Westlife admit they beat Spice Girls in fierce chart battle — but 'collaboration would be nice'
THEIR fierce rivalry dates back to the late 1990s when their battles for the No1 slot dominated the charts.
But after years of trading insults it looks as if Westlife are finally ready to bury the hatchet with rival pop group the Spice Girls… well, almost.
Speaking to Bizarre backstage at the start of their comeback shows, Nicky Byrne says the band would love to collaborate with the girls — whose reunion tour begins on Friday night.
But in a cheeky dig, the boys say they beat the girls in the chart battle of their heyday.
Nicky said: “We would absolutely love to collaborate with the Spice Girls.
“We are big fans of the girls and we are crossing paths on tour this week. It would be a great thing to do.”
But Nicky’s bandmate Mark Feehily is not so willing to let the rivalry go.
He quips: “They’ll just have to forgive us for beating them in the charts about ten years ago.”
Nicky joked to Mark: “We put the olive branch out and then you snapped it in half!”
The band launched their sold-out Twenty tour in Belfast on Wednesday night and gave Bizarre exclusive access backstage before they took to the stage in front of 12,000 screaming fans.
The diva demands in their riders are long gone — Minstrels, Heineken and Guinness is about as showbiz as it gets.
It’s been a whirlwind return for the foursome after they managed to win the backing of self-confessed Westlife superfan Ed Sheeran.
The flame-haired singer has penned four songs on Spectrum, their first album in nine years out in September.
And they are hoping they can get Ed to one of the shows so he can join them on stage. Nicky says: “He’s on tour himself at the minute but he is starting to come over to this side of the world.
“There are a few nights here and there that he’s off and we’re on and visa versa. So you never know — it could happen.”
And now they have got Ed on board with the record, they are willing to stop at nothing to sign up their other dream bookings.
Kian Egan says: “Celine Dion always pops up. That would be incredible. There’s lots of new singers as well that there have been a lot of studio conversations about.
“Ariana Grande would be pretty special. But Adele is the ultimate duet.
Westlife: SSE Arena, Belfast
I SENT Bizarre’s Westlife superfan Benjy Potter to review their first night . . .
DOUBLE denim, bar stalls and cheesy dance routines should probably have been left in the Nineties but twenty years on Westlife are still masters at pulling them off.
Kicking off their 20th anniversary tour in Belfast, the boys could barely be heard through the shrieks coming from the crowd, less teenage girls more twenty-something year olds and beyond dragging along their other halves.
With pop megastar Ed Sheeran already backing the boy’s return to the spotlight and helping to mastermind new album Spectrum — they had little work to do in convincing the crowd that they still deserved a place in our hearts (and maybe even on our bedroom walls).
The routines were slick, harmonies silky smooth and their good looks barely changed from the Smash Hits covers of the early Noughties.
There were no backing singers or dancers crowding the stage, it was just the boys and their voices carrying them through their incredible 14 hit number ones with nods to Queen, Abba and Michael Buble along the way.
I shamelessly belted out Flying Without Wings, You Raise Me Up and Mandy in good company with 12,000 others swept away by nostalgia at Belfast’s SSE Arena.
But dust off your bar stalls, practise your key changes — Westlife are here to stay.
“If she has any spare songs then we have two spaces left on our album.”
And as the boys crack on with their 45-date world tour this week, there is also talk of a musical based on the band’s songs. Their long-time manager Louis Walsh says: “I would love to do a Westlife musical.
“You know what we could call it? West Life Story.
“Their songs have a brilliant narrative. It could be a great hit.
“Take That have shown that it can work and my boys have had 14 number ones.”
As well as a musical there’s also been talk of a documentary about the band’s reunion, with Netflix and Sky said to be interested.
Shane Filan explains: “We’re filming and photographing a lot of backstage stuff.
“God knows what it’s going to be in six months or a year’s time.”
If it’s anything like the Bros documentary, it could be pure gold.
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