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Annie Lennox 'had a hand' in the Spice Girls' success

Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller has revealed for the first time that singer Annie Lennox was secretly one of the architects of the girl group's success.

Fuller explained the Eurythmics star played an important but unheralded role in encouraging the chart-topping group to "ham up" their characters, which helped them top the charts around the world.

The Spice Girls pictured in 1997 at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party. Credit: All Action/EMPICS Entertainment

He pointed out in a documentary for BBC Radio 2, to air tomorrow at 10pm, that Lennox may not be too happy to have her formative role in shaping the band made public.

Fuller revealed, "Almost directly she was the one who who got them to be louder and more brash and more specific, so Emma, who was the sweet cute blonde girl, became Baby Spice. She just played it and hammed it up - none of these names actually existed, but Annie gave them focus."

Little Mix beat the Spice Girls with top-5 US debut

X Factor winners Little Mix have become the first British girl group to debut in the US top five beating even the Spice Girls.

The foursome shot into the Billboard chart at number four after selling 50,000 copies of their first release DNA.

Little Mix on top as they beat the Spice Girls by reaching the US top-5 with their debut album. Credit: Niall Carson/PA & Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment

They even earned praise from the notoriously hard to please X Factor boss Simon Cowell, who sent an online message saying: "Congratulations Little Mix. Very proud of you."

Little Mix, whose hits include chart-topper Wings, responded to Cowell with a message on Twitter which read: "Thank you so much Simon. Thank you for all your support from day one."

The Spice Girls entered the US chart at number six when they released first album Spice in 1997.

Spice Girls musical closes due to poor ticket sales

The Spice Girls-inspired musical Viva Forever! is to close after just seven months in the West End.

The show at the Piccadilly Theatre will officially shut at the end of June due to poor ticket sales.

The show's producer Judy Craymer, who previously worked on the smash hit Mamma Mia!, expressed her sadness at the difficult decision citing "very tough economic times" as a key reason behind the closure, but insisted the "legacy of Spice Girls will never fade".

Written by comedian Jennifer Saunders, the show charted the trials and tribulations of wannabe girlband Eternity and featured songs from the Spice Girls.

However, the musical failed to go down well with the critics; the Daily Mail's Quentin Letts labelling the show a "a prize Christmas turkey".

The Spice Girls have thanked fans and the cast for supporting the show, stating that they were "thrilled that the thousands of people who came to the show had as much fun as we did".

Read: Spice Girls attend musical premiere

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Spice Girls musical slammed by critics as 'a prize Christmas turkey'

The long-awaited Spice Girls musical has failed to go down well with the critics after its premiere last night.

The Daily Mirror called the plot "cliched" and the dialogue "leaden", and said that "laughs, from writer [Jennifer] Saunders, are surprisingly few and far between".

"You would think it would be easy to strap the songs of one of the biggest girl groups in recent history to an exuberant story of girl power to create a worldwide money-making machine. But you would be wrong," Alun Palmer wrote.

Spice Girls: Geri Halliwell, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton and Melanie Chisholm at the premiere Credit: PA

The Independent's Paul Taylor said the show was "lacking in any true original or challenging spark of its own".

The Daily Mail's Quentin Letts was also unimpressed, calling the musical "a prize Christmas turkey".

The Sun's Poppy Cosyns, who said that seeing the Spice Girls at Wembley at the age of eight had been one of her childhood highlights, had some good words.

Writing that the show had "lived up to all the hype", she said, adding that "Saunders has done a great job with the script and the show flows really well."

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