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Racegoers left wanting more

The Wanted took to the stage at Newbury Racecourse for this year's first Party in the Paddock event

NEWBURY Racecourse may be gearing up for music legends Rod Stewart this Sunday and Tom Jones on August 13, but last weekend the stage belonged to a group of new kids on the block whose combined age barely beats that of elder statesman Mr Jones.

Since hitting the top of the charts with their first single, All Time Low, in the week of its release last August, The Wanted have struck a chord with girls from pre-teens upwards all over the UK, from east to west. Life may never be the same for the five-piece who hail from various parts of the UK and Ireland (rather than springing up fully-formed from some backstreet, boys were auditioned for a coveted place in the band), but The Wanted have a strong work ethic, and less than a year since their debut, have busted a gut to get their second album recorded and ready for release.

Despite only having one album under their belt, The Wanted performed for more than an hour, debuting forthcoming single Lightening (lyrics: “in fact it's all a little bit frightening; we might as well be playing with lightening”, and covering songs by Jason Mraz and the Goo Goo Dolls. They then took things up to another level with a demonstration that these musical youths aren't just pretty faces but can also play instruments, with a laid back cover of Neon Trees' Animal, before they let loose with a lively covers medley of hits by Taio Cruz. Whether his song Dirty Picture was entirely suitable for the age of The Wanted's target audience was debatable – a bit blue, maybe?

Their dance routines may be a little more unconstructed than many boy bands, but their singing was A1 and impressively in sync with each other; much better than I, for one, was expecting, and putting many a former Popstars/Pop Idol/ X Factor act (of whom I fear I have seen more live than I care to admit) to shame. To us oldies, they might just seem like a new edition of so many outfits that we have seen come and go since the '80s (and before), but as they grow from boys to men, The Wanted may prove to have the staying power that elludes so many boy bands.

As a rousing lyric-perfect crowd singalong of their single Heart Vacancy demonstrated, right now, these boys own their rightful place at the top of the pops, and demonstrate that it is possible to storm the charts without being a Simon Cowell production. Take that, JLS!

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