AFTER months of rumours and years of pleading from fans, I can officially confirm that Westlife are reuniting.
The Irish band, comprised of Kian Egan, Nicky Byrne, Mark Feehily and Shane Filan, pictured, have recorded a new album and will head out on a huge stadium and arena tour next year.
Announcing their comeback, Shane said: “We genuinely missed each other and missed the buzz of performing on stage together to all our fans.
“We still have a lot that we want to achieve as a band and we want to bring our new music to fans all over the world.”
Nicky added: “While we were away, we realised what Westlife really meant to the fans — and to us.”
They have signed a new deal with Universal six years after their split.
But they will return without former bandmate Brian McFadden, who quit the group in 2004 and will compete in TV’s Dancing On Ice next year.
The reunion marks the 20th anniversary of the band’s formation. Before their 2012 split they had 14 UK No1 singles, seven No1 albums and sold 55million records worldwide.
And there is clearly still massive demand for the group, more than half a decade after their final show for 82,300 fans at Dublin’s Croke Park Stadium sold out in just four minutes.
Teasing what he’s looking forward to most about getting back on stage, Kian said: “This time around our children will get to enjoy Westlife and see their daddies on stage.”
I told last week, inset above, how Ed Sheeran had written a tune for the group, which is expected to be released before the end of the year as their comeback track.
Mark said: “It felt so great to be back in the studio together and hanging out with each other again. It just felt right.”
“We’re fresh, ready and so excited for this new next chapter of Westlife.”
And the fans certainly are, too.
READ ON FOR MORE OF SIMON BOYLE'S BIZARRE COLUMN
Olly's gold band mates
YEARS & Years have plenty of tunes about heartache but that’s not an issue for the band’s Emre Turkmen.
Frontman Olly Alexander, pictured, has revealed Emre has secretly tied the knot.
Asked if anyone in the band was married, Olly said: “One of them is. Yes, Emre.”
And when asked if other bandmate Mikey Goldsworthy could soon be heading up the aisle too, he added: “I think so, yeah.”
Olly also revealed they plan to release music which didn’t fit on their second album Palo Santo, which was released in July. In an exclusive chat, he explained: “We have a lot of songs, almost another album’s worth, that we finished but didn’t put on the album.
“So yeah, we are going to bring out some new music very soon.”
Olly was back in the studio last week with Nick Jonas and is now considering going solo while his bandmates settle down.
The singer added: “I need a back-up plan if it all falls through. It’s always good to think ten, 20, 30 years down the line. I’ve got to make money somehow.”
Sounds like a good plan to me.
MUSE will play a one-off show at the Royal Albert Hall on December 3 to raise funds for The Prince’s Trust charity. It will be their first UK performance since they headlined Reading and Leeds Festival during the summer.
Beeb big day invite
MONEY can’t buy love, but it could get you an invite to Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin’s second wedding.
Hailey’s actor uncle, Billy, wants to raffle the opportunity to attend for a good cause.
He said: “How much money could I raise for a kick-ass charity?” And added: “They’re madly in love.”
While Hailey and Justin tied the knot in a New York courthouse last month, it is claimed they don’t believe it is “official” until they’ve had a church wedding, which is planned for next year.
Will pop comeback
WILL Young is back, ten months after announcing he was quitting music to become a therapist.
He wrote on an Instagram snap: “View from studio album number 7! Echoes 2. Writing with my pals.”
Last December Will, pictured, said he had decided to become a “voice and sound therapist” in Cornwall.
He explained: “I’m not particularly interested in the pop career any more. I don’t like to feel tied to a job. If I want to change my job at 50, I will.”
Didn’t quite take that long.
GWYNETH Paltrow has spoken about marrying Brad Falchuk after being wary following her split from Chris Martin. She said: “I met this incredible man who made me think, ‘this person is worth making this commitment to’.”
Cara battle dress
SHE is no longer the UK’s highest paid catwalk queen, but Cara Delevingne is still commander of the fashion circuit.
The supermodel wore this army-style shirt, pictured, as she promoted her new Amazon series, Carnival Row, with co-star Orlando Bloom, pictured, in Soho, central London, on Tuesday.
Her outing came a day after it was revealed Kate Moss’s £9million earnings topped Cara’s £8million last year.
Cara and Orlando came face to face with Lily Allen, pictured, after she confessed she and Orlando almost had sex, but she was so drunk she knocked herself out.
Orlando’s girlfriend Katy Perry will ensure Lily’s glass is always full.
James beat-en up
CREDIT to James Arthur for knowing where his strengths lie.
I can reveal the former X Factor winner has scrapped his upcoming dance album to revert to the more heart-rending ballads that spearheaded his 2016 comeback. It comes after upbeat track You Deserve Better flopped, hitting only No53 in the charts in June.
James, who featured on Rudimental’s song Sun Comes Up, said at the BMI Awards in London: “I made an album full of bangers. I put out You Deserve Better, which I thought was going to sit on the radio and everyone was going to love it. It’s a great song but I got too carried away from what people really like about me. So I went back to that and kind of evolved it and made it more interesting.”
After controversies and setbacks, James’ second album, Back From The Edge, shot to No1 in October 2016, spawning the hit Say You Won’t Let Go and relaunching his career.
He said: “The last album took two years and it was an autobiographical, real self-indulgent album.”
James promises his next LP, which is expected next year, is going to be even better, adding: “It’s going really well. I think it’s going to be the best one yet.”
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
A G'day for a Bad Gal
RIHANNA looked ready for a bit of Ssss & M in skintight snakeskin yesterday after partying until 7am in Oz.
The singer matched the dress with a reptile print hat, bag, cuff and shoes as she posed for cameras in Sydney.
She had headed to the city’s D1 Karaoke bar after an eight-hour flight from Singapore.
RiRi shared footage of her and pals belting out Ciara’s track Goodies and Mary J Blige’s Family Affair.
She then shared a clip of her eating a choc in the shape of the Sydney Opera House at 4am. In true Bad Gal RiRi style, she turned up for work three hours later to promote her Fenty Beauty range.
She wrote: “When you gotta pump through the mission.” Slick operator.
HIT pop musical Six, about the wives of Henry VIII, will be heading (beheading, geddit?) back to London’s West End next year after a successful autumn run.
The show will tour the UK – taking in Salford, Glasgow, Kingston-upon-Thames and Southampton – before coming back to the Arts Theatre. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.
FRESH from the release of her fourth album, Sweetener, in August, Ariana Grande has returned to the studio to make even more tunes.
She teased on her Instagram account that she had recorded nine tracks over three days with songwriter Victoria Monet and a team of other pals.
KANYE West has revealed his dad Ray has been declared free of cancer – but they had a strange way of sharing the great news. Posting a snap of a plastic container filled with questionable grub on Instagram, Ye announced: “My dad and I are going to eat this plate of bugs to celebrate him beating cancer. No more fear.”
FESTIVAL season has only just ended but it’s time to gear up for 2019. New music extravaganza The Great Escape, which runs in Brighton from May 9 to 11 next year, has announced Kara Marni and Kawala A are among the acts for the event, who will also perform at a showcase in East London in late November.