A Google search for "boy bands back" results in a long list of headlines.
"Boy bands are back, wholesome or sexy" reads one posted at the New York Times site.
At the Los Angeles Times: "A new crush of boy bands." The Seattle Post Intelligencer: "The boys are back, and so are their bands."
Talk of a boy band revival starts with the British quintet One Direction, which emerged in 2010 from the British version of "The X Factor," a talent search that, unlike "American Idol," allows vocal groups to compete. The 18- to 20-year-olds placed third on the show, but the group was subsequently signed to a recording deal by Simon Cowell, the show's creator and a judge. He has since launched an American version of "The X Factor."
In November 2011, One Direction released "Up All Night," its debut album. On the strength of its single "What Makes You Beautiful," the album became the first by a British group to debut atop the Billboard 200 chart, a feat that eluded even the Beatles. The album has since gone gold, according to Billboard magazine.
The band recently announced its 2012-13 world tour. It stops July 19, 2013, at the Sprint Center. About a year away, and the show is almost sold out.
The other boy band making big waves is the quartet Big Time Rush, a live act spun off the Nickelodeon television network's show of the same name. The four portray hockey players from Minnesota who live in Hollywood, trying to start a life in the music industry as, naturally, a boy band.
The group has released two albums since 2010, one of which has gone gold. Big Time Rush headlines a show at the Sprint Center on Friday. Tickets are still available.
Other big players include the Wanted, another British ensemble making waves on U.S. charts, and Mindless Behavior, a four-piece R&B/hip-hop vocal group from Los Angeles.
Observers say those acts are just part of a larger class of boy bands, the popularity of which has risen over the past year or two with dramatic speed.
"The fans' passion is there much earlier than it used to be," Ernest Martinez, an on-air personality (Ernie D) and creative director at Radio Disney, told The Star. "Fans have way more access to bands and music than they used to."
Bill Rusch, who has been an independent record promoter, said, "I've been doing this for 35 years, and I've never seen what's going on right now. The One Direction tour is selling out arenas a year in advance. It's unheard of. And it's not just them."
And this club is not for boys only. Rusch is working with the Korean group Wonder Girls, a group introduced to America in 2009, when it opened for that year's reigning boy band, the Jonas Brothers. Wonder Girls also opened for Justin Bieber, the reigning teen sensation. The Girls are about to jump full steam into a multimedia campaign.
"There is going to be a Wonder Girls movie out in October," Rusch said, "and Nickelodeon is shooting 20 episodes of a 30-minute Wonder Girls sitcom."
What's behind the explosion? Rusch said it's obvious: a demand for the music and social media.
"It's so much easier for kids to share music and to get momentum going," he said. "Acts can blow up so much faster now."
Add in a television connection, whether a talent show like "X Factor" or
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