REVIEW: Girls Aloud, Battle Abbey

It's time for a confession: I'm a Girls Aloud fan.

I've been blinded by their dayglo outfits and hypnotised by their catchy electropop ever since they stepped off the stage of Popstars: The Rivals six years ago.

I'm 26. It's wrong, I know. On Saturday night I didn't even have any children with me to hide my joy behind. And children made up a good majority of the audience, along with hen parties, gay men and embarrassed mothers.

It was a shame then, that as reported in the national press, the Girls weren't on form.

It started with "Hello Hastings!" - which probably upset a good proportion of the audience from Battle and surrounding villages, and followed with a confession that Cheryl (Cole) was ill.

I'm a great believer that the show must go on, and if Cheryl was ill, she either should've stayed in bed, or taken a deep breath and got on with it.

A succession of hits and covers followed - a brilliant version of Robyn's With Every Heartbeat, sung beautifully by a pale Nicola (Roberts), and a rousing performance of their hit, Jump.

The costumes were as spectacular as you might expect (although not as dayglo as I would've liked), and by far the best dancers were Kimberley (Walsh) and Sarah (Harding) -who also gets my award for the sexiest of the ladies on the night.

But the ending was, well, odd.

They disappeared for a good five minutes, and returned without the expected costume change, sang their last song, and left without an encore, despite an unrelenting crowd.

As the disappointed audience dissipated, a delayed and badly-planned firework display began, obscured by a large tree.

It was a good night, but it could have been so much better.