, whereas everyone in the

U.K. knew that there hadn’t been a successful five-piece girl band

since … well, since the Spice Girls.

In the end, One True Voice came up

with an awful piece of drivel called “Sacred Trust” for their first

single, and Girls Aloud beat them to No. 1 with their first release,

“Sound of the Underground.” Since then, the Aloud have been more

successful than anyone would have predicted, achieving 17 consecutive

top ten singles, three of which reached No. 1. Although not a global

phenomenon like the Spice Girls, they’ve held on to success steadily

for five years, without any major upsets like the loss of a band member.

In that time, although they’re

not my favorite band, they’ve also come up with several songs that

I like. There was their second single release, “No Good Advice,”

in 2003:

There was “Wake Me Up” in 2005

— with a video excellent for anyone who likes dykes

straight girls on bikes:

And, on a slower, classier note,

there was the unexpectedly stylish “Whole Lotta History” in 2006.

As well as liking the song, I have to admit I find it hard to resist

a girl who sings to me from inside a book-lined study:

Image-wise, the girls project a slightly

different, more aloof and grownup vibe than the Spice Girls do, and they

also play to a different demographic: less to kids, more to men’s-magazine-reading

guys (alas). However, to introduce you to each band member individually,

and to amuse myself, I thought I’d try pairing each Aloud Girl with

her equivalent Spice Girl:

1. Nicola Roberts and Geri Halliwell

Nicola and Geri go together in my

mind for the simple, and perhaps not very reasonable, reason that they

are both red-haired. Apart from this, though, they don’t have a great

deal in common. Ginger Spice was joyously loud and mouthy. Nicola is

quiet and unusual and enigmatic-looking — a bit more like the also red-haired

Siobhan Donaghy
of the original Sugababes.

2. Cheryl Cole (née Tweedy) and

Victoria Beckham

A fairly simple one here: Cheryl

and Victoria are both pretty, dark-haired (when they’re not busy dyeing

it an unflattering blonde) and married to footballers. Cheryl is fairly

daft, though, whereas (at least in my Posh Spice fantasies) Victoria

possesses a subtle intelligence and surprisingly comprehensive knowledge

of 19th-century French poetry.

3. Nadine Coyle and Emma Bunton

Nadine and Emma are both blonde,

sweet, pretty, friendly and generally prone to making you feel that

it’s a lovely day. I suspect Emma’s blonde to be a tad more natural

than Nadine’s, however.

4. Sarah Harding and Melanie Brown

They’ve both got a hard edge that

I find slightly off-putting — though Sarah is a huge hit with the men’s

magazine market, and in fact I can scarcely walk past a newsstand without

seeing her posing in her underwear.

5. Kimberley Walsh and Melanie


Both seem like down-to-earth girls

whom you might meet on the street. But I have yet to see Kimberley do

a backflip.

Have I chosen the right match-ups?

Which (if any) of the Aloud is your favorite?

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