One Direction started out as five young guys who auditioned as solo artists for Simon Cowell’s British television mega-hit The X-Factor. After each getting through the first audition, they all struggled at the next stage, known as “bootcamp”. They were then, unfortunately, all cut. But Cowell, seeing incredible potential in all five boys, decided to bring them back into the competition, but this time as a group. Thus, One Direction was formed. The fledgling band made it all the way to the finale (for video of all their performances on the show go here) eventually finishing third behind Rebecca Ferguson and winner Matt Cardle. Disappointed, the boys thought that was the end, but their mentor, Cowell, thought otherwise. In an unprecedented move he decided to sign the non-winners to his record label. With that, One Direction were ready for world pop domination.
The members of One Direction are…
Zayn Malik: Age – 19 ~ He is the “bad boy” of the band ~ Has a pure R&B voice ~ Can be found singing the bridge in practically every 1D song ~ He is the most quiet and mysterious of all the boys ~ Single ~ Twitter
Liam Payne: Age – 18 ~ More or less the lead singer ~ Best natural voice ~ His audition for The X-Factor went viral ~ The “smart one” ~ Has a long-term girlfriend ~ Twitter
Harry Styles: Age -18 ~ Sings lead of most of the choruses ~ His voice has a rockish tone ~ Has the most fans ~ Famous for his curly hair and dimples ~ The baby of the group ~ Quite the Casanova (used to date 32 year-old host Caroline Flack) ~ Currently single ~ Twitter
Louis Tomlinson: Age – 20 ~ The “funny one” ~ Probably has the weakest voice ~ Absolutely hilarious ~ The oldest of the five, but probably the most immature ~ Has a girlfriend ~ Twitter
Like The Wanted, these guys have an absolutely massive following on social network sites. Between Facebook and Twitter, they have more obsessed fans than any other act today with the possible exception of Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. This dedication helped their debut single “What Makes You Beautiful” the fastest selling number 1 in UK history. Their first album “Up All Night” was released in November and also experienced immense success. They have also released two other singles, “Gotta Be You” and “One Thing”. Although not quite reaching the success of WMYB, they have enjoyed good long runs in the top 10.
These guys definitely appeal to the Bieber fan set. They skew a bit younger than The Wanted, but don’t tell them that. The boys are famous for their cheekiness in interviews (especially Harry). One Direction’s music is very close to pure pop, but a bit more guitar and drum driven than say Britney or Gaga. The fivesome always sing live, as shown during their tour (which went from late last year through early 2012). Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry, and Louis have been tabloid fixations since their X-Factor days and cannot go anywhere without being mobbed by their adoring fans. Just a couple of days ago, the boys arrived in Sweden and this was the scene at the airport:
I mean, that verges on dangerous. And this is Sweden! I though Scandinavians were supposed to be laid back. Even more incredibly, this reaction is being driven solely on seeing the boys in Youtube videos and Twitter. That is unbelievable.
Usually, international music acts have one huge goal, namely, breaking America. To make it big in the US means you’ve made it for real. Last month, news broke that One Direction would be filming a guest spot on the most popular tween show out there, iCarly. Fans knew that meant the boys would be in L.A. for a couple days. We should keep in mind that the band has not released a single song in the States at that point, not one. They’ve never been on an American talk show, or had their videos featured on MTV, or had their songs played on the radio. To the general public, they are completely unknown. So imagine their surprise when they land in the City of Angels and are told they’ll have to take an alternate route out of LAX because there is a literal mob of humanity blocking all exits. This “mob” was the fans (numbers range from 600 to 1000 screaming girls waiting to catch a glimpse). That, my friends, is insane.
Later that day at the hotel the boys decided to come greet the fans who so patiently waited for them; this was the result…
Now strictly speaking, all those fans mean nothing if they don’t buy the albums or go to their shows. But just in case that wasn’t enough, check this. One Direction decided that this Valentine’s Day they would finally release their first single in the good ol’ US of A. Currently (less than 24 hours later) it sits at #11 on iTunes. Remember, these guys have not done a single days work of promotion in America. Their iCarly guest spot won’t air until April and their first show here won’t be until late February (they are the opening act for fellow boyband Big Time Rush).
I think One Direction has huge potential in the States because they really are like Justin Bieber multiplied by 5. Now I know many of their hardcore fans will resent that comparison, but they shouldn’t. Bieber has created an empire based on hair flips and boyish charm. This bodes incredibly well for the boys. More good news: One Direction actually produces quality pop music, they’re irresistibly adorable, and did I mention British? It sounds like a recipe for world domination to me. I truly believe we are entering the second golden age of boybands. I, for one, welcome it warmly 😉