We've reached yet another high point in the Cycle of Boy Bands, five years after the Jonas Brothers, 15 after the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, 25 after New Kids On the Block and Boyz II Men, and 35 after the Osmonds and Jackson 5. What's different about One Direction: The floppy haired British quintet has a sense of humor, sending up '50s and '60s teen-idol movies (and fondling each other) throughout this year's fizzy "Kiss You" video; its members can't really dance, Backstreet-style, but they occasionally rock, biting a Clash riff at the beginning of "Live While We're Young"; and they're self-aware, accurately calling themselves "kind of Pink in a boy-band form." Here's our guide.
LOVE INTEREST His girlfriend, Eleanor Calder, whom he calls "really down to earth," according to a British newspaper. She occasionally makes him fish-finger sandwiches.
RANDOM FACT Had his first kiss at age 11, in his backyard because he was locked out of the house.
LOVE INTEREST None at the moment. He recently split from dancer Danielle Peazer, according to reports.
RANDOM FACT Calls One
Direction's sound "a bit more guitar- driven than normal pop music."
HAIRSTYLE Dark brown and all over the place. Curly on the left, Beatle in the center, floppy on the right. Usually.
LOVE INTEREST Kimberly Stewart. ("His car was here in the morning. Let's put it that way," her father, rocker Rod Stewart, recently said on British television. "But he may just have come 'round to pick something up.")
RANDOM FACT Put on thong underwear made of candy after a fan tossed it onstage in Ohio earlier this month.
HAIRSTYLE Short on the sides, poufy on top
LOVE INTEREST Perrie Edwards of British girl band Little Mix
RANDOM FACT Growing up, he was a huge Michael Jackson fan.
LOVE INTEREST Pop singer Demi Lovato, although both insist they're merely "good friends"
RANDOM FACT Only book he ever read was "To Kill a Mockingbird," which he mistakenly called "How to Kill a Mockingbird" in a GQ.com interview. He may have been joshing.
Here's what the band played Feb. 23 at London's O2 Arena:
"Up All Night"
"More Than This"
"Love You First"
"Change My Mind"
"One Way or Another"
"Last First Kiss"
"Back for You"
"She's Not Afraid"
"Live While We're Young"
"What Makes You
What the critics are saying
"It's all fun, fun, fun -- the Monkees pushing the Beach Boys into a swimming pool -- and romantic yearning. You could spin the 1D shtick in two directions. Either it's a cultural calamity, in which yet another generation of young women is served a nutritionally poor diet of McMusic laced with lies about intergender relations. Or, alternatively, One Direction provide a welcome breathing space from the rampant pornification of everything, confirming the existence of romantic love and peddling a kind of comforting, worry-free Britishness in the face of a rapidly changing reality." -- Kitty Empire,
The Observer, London
"Unlike the boy bands of yore, the lads don't harmonize much. They eschew dance, opting instead to strut as if the show was a clothing ad. I get it; they're not supposed to be robotic. Too often, though, it felt boring." -- Kevin Joy,
The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch
"They can't sing in any meaningful sense: if all five of them have a go, they average out at somewhere in the vicinity of the note. They can't dance either, just slouch around in skinny jeans with the occasional handstand contest or outbreak of homoerotic play-fighting."
-- Simon Price,
The Independent, London
WHO One Direction
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday; Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
INFO $39.50-$89.50 (sold out, but check for last-minute availability); 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com