Stories on "Popstars," and Fred's personal top picks of 2001.

POPSTARS IN THE FIRMAMENT: Earlier this year, Eden's Crush had a best-selling single in the U.S. The group was just one of many all over the world to come out of the "Popstars" television series. Now, the second season of the U.S. edition of the show has produced another chart-worthy group. The co-ed Section 23 enters the final The Billboard 200 of 2001 at No. 172 with "Pop Stars 2: Music from the TV Show" (London-Sire)."

The "Popstars" phenomenon continues unabated. In France, the five women known as L5 debut at No. 1 on the album chart with their self-titled album on the Mercury label. But one country may have set a record for the number of "Popstars" acts to succeed on its charts, according to Jochen Tierbach, who is an expert on the history of the charts in Switzerland. He notes that two weeks ago, the first "Popstars" outfit from Switzerland, the all-female TEARs (Tiffany, Evelyn, Amanda, and Romina) debuted at No. 1 with "M.U.S.I.C." Now they have been replaced at No. 1 by Bro'Sis, the "Popstars" from the second season of the German edition. "I Believe" had already been No. 1 in Germany and Austria before reaching pole position in Switzerland.

At the same time, France's L5 debuts at No. 11 in Switzerland with the single "Toutes les Femmes de ta Vie." (It translates "All the Women of Your Life"). There's a fourth "Popstars" group on the Swiss charts this week -- No Angels, the girl group formed during the first season of the German edition. They are No. 19 with a double-sided single, "Atlantis" / "When the Angels Sing." The former is a remake of Donovan's 1969 hit, featuring Donovan as a guest artist. This remake is from the soundtrack to the German release of the Walt Disney film, "Atlantis."

Tierbach says that with Italian "Popstars" Lollipop and the U.K. "Popstars" Hear'Say having charted in Switzerland, six different groups from various versions of the TV series have appeared on the Swiss charts.

One of the "Popstars" groups that has not charted in Switzerland figures is included in my year-end favorites. Following are lists of my top-10 singles and album tracks of 2001. See my No. 7 album track of the year to find out which "Popstars" song I liked best.

TRADITIONS: There are a lot of traditions we associate with the holiday season and the changing of the year. For me, it's time to select my favorite singles, albums, and album tracks of the year just gone by. My top-10 albums can be found, along with picks of the rest of the Billboard staff, by going to Billboard.com's special section on 2001: The Year in Music.

My favorite album tracks and (commercially available) singles are listed here:

Top 10 Singles of 2001

1. Pincapallina, "Quando Io" (Columbia, Italy)
2. Piasek, "2 Long" (BMG, Poland)
3. Kylie Minogue, "Can't Get You Out of My Head" (Capitol)
4. 883, "Bella Vera" (CGD/EastWest, Italy)
5. Mr. Children, "Youthful Days" (Toshiba EMI, Japan)
6. Rollo & King, "Never Gonna Let You Go" (Mega/Edel, Denmark)
7. Montezuma's Revenge, "Danielle" (Zuma, The Netherlands)
8. Enya, "Only Time" (Reprise)
9. David Civera, "Dile Que la Quiero" (Vale, Spain)
10. Creamy, "Help! I'm a Fish (I'm a Little Yellow Fish)" (EMI-Medley, Denmark)

Top 10 Album Tracks of 2001

1. Abandoned Pools, "Suburban Muse" (Extasy)
2. A Camp, "I Can Buy You" (Stockholm/Universal, Sweden)
3. Sugar Ray, "When It's Over" (Lava/Atlantic)
4. Nelly Furtado, "I'm Like a Bird" (DreamWorks)
5. Glenn Tilbrook, "This Is Where You Ain't" (Quixotic/London)
6. Billy Gilman, "Our First Kiss" (Epic)
7. Scandal'us, "I'm Not Gonna Cry (Na Na Na)" (Song Zu/Festival Mushroom, Australia)
8. Garbo, "Miss You So" (EMI-Medley, Denmark)
9. Alicia Keys, "Jane Doe" (J)
10. Louise Pitre, "The Winner Takes It All" (LML)

If you'd like to hear some of these songs, along with the personal picks of the entire staff of "The Billboard Radio Countdown," listen to the annual staff favorites show, which will be posted at the site on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2002.

Until then, you can hear the top singles and albums of 2001 counted down by going to billboardradio.com.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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