She was the voice of Girls Aloud from the beginning — the belter of big tunes who sailed effortlessly through each round of Popstars: The Rivals.
While Londonderry’s Nadine Coyle may have been the baby of the band, she was held up as the brightest star, the strongest singer in the five-piece and the member most likely to make it on her own.
In contrast, her band-mate Cheryl Tweedy, now Cole, found herself clinging on by her perfectly manicured fingernails on several occasions, with her performances failing to impress either the judges or the voting public.
So when Tweedy’s name was the first announced as having secured a place in the newly formed girl group, there was much surprise and even accusations of a mix-up.
Fast-forward eight years and how things have changed for both girls. While Cole is a hugely popular solo artist, a star of prime-time television and the bearer of the title ‘nation’s sweetheart’, the talented Coyle is somewhat out in the cold, struggling to match the success of her peer.
From both camps there are constant denials of a competition or cat-fight between them, but truth is it’s turning out to be the most spectacular of battles.
To observers it’s obvious that there has been a line drawn in the sand between Coyle and the rest of the band. Since autumn last year there’s been virtually no contact between herself and the other four girls and Coyle was noticeable by her absence when Cole performed her new single Promise This recently on The X Factor.
And Coyle — who is determined to assert her credentials as a musician rather than a celebrity — has had the odd swipe at her nemesis. In a recent interview she said singing had been a small part of being a member of Girls Aloud.
“After a while, you realise it’s more about miming on TV and doing a cute dance routine,” she said, maybe unaware Cole had come under fire for just that.
When Cole released her new single Promise This last week, it went straight to number one, helped in no small part by a performance on The X Factor.
It hasn’t managed to retain its grip on the top spot this week, but she’s still sitting pretty at number two and her second solo album Messy Little Raindrops is well on course to be number one next week.
In sharp contrast, the more proficient Coyle will be lucky if her debut single Insatiable, released last Monday, scrapes into the Top 20. In the mid-week charts it was positioned at number 26 and slowly climbing upwards. But, irrespective of what she says, that must leave a bitter taste in her mouth.
Coyle releases her solo album on Monday, through an exclusive deal with supermarket chain Tesco, but it’s unlikely to cause Ms Cole too many sleepless nights as she awaits her second solo number one album.
What Cole has in her favour is her visibility via The X Factor. Don’t underestimate its power. While Cole is poised for a number one in the album charts, two other acts who performed on the show recently — Jamiroquai and Bon Jovi — both have top five albums this week.
And Rihanna, another X Factor performer, will be number one in the singles charts this week.
While Coyle’s music is pure pop, with a bit of rock thrown in, Cole’s is edgier and appeals to a wider fanbase.
One is a pop singer, the other a popstar.
How ironic that they met on a show called The Rivals.