Will Young to sing for Prince Charles

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 10 2002 12:00 AM ET

Prince Charles will be serenaded by Pop Idol finalists at a special fund-raising concert in aid of his charitable foundation, the Prince's Trust. Openly gay Pop Idol champion Will Young and runners-up Gareth Gates and Zoe Birkett will all perform in front of the heir to the throne on Thursday. The concert is part of the trio's tour of the United Kingdom, which closes October 28-29. Young and Gates's cover of the Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road" is expected to be part of the repertoire.

Fans of the popsters are also likely to be treated to Young's "Evergreen" (not the Barbra Streisand hit) and "Light My Fire." Many will be hoping he will perform the duet "It Takes Two" with Birkett. Young recently released his debut album From Now On, while Gates's debut album will hit U.K. music store shelves later this month. Their tour has so far been judged a success, with the performances receiving enthusiastic responses from predominantly young audiences. But the demise last week of Hear'Say--the first British band to be created out of the Popstars television show--and the arrival on U.K. television screens of a new spate of reality shows such as Fame Academy and Popstars: The Rivals could be bad news for the Pop Idol singers.

There are fears the public will begin to see Young, Gates, and Birkett as old news and switch their allegiance to the latest crop of wanna-bes. Less than two years ago Hear'Say was storming the British charts, racking up the fastest-selling debut single ever in the United Kingdom with "Pure and Simple" and defying critics who said the public didn't want manufactured bands. But their time in the spotlight has been cut short--in part because of the arrival of Young, Gates, and Birkett. Hear'Say's Suzanne Shaw told The [London] Sun tabloid last week that the band split for the simple reason that it had become unfashionable. "It's a fad thing, a novelty. It's like a pair of trainers--one minute they're in, and the next minute they're out," she said.