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It’s safe to say that if you haven’t heard of One Direction, you’re probably living under a rock. But the question is: what is this craze all about?
One Direction (1D) is one of the biggest bands in the world. It is a group of five young men who, before coming together, each happened to separately audition for the British “X Factor” in 2010. Although they didn’t make it far as individuals, they were put into a group by judge Simon Cowell, and well, the rest is history.
One Direction members Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik have spent the past several months on their “Where We Are” tour, selling out stadium after stadium and arena after arena. The group – whose three albums have all reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and have all been certified RIAA platinum – made its way to St. Louis at the end of August to perform in the Edwards Jones Dome.
Principia students were asked “on a scale of one to 10, how much do you like One Direction?” Senior Molly Glascock, a longtime fan, rated them a 15, while junior Ben Stolfa rated them a two. They did have one thing in common, though; they both attended the concert in St. Louis and had a great time.
When Stolfa was asked why he went to the concert, he said his tickets were $8. He wasn’t about to pass up a chance to see the most popular band in the world for only eight bucks. Stolfa was surprised to admit, “The concert was good. They engaged the fans well and didn’t focus on only one section of the crowd. They are good entertainers.”
While Stolfa bought his ticket the day of the show for $8, Glascock pre-ordered her tickets in December 2013. “I’ve been wanting to go to one of their concerts since the first time they came to the U.S. years ago,” she said. “I like their music, and I like that even though they are a boy band, they still stay true to their personalities.”
Senior Katy McAloney also attended the concert and had a similar reaction. “They’re goofballs,” she said. “I’m not obsessed and in love with them, but I want to be their best friend just because they always seem like they are having fun and they remind me of my friends.”
Attending the concert made Glascock and McAloney like 1D even more, but the concert turned sophomore Nathalie DeLoach’s world upside down. Deloach was a moderate fan before, but after she went to the concert, she described herself as having “One Direction infection.”
“When I actually saw them perform I was like, ‘Wow!’ I think it took me seeing them live to make it feel real,” she said.
One Direction’s fanbase is typically categorized as young teenage girls screaming at the top of their lungs. But the truth is, 1D’s audience spans all ages. For instance, there have been a number of articles online recently about “sad dads” at their concerts, depicting glum-looking middle-aged men chaperoning their children to concerts – or attending it by themselves. Either way, One Direction draws sellout crowds.
Stolfa’s reason for why 1D has such a large fan base was plain and simple: “Boys. Girls like boys.”
While this may be true, Glascock thinks it’s deeper than that. “I think their music is just very applicable to everyone. Little girls like them because they’re a cute boy band. For people my age, it’s like, ‘Oh, wow! These guys are our peers. I can relate to them,’” she said. “Even parents think the music is catchy and can enjoy the band because they are good at not being overly pure and fake, but they also aren’t a raunchy band where you can’t really apply to older or younger audiences.”
When senior Matt Jones was asked what he thought about One Direction, he said, “I don’t really know a lot about them. But of the things I do know, it seems to be another boy band that’s all for show. They don’t exactly appeal to guys.” Jones said he can respect that they are a talented group of artists, but he just simply isn’t into their music and all the hype.
On the other hand, sophomore Olivia Pierce-Bluhm specifically attended the concert so she could experience what the hype was all about. “Other people are so excited about One Direction and it’s a big deal right now in pop culture, and I just wanted to be a part of it!”