The British Are Coming! One Direction Set To Conquer America
Groups didn't fare too well on the American version of "The X Factor" last year, but in Britain, it's been a whole other story. A girl group called Little Mix won "The X Factor U.K." last season; Season 5's JLS is huge overseas; and now One Direction, a made-for-TV boy band that came in third on "The X Factor U.K." Season 7, is set to invade America--possibly ushering in a whole new boy-band revival in the process, as their mentor Simon Cowell claimed in a recent Reality Rocks interview. "Pop music is going to make a big comeback, and you're definitely going see that starting with One Direction," Simon boldly predicted.
Many adult Americans probably only discovered One Direction this week, when the group made its live U.S. television debut on "The Today Show" and announced a much-hyped "Saturday Night Live" April 7th appearance. But judging from the absolutely crazed fan reaction at the boys' "Today Show" concert Monday morning, plenty of young American tween girls are already intimately familiar with One Direction. (Some of those girls actually camped out for three days to catch a glimpse of the group they affectionately call "1D.") The mania surrounding this merry band of Brit poppers is reminiscent of the 1990s' Spice Girls phenomenon...or, as "The Today Show" even dared to claim this week, of Beatlemania back in the day.
One Direction is already a global sensation: The quintet's debut album Up All Night, which finally comes out in America this week, was the fastest seller in Britain last year, and it's already landed on top 10 album charts in 15 different countries. The video for 1D's first single, "What Makes You Beautiful," has racked up 65 million YouTube views, and the boys have more than two million Twitter followers and four million Facebook likes. "What Makes You Beautiful" even somewhat shockingly beat out Adele's "Someone Like You" for Best Single at this year's BRIT Awards.
So, will One Direction experience similar success on this side of the pond? My guess is yes. They're cute, spunky, and their perfectly sugary pop songs have been crafted by some of the best pro hitmakers in the biz, like Carl Falk (Nicki Minaj, Backstreet Boys, Taio Cruz), Matt Squire (3OH!3, Good Charlotte, Selena Gomez), Rami Yacoub (Danity Kane, Pink, *NSYNC), RedOne (Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Akon), Steve Mac (The Wanted, Cobra Starship, Leona Lewis), and Toby Gad (Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Brandy, Natasha Bedingfield, Fergie, various Idols). They're also appearing on Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards on March 31 and touring America this spring with Nickelodeon's Big Time Rush, and their Yahoo! searches jumped 22 percent this week. So how could One Direction go in any direction but to the top of the U.S. charts?