Pop Idol series 1: where are they now?

Remember that epic Darius Danesh Popstars audition?

Zoe Birkett, Gareth Gates and Rik Waller

by Carl Smith |
Updated on

We're always harking back to the golden era of early noughties telly. Whether we're finding out what theold Shipwrecked contestants are up to now or getting all nostalgic over the early years of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! it just takes us back to a simpler time.

So now it's the turn of Pop Idol. Yup - in 2001 Simon Cowell, Nicki Chapman, Neil Fox and Pete Waterman judged a bunch of wannabe pop star-types, before Will Young saw off competition from the likes of Gareth Gates, Zoe Birkett and Darius Campbell (as he's now known), to be crowned winner.

Let's see what the series one line-up are all up to now, shall we?

BELOW: Here's what the Pop Idol 2001 contestants look like now...


Pop Idol series 1: Where are they now?

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Will Young

Will obviously beat Gareth Gates in the final and went on to release a string of massive singles including Light My Fire and Leave Right Now. He released a greatest hits album in 2009 and just missed out on a spot on The Voice UK panel to The Script's Danny O'Donoghue. In 2016 he joined Strictly Come Dancing; only to leave the show three weeks later due to 'personal reasons.' Will still makes music and will be releasing his book To Be A Gay Man in September 2020.

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Gareth Gates

Gareth released three studio albums after finishing in second place, including the absolute tune that was Anyone of Us (Stupid Mistake). In 2014 he competed in Dancing on Ice: All Stars and joined supergroup 5th Story on The Big Reunion. He was in a relationship with Coronation Street actress Faye Brookes from 2012 to 2019 before being linked to DJ Chloe McLennan in July 2020.

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Zoe Birkett

Zoe came fourth on the show and released a top twenty single (Treat Me Like a Lady, which reached number 12) before being dropped by Pop Idol creator Simon Fuller's label. In 2014 she entered Big Brother (not even the celebrity version) and came ninth.

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Korben Niblett

The first contestant to be eliminated from Pop Idol is also known as Chris Niblett. According to his LinkedIn profile, Korben's been a Regional Education Manager at Estee Lauder Travel since late 2014.

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Darius Cambell

Darius Campbell (who back then went by Darius Danesh) had previously auditioned for Popstars with his cover of Britney Spears' ...Baby One More Time; and returned to Pop Idol the next year. He went on to release five top ten singles and won ITV show Popstar to Operastar in 2010. Darius married actress Natasha Henstridge in 2011 but filed for divorce just two years later.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock/Twitter

Hayley Evetts

After finishing fifth, Hayley bagged a small role on Coronation Street and starred as Sandy in Grease alongside Robbie Williams' best mate Jonathan Wilkes. She auditioned for The X Factor in 2012 (though didn't make it past boot camp) and in 2016 was one of the candidates set to represent Romania at Eurovision before pulling out due to a severe knee injury.

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Rosie Ribbons

Rosie signed a five-album deal after coming sixth; releasing top twenty singles Blink and A Little Bit. After her record label went bust she was released from her contract, but Rosie did enter Australian Idol in 2007. Didn't make it through to the final 12, though.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock/Twitter

Laura Doherty

Laura now has a music degree after graduating from the University of Ulster in 2006. She also teaches hip-hop dancing in schools.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock/Twitter

Aaron Bayley

Aaron now plays weddings and functions as part of the Aaron Bayley Band (inspired.) He also joined fellow popstar-types Andy Scott-Lee, Stacey McClean, Rikki Loney and Kavana in supergroup G*Mania, who went on tour performing Glee songs.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock/Twitter

Rik Waller

Rik was replaced by Darius when he was forced to leave the live shows due to severe laryngitis. He released a top 10 single - a cover of Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You - and appeared on Celebrity Fit Club in 2002. Back in March 2014, he was an exam invigilator.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Korben Niblett

The first contestant to be eliminated from Pop Idol is also known as Chris Niblett. According to his LinkedIn profile, Korben's been a Regional Education Manager at Estee Lauder Travel since late 2014.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Jessica Garlick

She might've only finished ninth, but Jessica went on to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest with Come Back. She even managed to come third, which is pretty bloody amazing.


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Pop Idol was on TV between 2001 and 2003, after it finished very popular show The X Factor started and it is still continuing to this day.

The most recent X Factor had a new judging line-up including One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson, pop star Robbie Williams and his wife, model Ayda Williams. Head judge Simon Cowell, also returned to complete the judging line-up.

But we'll never give up hope of a Louis Walsh return.

AS for Pop Idol, Gareth Gates may have been the runner up but he's winning at love. He and Corrie's Faye Brookes got engaged to be married in early 2019. How lovely.

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