You can’t close your eyes for even a minute these days without a new pop sensation exploding onto the scene. And with the massive exposure achieved by the numerous singing competition shows on television, the explosions seem to be bigger and more frequent. Some of the acts have staying power; some don’t.
In the latest wave, it’s One Direction who managed only a third place finish on the UK edition of The X Factor in 2010. Still, Simon Cowell stuck by them, signed them to his own label, and plotted their future. Fortunately for all involved, the master plan has worked – One Direction’s Up All Night made them the first-ever UK band to enter the charts at number one with a debut album.
Not The Beatles, not the Rolling Stones, not Radiohead, not Coldplay… One Direction, a gaggle of British-Irish bubble gum pop singers who were thrown together for marketing purposes by Cowell and various other powers that be. They don’t even play any instruments. (They are, however, credited as co-writers on three of the album’s tracks, for whatever that’s worth.)
Like the Spice Girls before them, the members of One Direction each has a unique attribute that is being attached to them. Niall Horan (18) is the “cute little Irish one”; Liam Payne (18) is “the sensible one”; Zayn Malik (19) is the “quiet and mysterious one”; Harry Styles (18) is “the charming one”; and Louis Tomlinson (20) is “the funny one.” They had each auditioned for The X Factor as solo artists, but got clumped together on the basis that the whole would be greater than the sum of its parts.
Apparently, the formula worked. Not only did Up All Night hit number one in the U.S., but also in Italy, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Sweden. It only made it to number two in the UK. Since then, One Direction has performed on Saturday Night Live and at the Kids’ Choice Awards.
As the group began to embark on a slew of tour dates in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and North America, tickets sold like wildfire. Fans gathered to greet the band at the Sydney airport, only to be disappointed to tears when the boys left through a loading dock exit in an effort to avoid any Justin Bieber-esque stampedes.
Free of the screaming hordes of young girls, the hearthrobs chartered a yacht, cruised the Harbour, drank beer, and took a swim at Chinaman’s Beach. Of course, the throngs followed them and waited outside their hotel, as well.
Next month, the One Direction mania comes to American shores with a tour kickoff in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 24. They’ve been here before, as the opening act on a Big Time Rush tour. This time, they are the headliners and a Nickelodeon show of their own is in the works.
Among the 21 announced stops on the tour are Toronto, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, Tampa, Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and more.