As another series of the X Factor draws to a close, one thing is certain, whatever the outcome, we can expect to see plenty of JJ, Jaymi, George and Josh, better known as Union J, over the next 12 months. Whether in the charts or not it’s guaranteed that they will be the next year’s tabloid fodder, proving once more that style over substance is what lines Simon Cowell’s ever deepening pocket.
The group of pretty boys had already managed to surpass the arguably more talented District 3 in the competition by dressing each week in a carefully selected matching range of high street fashion: the expected overly skinny jeans, button down shirt and clashing boots, and ensuring to constantly smile down the camera, something already perfected by The Osmonds back in the 70s. Last week we were supposed to be surprised to discover one has come out as gay. While there’s been a history of boyband members befriending ‘Dorothy’ later on in their careers, this could be seen as a move to try and widen the appeal of Union J and pulling in that pink pound… Equality right?
But are we really ready for another boyband while One Direction are still fresh out the Syco womb?
In the fickle world of boybands, the truth is that there really has only been room for a couple of them at any given time, while One Direction have been constantly in the public eye over the last year, thanks to their cute faces and Harry Styles’ newly sparked ‘interest’ in cougars and god-awful tattoos, there has to come a time when their millions of adoring young fans will be ready to move on. That is, once even the most hardcore ‘Directioners’ are sick of hearing that one big hit they’ve been riding on for 12 months ‘What Makes You Beautiful’. Maybe we’ll find a boyband where the lyrics consist of more than three parallel verses about love and the wonders of breaking up, though I don’t expect this to be any time soon. I mean what more to life is there than teen romance, the heart-breaking end of relationships, god-awful tattoos and the ultimate desire to sing to the world and share their suffering?
JLS and The Wanted are already on a sliding slope as their latest singles have both crashed out of the top 10 after just a week. No surprise really. My personal favourites McFly seem to be pulling in just a bunch of hardcore fans, whilst the latest incarnation of teenage girls are more likely to want the latest boyband from their own era. Something fresh, doll-faced and maybe a cow-licked fringe?
There is however, still plenty of room to sell records once you’ve been away for a decade and returned as a suit-clad ‘Manband’ – Take That proved this when they returned in 2006 and added another 10 million UK Record sales to their back catalogue, but while they’re on hiatus and Westlife have finally called it a day this year (who knew they were still going?), where does that leave us for the future of the boyband? Declining sales for One Direction, a good year for Union J, and by Summer prepare to watch Simon Cowell pull together a group of pretty boys, throw in a baby-faced wavy haired twink, dress one in burgundy skinnies, another in the same coloured t-shirt, one with the scarf and one with the jacket and voila, we’ll have our next ready to go boyband, processed straight out of the Cowell-factory and packaged with a number one single for Christmas. I hope JLS have a back up plan… Accountancy?