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GALLERY: Crystal Palace cheerleaders hold auditions

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THE Crystal Girls have made quite an impression since they formed in 2010 and at the weekend they were recruiting for new members. Crystal Palace FC's cheerleading troupe was created to give half-time entertainment at Selhurst Park a kick up the backside. They have certainly done that, with their pom-poms and skimpy outfits bringing a touch of NFL-style glamour to the Championship. Their YouTube performances of chart hits such as Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe and Psy's Gangnam Style have garnered millions of hits and they have appeared on TV programmes including Sky's Soccer AM. Now, as Palace push for promotion to the Premier League, The Crystals are looking to expand and held open auditions on Sunday for new recruits. The trials, held at HJA Academy in Beckenham, saw 20 girls attempt to join the YouTube sensations. The Crystal Girls were on hand to put the hopefuls through their paces as they performed an intensive workout and taught them a routine. It was immediately apparent that some girls were stronger contenders than others, after a few struggled to master the dancing or even keep up with the warm-up. Bronia Gosling, Crystals squad member and head coach, explained that she was looking for much more than a good dancer. "We're a lot more than just dancers. It is really important to us for girls to be friendly and bubbly," the 28-year-old told the Advertiser. Chat "We will see how they can dance, but we also want to chat to the girls and see what they're like. The group do a lot of work in the community so they need to be able to help with that." Bronia's words ring true, as all the Crystals whom the Advertiser spoke to seemed bright, confident and helpful. They act, and are expected to act, in a manner befitting of the football club. Like players, they are seen as the club's representatives. Current owners CPFC 2010 introduced The Crystals as pre-match and half-time entertainment at Selhurst Park soon after completing their purchase of the club in 2010. They replaced an extremely successful but more traditional teenage cheerleading squad and have been subject to criticism from some sections of support. Bronia said: "What we do is not everyone's cup of tea. People have called us all sorts. We have even been called pole dancers on ice. "That doesn't matter, we are not the same as the old group. We don't do stunts and flips." That being said, the auditionees were quickly found out if they couldn't keep up with the moves taught to them. Crystal Palace's head of marketing, Sharon Lacey, encouraged the hopefuls to "Act like you're sexy! Act like you own the place!" She said they were looking for up to seven new members and that there are big plans in place for the cheerleaders. Sharon added: "Whatever people say about the girls, they are confident girls who have a positive influence. They have proved themselves as good ambassadors for the club." The lucky few that are selected over the next few weeks will now get the chance to be part of the match day experience at Selhurst. The best advert for becoming a Crystal was the glowing reference which an existing member gave. Nina McCue, 21, who works in admin in London during the week, was a founding member of the Crystal Girls and said it has completely changed her life. She said: "I have got to do so many brilliant things. We've appeared on Soccer AM and on a show with Fern Britton." "It's the best hobby I've ever had."

GALLERY: Crystal Palace cheerleaders hold auditions


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