Late last year the boys quickly amassed more than $100,000 in merchandise sales on Interscope's online store and were second behind Gaga in terms of sales. "We took our time thinking about the marketing," said Herbert. "I don't believe in losing. You look at their album and every song is about girls. Girls at 14 and 15 years old are excited about boys."
Not everyone is buying in. Carson Daly, who was host of MTV's "Total Request Live" during the boom of boy bands in the late 1990s, is skeptical that this new wave of cute groups will rise to the heights of their predecessors. "We moved further away from the produced pop bands. The Spice Girls, 'NSyncs and Backstreet Boys -- that was an era that I think is over."
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday, March 30, 2012 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 80 words Type of Material: Correction
Boy bands: An article in the March 25 Arts & Books section about a new spate of boy bands on the pop music scene said that the recent appearance of One Direction's "Up All Night" at the top of the U.S. pop charts marked the first time a British group had debuted at No. 1 in the United States. It was the first time that a British group had enterted the U.S. charts at No. 1 with its debut album.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, April 01, 2012 Home Edition Sunday Calendar Part D Page 2 Calendar Desk 1 inches; 74 words Type of Material: Correction
Boy bands: A March 25 article about a new spate of boy bands on the pop music scene said that the recent appearance of One Direction's "Up All Night" at the top of the U.S. pop charts marked the first time a British group had debuted at No. 1 in the United States. It was the first time that a British group had enterted the U.S. charts at No. 1 with its debut album.
"How many pop groups are you hearing on the radio?" asked Daly, who hosts "The Voice" and co-anchors a morning show on KAMP-FM (97.1). "I play Top 40 every day. You just don't see these young boy bands or girl groups. It's not the thing that's working right now."
Unless, of course, you're a fan who posts about these band members' every move on blogs like Oh No They Didn't, where a blogger recently referred to One Direction as "flawfree angels." The group, like the Wanted and Mindless Behavior, include all the requisite boy band archetypes needed to attract starry-eyed fans (i.e. the rebellious one, the sensitive one, the shy one, and so on.)
As a result, the Wanted was forced to make an 11th-hour venue swap from the Roxy to El Rey to accommodate the demand for tickets, and this is before its stateside album release date of April 24.
"We got put in a house together to write music and see if we could form as a band. In a way, we didn't really know what we were jumping into," the Wanted's Max George recalls. "We could all play instruments and we got to write our own music, which a lot [of boy bands] don't normally do."
The quintet One Direction (ages 18 to 20) was pieced together by Cowell and former Pussycat Dolls frontwoman Nicole Scherzinger after its members auditioned as solo singers on the U.K. edition of "X Factor" in 2010 and then collectively placed third.
The group recently wrapped an opening slot for Big Time Rush -- often receiving better reviews than the headliner. It is set to perform at the upcoming Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards and "Saturday Night Live."
To add to the hype, it just announced its first U.S. headlining tour, and there is buzz that Nickelodeon is in talks to have the group anchor a show similar to Big Time Rush's.
"We all know how hard it is to crack America," member Liam Payne, 18, said before its U.S. debut "Up All Night" interrupted Adele's chart-topping run by knocking her out of the No. 1 spot (it is only the second disc of 2012 to do so and the first time a British group has debuted at No. 1 in the U.S.). "When you come over here, you're one of four or five New Kids on the Block out there."
George is certain his band will ultimately come out on top. "I see [One Direction] as more a Jonas Brothers, they are very young, very TV-based sort of thing. With us people are buying into our music, more than they buy into us," he said. "People just like our music, which is what we want. We're much more into selling our music than we are posters."
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)
Who's the fairest of them all?
There's a new wave of boy bands vying for chart dominance and the hearts
of teenage girls. Here's a handy guide to the top four ensembles.
These British heartthrobs have chiseled good looks, a bad-boy edge and multicultural appeal. They are aiming for the same type of chart and pop culture domination as labelmate Justin Bieber. No surprise, considering they share a manager.
Fun fact: Member Max George was previously a member of Avenue, which was disqualified from U.K.'s "The X Factor" after it was revealed the boy band was engineered for the show.
Big Time Rush
Created to anchor a Nickelodeon series, Big Time Rush has won over dedicated "Rushers" with two hit albums, blockbuster tours and made-for-TV films, including the Beatles-themed "Big Time Movie," which attracted 13 million total viewers when it aired this month.
Fun fact: Before their self-titled show, members of the quartet had acting credits on series such as "iCarly," "Friday Night Lights," "ER" and "Gilmore Girls."
A void in the R&B boy band market led to the creation of teen act Mindless Behavior. The 15-year-olds went through a rigorous two-year training period before it released its debut record, "#1 Girl," which bowed at No. 2 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop album chart.
Fun fact: It was handpicked by Janet Jackson to be the sole opener for dates on the North American leg of her "Number Ones: Up Close and Personal" tour.
Pieced together by reality show magnate Simon Cowell and Nicole Scherzinger after auditioning as solo acts on the U.K. edition of "The X Factor" in 2010, One Direction are wooing girls with their British charm, poster boy faces and syrupy sweet pop lyrics about teenage love.
Fun fact: Kelly Clarkson helped pen the track "Tell Me a Lie" off of its debut, "Up All Night."
Gerrick D. Kennedy