German pop quintet No Angels were one of the myriad acts launched to fame via the television amateur showcase Popstars, ultimately becoming the best-selling girl group in national chart history. The group's origins lie in a Popstars casting call announced by German television network RTL 2 in the fall of 2000. More than 4,500 young women auditioned for the upcoming season of the series, 200 of whom were selected to advance to the next round. From there, the judges -- Dutch entertainer Simone Angel, talent booker Mario M. Mendryzcki, and A&R director Rainer Moslener -- whittled the semifinalists to 32 before whisking them away to Majorca, Spain, for a grueling regimen of singing, dancing, and fitness. The judges continued eliminating two or three additional contestants each day until 11 finalists remained; after weeks of additional training, five winners were selected -- Nadja Benaissa, Lucy Diakovska, Sandy Mölling, Vanessa Petruo, and Jessica Wahls -- to comprise No Angels. In episodes to follow, Popstars focused on the fledgling group's evolution, documenting sessions for their 2001 debut single, "Daylight in Your Eyes." The record entered the German pop charts at number one and later topped the charts in Austria, Switzerland, Brazil, Estonia, and Luxembourg as well, vaulting No Angels to global fame. Their debut LP, Elle'ments, followed in March 2001, selling in excess of two million copies worldwide and emerging as the year's best-selling German release on the strength of follow-up singles including "Rivers of Joy" and Eurythmics' "There Must Be an Angel."
No Angels' third number one single, "Something About Us," anticipated the June 2002 release of their sophomore effort Now...Us!, which sold more than a million records but failed to match the overwhelming success of its predecessor. An appearance that fall at the Berlin Tränenpalast yielded the live CD/DVD When the Angels Swing, but also proved Wahls' swan song -- upon announcing a hiatus from No Angels to give birth to her first child in March 2003, she later opted against returning, deciding instead to mount a solo career. The remaining foursome returned in August with Pure, a more mature effort led by the chart-topping "No Angel (It's All in Your Mind)." However, on September 5, 2003, No Angels announced their intentions to split -- Wahls rejoined the group to record a farewell single, "Reason," and on December 12 they played a final live date in Düsseldorf. While all five turned to solo careers in music, theater, and television, their individual efforts faltered and in mid-2006 Diakovska approached her former colleagues with reunion offers. Only Petruo declined, and the remaining members of No Angels began rehearsing and recording in secrecy, waiting until a news conference in January 2007 to make official the rumors of their return. A comeback single, "Goodbye to Yesterday," hit retail two months later. The group also represented Germany at Eurovision, and released Welcome to the Dance in 2009. Benaissa was in the news during 2010 after she was convicted for failing to tell sexual partners that she was HIV positive. ~ Jason Ankeny