Nearly three years since they won the ITV series Popstars: The Rivals, and Girls Aloud have rather effortlessly slipped through the Reality TV curse. While it's impossible to remember any of the members of their 'rival' band One True Voice, Cheryl, Sarah, Nadine, Kimberly and Nicola have become household names.
So how have they joined this select group, (other members: Will Young, Lemar)? Obviously they're all attractive (but not intimidatingly so), they can sing (but none of them are especially great singers) and can dance a bit (but not particularly brilliantly). What's turned them into proper popstars is the fact that they've got the indefinable something that makes you keep watching the screen. Yes, it's tough to admit that Louis Walsh is right, but it's true that Girls Aloud have the infamous 'X-Factor'.
That X Factor is on display in spades on this, the girls' first live DVD. Recorded at Hammersmith Apollo in late 2004, this features all that you'd ever want from a pop concert. There's costume changes (no doubt the schoolgirl outfits will prove particularly popular with the group's male fans), dance moves, and some wonderfully trashy songs. And for all the teenage lads who will no doubt be hiding this under their beds, there's plenty of rather fetishistic close ups of the girls' bare stomachs and denim clad bottoms.
The thing that really makes Girls Aloud stand out from the crowd is the songs, courtesy of the genius Xenomania production team. From the opening electro-ish The Show, right through to the encore of Sound Of The Underground, almost every song is a cracker. Yes, its disposable pop, yes it's ridiculously trashy at times, and yes, your friends may well laugh at you if you admit to liking them. But they have that essential ingredient of all good pop music - they're fun.
Whether it be the glorious No Good Advice, the Wonderwall-nicking Life Got Cold or one of the greatest pop single of the last 20 years, Love Machine, they're all performed with gusto here by the girls. No matter how orange or thin they become (and Nadine is looking worryingly skeletal here), you still get the impression that they're all still ordinary women, which is all part of their appeal.
It's even quite endearing how the terrifically scowly Nicola Roberts looks thoroughly bored most of the time, although the frequent appearances of the obligatory overtly camp male campers do prove wearying. The camerawork on the DVD is of the 'point and shoot' variety, although to be honest nobody's really expecting Stop Making Sense with Girls Aloud. It's all colourful with rather too many fast edits for comfort, although the girls' target audience won't care about that.
If there is one thing that What Will The Neighbours Say Live proves though, it's that Girls Aloud should never ever do another cover version. As well as the well known mauling of The Pretenders' I'll Stand By You, and the moribund version of Jump, there's also an appalling cover of Teenage Dirtbag by Wheatus. At one horrific point, it appears that they're about to tackle Another Brick In The Wall, but thankfully it only serves as an introduction to No Good Advice.
Away from the main feature, there's the video for the brilliantly bonkers Long Hot Summer single, a rather cursory two minute 'behind the scenes' featurette about the video and 10 minutes of interview clips with the girls. If you've ever wanted to know what Cheryl would spend £10,000 on ("shoes...lots of shoes"), whether Kimberley prefers PJs or negligees (PJs), and whether Nicola is a cats or dogs person ("dogs"), then this is the place to come.
Yet it's the concert footage that makes this an essential purchase for any fans of Girls Aloud - or indeed, any fans of pop music in general.