One Direction: After Ignoring so Many Brit Boy Bands, Why Does America Like These Twerps?

Categories: The Horror
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If you're a regular viewer of Saturday Night Live, chances are high that you found yourself confused and aghast last weekend, when the show's musical guest turned out to be British boy-band sensation One Direction. The band members grinned their way through two songs -- one of which, incidentally, directly stole the melody from an old Backstreet Boys' hit and cunningly changed the words from "I want it that way" to "I need that one thing." Subtle, fellas. Real subtle.

Then, this week, no doubt encouraged by the fact that its first album debuted at No. 1 one on the Billboard 200 (they're the first UK group in history to go straight in at No. 1 with their first album, depressingly), the band announced a giant North American arena tour -- for summer 2013, because it's just too busy to do it before that. One Direction is here, ladies and gents, and, tragically, it has zero intention of going anywhere.

The United Kingdom has a long history with boy bands -- it's an artform that never fell out of favor over there -- but not since the Spice Girls has a British pop band exploded in America to such a sudden and startling degree. The boy bands that have filled stadiums and set pulses racing in the U.K. for the last two decades haven't even made the slightest dent over here.

Do you know who Take That is? Or Boyzone? Or J.L.S.? No? Well, they're boy bands and they're all bastard huge in Britain. Take That are so big over in the U.K. that there was mass mourning when they broke up in 1996, and it made national news headlines when they reformed in 2005. Their comeback album went straight to No. 1 and they sold out a ton of huge stadiums. And truthfully, for a boy band, they're actually not that bad. See?



Still, America wanted nothing to do with Take That (except for a brief flirtation with Robbie Williams, after he had left the group, and that didn't last long at all). Yes, America has a history of ignoring British boy bands, alright. All of 'em since Wham!, pretty much. No matter how pretty they are, no matter how many records they sell in other countries. So why the hell is One Direction doing so well right now? Maybe Justin Bieber cutting off his swoopy hair and slowly turning into a lesbian has made tween-age girls just ravenous for the first pile of ridiculously over-coiffed haircuts to come along.

More likely, though, is that Simon Cowell is pulling a lot of strings behind the scenes. One Direction was formed in 2010, after all its members tried out for the seventh season of the U.K.'s X Factor and failed to get through in the male category. Pussycat Dolls' Nicole Scherzinger -- a judge on the show -- suggested sticking all the boys together so they could go through as a group, and the band was born. (We sincerely hope she's been compensated in some way for her bright idea, since she just got unceremoniously fired from the U.S. version of X Factor.)

One Direction came in third that season, signed to Simon Cowell's record label, then got picked up by Columbia over here. The band isn't doing anything particularly new or different, the five boys are typical boys-next-door by British standards (teenage boys in the U.K. have a tendency to look more polished and metrosexual than American ones... it has a lot to do with Top Shop), and, sure, they're nice kids. But so were all the other Brit boy bands before them who couldn't get one foot through America's door.



The only U.K. X Factor winner to really "conquer" America before this was Leona Lewis. But, even after her win, Cowell spent an entire year keeping her out of the public eye, grooming her image, and finding just the right songs to launch her to a U.S. audience. It worked, of course, but her R&B stylings are far better suited to the music market in this country than the straight-up pop of One Direction is.

So maybe the members of One Direction sold their souls to the devil. Maybe everyone owes Simon Cowell a whole bunch of favors. Maybe America just needs a distraction from the fact that Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block are currently parading themselves around as some sort of heinous, Frankenstein-like supergroup. Whatever the reason, One Direction are very lucky young men indeed. It's been 10 years since N*Sync broke up -- maybe the country was just ready to scream at something pretty and puerile again.  

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24 comments
YoungThatter
YoungThatter

Hey! don't you understand? 1D is just TT and Boyzone WANNABE!! they act like they're TT, their pose in their Photos are like TT, and even they stole Boyzone's melody! their popular songs aren't made by them, they just buy, and sing. many teenagers love them by their looks, i'm a teenager, but i know which band is FANTASTIC and which band is FANTASTIC WANNABE 

myopinion
myopinion

No offense to any directioner or anyone who likes them but they're just like the jonas brothers, the media will label them as "the next beatles" and then they will have their 2-3 years of fame, then fans will get tired of them or another boy band comes along and everyone will start liking them then one direction fades away. Im not saying they aren't talented because they are, but i just have a feeling that may happen to them, unfortunatly.

 

And i hate when people just like them for their looks, its really shallow in my opinion. I feel like there is no need for people to say "THEY ARE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOT! BEST BOY BAND EVER"

You cant judge everything on looks..

 

Kennzie
Kennzie

Whats wrong with you people? One Direction have millions of fans, all ages screaming " We Want One Direction" They seem to be WANTED ! They have amazing voices, amazing talent and maybe you don't like it! Just keep it to yourself! Millions of people want them at there hometown! I know I do! They aren't "Twerps" Their normal people living lives that they want and singing is there choice. 

tickets
tickets

well i must say this that these boys are so amzing and talented so that no body denies their fame and popularity thats the reason.....

Jaxey Alice
Jaxey Alice

It just seems so weird that they get all the attention now more then any other artist out there. I am from Australia and every time they came to each city here this year to do there promotion tour they were on the news. Hardly any celebs are on our news. I bet something weird is going on like someone got paid. OMG Paris Hilton even never got this much attention here. 

Ghhjj
Ghhjj

I can't believe I just spent my time reading this, this article was terrible. One Direction is the BEST band, not just because their cute but because their down to earth, funny, sweet, they actually CARE about their fans, and SOOOOO much more. You obviously are jealous of the attention their getting and need to grow up and get over it, seriously. Your VERY wrong about them and need to stop talking, pronto :). P.S. It's ZAYN, get it right

Mikaela
Mikaela

I love One Direction! Most every girl I know does... we all are allowed to have our own oppinions ... just saying...

TruthTeller
TruthTeller

Really, you people have nothing else better to do than critisize people? I mean, come one, give them a break, how would you like it if someone went around calling you "twerps" and such. Get a life, and  worry about yourselves. It's just sick and stupid to talk badly anout people you don't know.

Amber 1991
Amber 1991

"I want it that way" to "I need that one thing."?...Really? That's the best thing you came up with in terms of them "stealing" melodies and words? How about "What Makes You Beautiful" by the Backstreet Boys and then...oh hey, I direct song title "What Makes You Beautiful. While I know song titles aren't exclusive and can't be "stolen", it's just a coincidence, and I'll stick to the former.

Anyway, I'm a bit disappointed in Simon Cowell's label, I expected better.

Rae Alexandra
Rae Alexandra

Wasn't that Backstreet Boys song called "What Makes You Different"?... 

alomecyde2
alomecyde2

I love this Band .. Whenever I heard their song It's drive me crazy. Ops !!!... But i can't believe that i also have the chance to listen to their music... for the first time in my life i kind like this group.. Formed by five handsome cutties boys that i ever seen in my life.. You are totally rock..:P

Steph
Steph

You're a stupid bitch go play "I Want It That Way" and "I Need That One Thing" at the same time and then tell me about the similiarities. You're writing for a website that still uses Digg, that's sad.

Emmmy
Emmmy

Helen ... Oh come on...musically talented lads ?????You surely can't be serious.  They are a manufactured group of guys who came along as individual singers; didn't make it and then were tried as a group. Zane 18, was going out with another X factor singer, Rebecca Ferguson, mother of 2 children. They were so in love ( their words not mine ). Then Simon Cowell stepped in and put an end to it.Harry Styles, 17,  was going out with a woman 12 years older than him. Cowell stepped in again and that was the end of her. This is no boy band that's  served their time. They are a totally manufactured and managed boy band set up to make as much money as possible for Cowell...yet again!

Mariannecacacho
Mariannecacacho

Um... It's Zayn or Zain and Harry dated someone 15 years older not 12. Before you comment look at your facts

Boxercrazy17
Boxercrazy17

Remember 5?? Weren't they British.lol guess that was the point ?

Helen
Helen

I wouldn't call them "twerps". They are a band of five musically talented lads. You are also suggesting that "The band isn't doing anything particularly new or different". I suggest you do some research before writing an article like this. And by research I mean more than watching one of their music videos and SNL. Perhaps if you watched their video diaries from the X-factor you would understand what teenage girls see in these five young lads.

aisah
aisah

Hold on now, how was 5ive not included on this list? With a lead singer named Abs, how could anyone forget: http://t.co/UztJqUY3

Ben Walsh
Ben Walsh

Boyzone was (is?) Irish, for what that's worth.

Rae Alexandra
Rae Alexandra

I am aware. They're still huge in Britain though...

Kathryn
Kathryn

If I have to listen to pop, I'll keep mine Backstreet/New Kids thank you very much. Their concert was epic as boybands go.

Drillbit
Drillbit

 We are a country of twerps and teenyboppers. im not but the rest of you out there are. im an old  1960s Deadhead.

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