Six Things To Know About One Direction, The Quintet Taking Over The Metropolitan Area For The Next Few Days

Beginning tonight and spooling out over the weekend, a pack of five British youths will blitz the tri-state area with performances and signings and, eventually, a Rockefeller Center-stuffing appearance on NBC's Today. The five young men make up the vocal group One Direction—a five-member boyband of floppy-haired dudes from the UK and Ireland, hatched in part by the ever-smirking real talker Simon Cowell—and they've so far had quite a bit of success on the other side of the Atlantic. If this whole thing works out and even more foreigners usurp this country's teen-idol gigs, you'll probably be seeing a lot more of them. (Even in those corners of the Internet that claim to dislike them, because what would those outlets be without talismans of Bad Music to rail against? Right.) In advance of their debut appearance in New York, which happens tonight at Radio City, here are six things to know about the group.

1. They're a product of reality TV.
In 2010 Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson individually auditioned for season 7 of Simon Cowell's UK Idol clone The X Factor, and they didn't individually make the cut, but Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger (a guest judge that season) had the idea to glom them all together into a single unit. They eventually finished third.

2. The Ireland-born Horan is the "cute one," but Styles is the one with the tabloid-ready story.
The yongest member of the band, the floppy-haired Styles was romantically attached to British TV presenter Caroline Flack at the end of 2011. They'd broken up by the end of January, although in Styles's defense three months is a much longer time in the mind of a 17-year-old.

3. Kelly Clarkson co-wrote one of the songs on their debut, Up All Night, which comes out here next week.
Like many of the albums released by Cowell's progeny, Up is full of material from people who have contributed to recent pop successes—RedOne, Toby Gad, etc. (The lead single, the peppy cheer-up-you're-great nugget "What Makes You Beautiful," debuted on the Hot 100 at No. 28 a few weeks back; it also, thanks to online voting, won the British Single of the Year award at the BRIT Awards.) A demo for the uptempo "Tell Me A Lie" with the inaugural American Idol winner on vocal duties leaked online last year, and it—like much of the material on Clarkson's new album Stronger—puts the singer in the role of the aggreived party, dealing with a lover who wants to be with someone else. Here's the version that's on One Direction album:

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