Two years ago, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson auditioned for the British television music competition The X Factor. Each singer performed individually, never having met one another. The judges thought the boys were talented but lacking experience. A guest judge suggested putting them together as a five-member band to audition for the “groups” section of the TV competition. Over the course of two weeks, the group got to know each other while practicing. Harry named the band One Direction because all five boys have wanted the same thing from the start.
One Direction first became famous in Britain, but soon took America by storm. In February 2012, their debut single—“What Makes You Beautiful,” from their album Up All Night—reached the top of the U.S. charts. A month later, the group’s first television appearance was taped for NBC’s Today Show, with an audience of 15,000 screaming fans outside. Their second album, Take Me Home, was released in November of 2012.
Despite their stardom and growing fan base, One Direction doesn’t forget to give back. The boys are involved with various charities, most recently with Rays of Sunshine, a British organization that helps children who require intensive care for serious illnesses.
For their interesting start and smashing success, the performers who make up One Direction are nominees for TFK’s 2012 People of the Year.