|British boy band One Direction poses for a photo in downtown Toronto on Monday March 26, 2012. From left - Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik and Niall Horan. (Ernest Doroszuk /QMI AGENCY)
So are British boy band One Direction the new Beatles?
Certainly, the fresh-faced, cute quintet - comprised of lone Irishman Niall Horan (single) and his English bandmates Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne (both in relationships), Zayn Malik and Harry Styles (both single) - are inspiring Beatlemania-like crowds of screaming female fans.
"People make that comparison but it just kind of goes over your head because they were huge, huge, huge," said Tomlinson, 20, with Horan, 18, at his side in an exclusive Canadian newspaper chat yesterday in Toronto. "I don't know - we just kind of go with it. It's all quite surreal really."
Maybe a more modern comparison might be the new Spice Girls. Or, as one writer in England wrote: "Why have one Justin Bieber when you can have five?"
"I think it's funny people compare us to Justin Bieber," Tomlinson said. "He's great at what he does, he's been very successful at it, but we both make a lot of different music. We're in a band. I think people only make that comparison because of our age."
One Direction - who range in age from 17 to 20 - sprang from the U.K. version of The X-Factor's last season. Clearly, mentor Simon Cowell recognized their star power. One Direction's debut collection of teen pop, Up All Night, debuted at No.1 in 13 countries including Canada last week, launched largely on the popularity of the first single, What Makes You Beautiful.
Next up, they - and Katy Perry - will play the Kid's Choice Awards this Saturday, then serve as musical guests on Saturday Night Live April 7.
"We try and play it cool but we still get so starstruck," Tomlinson said.
Ahead of them is a sold-out North American tour that will see them perform two dates at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. So far Toronto is their only Canadian stop, although they expected to see much more of the country after they record their next album.
One Direction react to Cowell news
One Direction's Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson hadn't yet heard of their mentor Simon Cowell's headline-making home invasion when we spoke with them yesterday.
A female intruder with a brick broke into Cowell's London home Saturday night.
"So we shouldn't send him a cheeky text then saying, 'Next time, lock your door?' " Tomlinson responded. "That's interesting though - scary, but I just find people like that interesting to think what goes through their head."
They denied a report they each have 20 bodyguards. So far, they say New York fans have been the craziest.
"They were quite nutty," said Tomlinson. "Some girl grabbed me and pulled me back, like she's obviously a fan so I thought, 'Are you going to hug me or what?' But it was almost a little bit violent to be honest."