"Come and smile, don't be shy
Touch my bum, this is life
We are the cheeky girls
We are the cheeky girls
You are the cheeky boys
You are the cheeky boys"

The novelty act who turned up to auditions for the 2002 series of UK Popstars with a song written by their mother and became the water cooler moment of the tired reality show. One Eurodisco backing track later, the Cheeky Girls entered the pop charts in their own right, hot on the heels of their spiritual sisters Las Ketchup.

Twin sisters Gabriela and Monica Irimia are arguably Transylvania's most easily recognisable exports since Dracula, or equally, Dr Frank N. Furter. With back-combed flame-red hair, a penchant for hot pants and the slight build of those Romanian gymnasts who lie about their age, the twosome resemble nothing so much as a pair of Siamese cats outfitted at Kookai.

Born on October 31, 1982 - Gabriela is the elder by ten minutes - the girls were raised in the Transylvanian town of Cluj-Napoca by their father Doru, and threw themselves into showbiz from an early age, abandoning early experiments in gymnastics and karate before training as ballerinas at the Hungarian Opera House and, from the age of ten, the prestigious Octavian Strola High School of Choreography.

After graduating in 2001 they decided to visit their mother Margaret in Britain, and discovered she had ambitions to make a tennis mother proud. Encouraged by Margaret, they entered Channel 4's search for a catwalk star, Model Behaviour, before turning up to their local Popstars autidition armed with a song scribbled by their mum in half an hour.

The resultant Cheeky Song, delivered in chirpy broken English, stunned the Popstars judging panel, which included pop moguls Pete Waterman and Louis Walsh, and former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell (a woman responsible for several Ginger Taste Disasters of her own). Walsh and Waterman seemed especially enamoured of the duo, whose dance routine, seemingly owing much to Danish one-hit wonder Whigfield, depended on much touching of bums. Poor Octavian Strola would turn in his grave.

The Cheeky Girls were invited to perform at the National Music Awards in November 2002, signed to Multiply Records, the home of German DJ Sash!, and subsequently became just one among that winter's parade of European novelty songs. It's not Aserejé, because the lyrics are marginally more comprehensible, and it's not All The Things She Said, or there wouldn't be any Cheeky Boys in sight. In the next few months the song was released Europe-wide, and in a charming example of chickens coming home to roost, even looked set to chart at home in Romania.

As impossible as it might seem to outdo such success. a Cheeky Girls album was promised for 2003, with all the songs to be written by a proud Margaret, and the second single reported to be My Español Dream. Feathers were ruffled in the touchy world of Eurovision fandom when rumours circulated that the Cheeky Girls would follow Pop Idol entrant Jessica Garlick into the British final for the contest, Song For Europe.

Such fears have not materialised, although one notes with trepidation that the line-up for the Romanian final has still left one performer unannounced.

Cheeky cheeky...

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