Sunday 1 February 2015

Let's hear it for the Girls

Published 20/11/2012 | 09:49

Britain's Queen Elizabeth walks past Girls Aloud as she arrives to greet the performers after the Royal Variety Performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London November 19, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Winning (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT)

Can you believe how old Girls Aloud are?

It’s hard to believe that the fresh face poppets are all racing towards 30 (Sarah Harding and Kimberley Walsh are in fact 30) and have been through wringer including divorce, career highs and lows and rehab seems incredible. But this is indeed the case.

Having seen so many pop bands get back together – Talk That, NSynch and, um, Steps – it’s not like anyone was surprised at the reunion of Girls Aloud but at the same time it’s nice.

What is interesting about the band is that they were the first group to dispel the notion that all manufactured pop bands were bad things – and very few people will argue with the fact that Sound of the Underground is one of the best pop tunes ever. Even the Guardian admitted this was the case with critic Alexis Petridis conceding: “It proved a first: it was a reality pop record that didn't make you want to do physical harm to everyone involved in its manufacture."

The five also threw out the notion that anybody who is a member of a manufactured band is necessarily a malleable puppet, minus any opinion.

And, when they appeared on Strictly at weekend, it was clear that they’re still a pop force to be reckoned with.

The reunited fivesome performed two songs for what was the first time that they had performed together as a group.

And they looked amazing. It was all lithe limbs, tousled locks and space-age silver mini dresses as they hit up the stage at Wembley Arena.

Over the last ten years, it’s been interesting to follow the trials and tribulations, as well as the successes of the Girls Aloud members, as they followed very different paths.

There’s Cheryl Cole, who went from being up in court for attacking cloakroom attendants to become the nations’s sweetheart on X Factor, via a humiliating divorce from her footballer husband Ashley Cole.

Renowned reveller Sarah Harding has finally hung up her party boots following a stint in rehab last year.

Kimberley Walsh has reinvented herself as a stage star, playing Princess Fiona in the West End production of Shrek, as well as wowing on Strictly.

Meanwhile Nicola Roberts has favoured fashion instead of music, and brought out her own make-up line. And who’d have thunk that somone who started out wearing lycra and belly tops is now hailed for her daring, cutting edge dress sense.

Wee Nadine, who upped sticks and moved to LA where she owned a couple of bars, has now reconciled with her bandmates following a certain froideur between her and them.

They never had the same kind of cultural significance in the same way that the Spice Girls had with girl power but Girls Aloud were always a fun, fresh breath of musical fresh air.

And they were quick to gloss over all those rumours of in-band arguments.

Nadine said: “It was really great. We couldn't wait to get back to back together.

“We were so nervous. Hope no one noticed that mistake I made when I walked forward.'

“It's great. It's so special,” added Kimberly.

Their song as been selected as the official Children in Need single, something they’re obviously proud of.

Cheryl said “'It's just been a very special thing to be a part of it. We feel very fortunate to be a part of it.'

And for the past disagreements?

“What disagreements?” said Nadine with Cheryl insisting, “There is no drama.”

“Well, maybe wardrobe envy,” Sarah Harding joked.

Welcome back Girls. We’re delighted to see you.

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