Now that both have a solid foothold in the United States, it’s interesting to see the different paths The Wanted and One Direction seem to be taking. Even though the bands are close in age, their management teams have decided to go in almost opposite directions (no pun intended) with their promotion.
I have already told you that One Direction will be appearing in an upcoming episode of iCarly, but it seems like the boys’ relationship with Nickelodeon is just beginning. News broke last week that One Direction has been tipped to perform at the Kids Choice Awards (hosted by Will Smith). Also, every Saturday night in March, they will take over the Nickelodeon commercial breaks to give us sneak peeks at their tour and their newfound life as part of a mega-famous boyband. Even though the boys in One Direction (Zayn, Harry, Liam, Louis, and Niall) don’t exactly act as squeaky clean as the average Nick star (proof here, here, and here) it’s quite obvious their management is pushing them into the tween demographic, and pushing hard. Currently, One Direction is on tour with a band that also got their start on the kids channel, Big Time Rush.
Having spent a bit of time trolling fan sites, tumblr blogs, and twitter, I know that the majority of the fanbase is not thrilled with this partnership. They want the boys to act their age and not be tamed for more sensitive American audiences (ex: The Jonas Brothers and their “purity rings”). But overall, I think everyone is just happy to see One Direction being featured at all in the States. I’m sure when they see the fivesome performing on their television’s, most fans won’t care what channel they’re on.
The Wanted, on the other hand, are being just as brash and shameless as ever. On their initial publicity tour of America back in January/February, the boys (Nathan, Jay, Max, Tom, and Siva) did not hold back. They were never afraid to push the boundaries, especially with regard to their hit single “Glad You Came” (I mean the jokes practically write themselves). It seems, however, that their management over here, which includes mega manager Scooter Braun (a.k.a the man behind Justin Bieber), is encouraging this behavior and trying to paint the band as sort of the “bad boys” of pop.
In the upcoming weeks, the band will take part in MTV’s famous Spring Break concert series. This year, MTV chose Las Vegas (not exactly kid friendly).
The Wanted will appear in another MTV project. It was revealed yesterday that while in L.A. earlier this year, the boys got Punk’d This is part of the new and improved series that MTV is launching later this month. The other celebrities being pranked? Oh you know, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, and Miley Cyrus to name a few.
Additionally, the boys have recently appeared on Chelsea Lately, a show known for its hilariously inappropriate host Chelsea Handler and her cringe-inducing humor. Also on the docket for the British/Irish imports is a performance on The Jay Leno Show. I know its not exactly “mature”, but the show does air after many tweens are safely asleep. To me, its obvious The Wanted are pursuing an older fan demographic. When they were in America last, they even took the stage at a few gay nightclubs (something I bet my life One Direction would never be caught doing). The Wanted recognize that their music skews older and have taken the risk of leaving the extremely lucrative world of tween heartthrobs behind.
So far, both bands are experiencing monumental success. The aforementioned single from The Wanted has now reached #4 on the Billboard charts and is holding steady at #2 on iTunes. They have another round of publicity in the States coming up and hopefully (*fingers crossed*) another tour One Direction are currently touring America as the opening act for band Big Time Rush. However, it is becoming more and more obvious that girls are coming to the shows not for the headliners but for the five Brits. There is ample video evidence and personal testimonials of somewhere between 50%-70% of the audience leaving the venue after One Direction finish their set. This bodes well for those who hope that 1D’s management will organize a tour in America for the boys sometime later this year. Their single, “What Makes You Beautiful”, is doing well on American charts (peaked at #10 on iTunes), but expect to see immense growth after the band performs on The Today Show on March 12th and after their album “Up All Night” is finally released stateside March 13th.
All in all, I think we can safely say that the Return of the Boybands has started. There truly is something here for everyone. My younger sister has quickly become obsessed with One Direction while my older sister and her friends love listening to The Wanted’s party music. I also think the friendly rivalry between the bands will only contribute to their success (hey, it worked for The Backstreet Boys and ‘Nsync). I can’t wait for the day when Rolling Stone issues a story about the re-emergence of this forgotten genre starring both bands on the cover. It’ll be the best “I told you so” ever!