Pop band Hear’Say were at the center of a stitch-up row Wednesday amid accusations that they selected one of their own dancers as a new band member. New recruit Johnny Shentall, 23, was apparently plucked from thousands of hopefuls who had traveled to London from all over Britain last weekend to queue for auditions.
But in a front-page splash the Sun said even though the chart-topping band said they had never met Shentall before, he was in fact one of 14 dancers on stage with the band at the Top of the Pops awards last November.
“Johnny already knows the group…he danced with them on Top of the Pops,” the Sun said, adding that Shentall was a “well-known face on the showbiz circuit.”
Shentall, whose girlfriend is Lisa Scott Lee of the former teen band Steps, replaces Kym Marsh, who quit the made-on-television group in January.
Hear’Say’s record company Polydor was not immediately available for comment. The Sun quoted a spokesman as saying that Shentall queued outside the audition studios like everyone else.
The Mirror said Shentall may also have been in one of Hear’Say’s videos.
“I don’t know if he knows the band well but I think he was a dancer in one of their videos,” the Mirror quoted Shentall’s brother Steven as saying.
Hear’Say members Suzanne Shaw, Danny Foster, Noel Sullivan and Myleene Klass said Tuesday Shentall was the right man for the job.
“Johnny is an all-rounder, he has the right look, he sings well, dances well and is perfect for the role,” Shaw told a packed news conference in London Tuesday.
The newest members’ voice has yet to be showcased for the public. Fans will have to wait until the band’s new single is released over the next few months, Polydor said Tuesday.
Shentall will go straight to work with the band to record the new single and will join them on tour in September, Polydor said.
Shentall, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, was formerly with the band Boom.
The original members of Hear’Say shot to fame last year after going through a grueling selection process on national television in the series “Popstars.”
After enjoying chart-topping success with the band since its inception last January, mother-of-two Marsh quit amid rumors of a personality clash with a fellow band member.
Hear’Say’s first release, “Pure and Simple,” was the best-selling British debut single ever, rocketing straight to number one. Their first album also shot straight to the top of the charts.