Girls Aloud

We knew it was coming, but it doesn’t hurt any less.

Following their final performance on the Ten Tour tonight in Liverpool, Girls Aloud called the shots with a short, to-the-point message left on their official Twitter account late this evening.

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And just like that–after 11 years and a whole lotta history–the Aloud are officially over.

We did see the day coming: The 2012 greatest hits collection, Ten (along with yet another on the way) sealed their record contract obligations. The rumors of additional singles from the album died quickly after “Beautiful ‘Cause You Love Me” bowed out at a horrifying #97. And the Ten Tour felt like a final lap in every way—why else would they be huddled together and weeping at the end of each show? It’s why I booked a ticket to England for the first time just to see them in the first place. Deep down, it always felt like this was the last hurrah.

I’m not worried for the girls, though. Ever since their initial hiatus in 2009, each one has each gone on to flourish in their own right as a legend: Queen Nuhdeen with her Insatiable debut, as well as her US takeover (including Nadine’s Irish Mist—I’ll be making that pilgrimage shortly), Cheryl‘s explosion into national superstardom—from X Factor UK to a 3 album solo career (and counting), Kimberley‘s turn on the West End in Shrek, Strictly Come Dancing and an album’s worth of musical covers on Centre Stage, Nicola with her critically acclaimed debut Cinderella’s Eyes, as well as a burgeoning career as a fashion “it” girl, and Sarah who, well…has been riding wild horses.

We’ll always have their very first auditions. We’ll always have the ghost hunting. We’ll always have The Party. We will always have our ahyrlayuhust chrayhsmus maymuhrays.

And we’ll always have the GIFs, the videos, the concerts, the Singles Collection box set and, of course, we’ll always have the music.

This isn’t really the end. Or, well, it actually is. (Ow. Ow. Ow.)

This is all really hard to type. Girls Aloud is my favorite girl group, ever. I’m absolutely gutted. But it’s worse to want to watch them live past the point of no return and grow stale—or even worse, become a flop act. It’s better to leave on a high note like “Something New” than to see them be anything less than flawless queens.

Let us all make a promise to come together for a fan meet-up someday—maybe in Singapore or Swinging London Town—hold hands, sing aloud, tie ourselves to the bed dressed in red and dream of dreams that glitter in remembrance of all things Aloud. (Don’t worry, there’s no need to count those dirty sheep…though I still wonder if they count us when they can’t sleep at night.)

In times of distress, I’ve always said that there’s one video that could always—if only briefly—lift my spirits. So, let’s give it a go. Take it away, Sarah…

They fade like starlight to a glimmer…

ALOUD FOREVER.