Ask anyone who was around during the early days of the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync, and they'll probably tell you that boy bands are dead. They'd be mistaken, however, as One Direction has breathed new life into the pop sub-genre, and have taken the music world by storm.
The five-member group is comprised of Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, and has enjoyed a relatively unique path to stardom. Each of the five members applied as solo contestants on the hit UK talent show X-Factor. Though each of them were talented in their own right, judge Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls came up with the idea for the five of them to form a group, and it seems to have paid off.
After coming together, One Direction managed to tear through the competition, and eventually finished third overall. Although they did not come home with the crown, they garnered enough exposure and soon signed a record deal with stardom coming soon afterward.
The quintet released their debut studio album, Up All Night, in September 2011. It turned out to be a big hit in the United Kingdom, where it debuted at number two on the charts and went on to be the fastest-selling album of that year.
The album wasn't just popular among fans, it was somewhat successful in the critical sphere as well. In particular, album's lead single "What Makes You Beautiful," went on to take home the Best British Single crown at the 2012 Brit Awards.
While much of their success has been in the United Kingdom, they are not unheard of in the states. In fact, One Direction landed a spot on the April 7 episode of Saturday Night Live, certainly not a small feat for a band of upstart performers.
Perhaps most impressive is the relatively short time it's taken One Direction to embark on extensive tours. They launched their own headlining tour shortly after the release of Up All Night, and although it started in the UK and Ireland, the group announced North American leg for summer 2012.