A battling big pop pitch from Gareth (and Will)

BRADFORD’S Gareth Gates and his rival Will Young launched their “manifestos” yesterday as the competition to be elected the nation’s Pop Idol moved into the final stages.

The would-be stars promise fame will not go to their heads if they win the talent show and that they will not throw “celebrity strops”.

Today the pair are taking to their “Battle Buses” for a week of General Election-style campaigning to try to secure the public’s votes.

They will meet fans and gives a series of TV, radio and Press interviews in an intensive media blitz around London.

Gareth, from East Bowling, Bradford, and Will, from Hungerford, Berks, are the last two Pop Idol contenders after Darius Danesh was booted out of the competition on Saturday night’s show.

Their tongue-in-cheek manifestos each give six reasons why the public should vote for them.

Will, 23, a university graduate, pledges to “stay well clear of typical celebrity hangouts” and to “not throw celebrity strops at stalker journalists and the paparazzi (I reserve the right to break this pledge)”.

As well as promising “not to become a music industry diva and not to request lychees on tap 24/7”, he vows to “stay true to myself and my beliefs at all times” and to “respect and entertain my fans at all times”.

And in a cheeky swipe at judge Simon Cowell he promises “not to wear my trousers at an unacceptable waist height”.

Meanwhile, 17-year-old Gareth pledges “not to throw celebrity strops or become a high maintenance pop star” and “not to become a celebrity bighead and keep my feet firmly on the floor”.

The baby-faced A-level student, who viewers have seen struggling to overcome his stammer, promises “to work hard and give my fans everything they deserve for giving me this opportunity”.

He includes pledges “not to give photoshoots in exquisite mansions claiming them to be my home” and “not to accept lavish gifts from other celebrities in a bid for publicity”.

After ribbing from Pop Idol hosts Ant and Dec about his spiky haircut, he also vows “to retain the 2-2-1 formation for as long as possible”.

Gareth remains the bookies’ favourite to win, with William Hill offering odds of 2/5 on him and 7/4 on Will.

But in Saturday’s voting they were neck and neck, Gareth securing 39.8 per cent and Will 39.3 per cent.

Meanwhile Darius, who sang the Toploader hit Dancing In The Moonlight and the Walker Brothers classic Make It Easy On Yourself, finally saw his hopes of winning dashed.

But he vowed to continue his pursuit of pop stardom and insisted: “I’m not only the luckiest boy in Britain, but the happiest. Everything that has happened to me has been incredible.”

“When I heard the result last night I was totally over the moon. I can’t tell you why, but it just felt right. It was a great feeling and I also felt a sense of relief.

“I’d rather come third than second. Imagine what coming second would be like.”

He refused to be drawn on whether he wanted Gareth or Will to be the eventual winner, insisting: “They’re both fantastic.”