Great Debate: Big Time Rush vs. One Direction

It’s been a semester-long debate between The Spectator’s managing editor and editor in chief, but which band is better?


Big Time Rush

When I was 15, I had a Twitter account called @BTRisAMAZINGGGGG dedicated to Big Time Rush. Five G’s. That’s how amazing they are.

Big Time Rush, commonly known as BTR, was created by producer Scott Fellows for a Nickelodeon television show of the same name. The show debuted on Nov. 28, 2009 and ran for four seasons. In that time, they recorded three albums, filmed a Christmas TV movie with Snoop Dogg and, ultimately, taught us that modern boy bands can actually sing and dance live.

As a boy band, BTR performed flawless harmonies and choreography live in concert. Even in the modern era, the band kept the boy band tradition of semi-matching outfits on stage and in-sync dance moves.

In 2012, BTR began their “Better with U Tour” where, on the North American leg, One Direction opened for them. That’s right: One Direction opened for BTR.

BTR is still the epitome of talent. Like every boy band ever, they had a way of making you (and millions of other teenage girls) feel special. BTR wrote most of the songs on their second and third albums, rehearsed original choreography and made me believe men could be good — all while filming 74 episodes of an above-average television show.

Without BTR, subsequent boy bands like One Direction would not be successful. In 2009, BTR paved the way for the comeback of the boy band. This band inadvertently gave the world an unprecedented era of skin-tight jeans, J-14 wall posters, internet fandom wars and quiffed hair.

BTR was iconic, and the fact that they aren’t a band anymore is criminal. Somehow, they made me grateful for the hours upon hours I spent obsessing over them online. One thing though is for certain, “If I Ruled the World,” I’d make sure BTR was the only relevant boy band (because they deserve to be).

-Emilee Wentland


One Direction

I have been a die-hard fan of the legendary English-Irish pop boy band, One Direction, since “What Makes You Beautiful” first graced my ears back in 2011, and have continued to love them even though they decided to take an indefinite hiatus back in 2016.

After five albums, five concerts, hundreds of dollars and endless playlists on repeat in the car (much to the dismay of my boyfriend), it is pretty evident that I am an avid “Directioner.” That being said, when Ms. Wentland had the audacity to argue that Big Time Rush was even borderline comparable to One Direction, I knew it was time to use my college education for arguably the most important task of my editorial career: constructing a well-sourced argument for the boys.

One Direction got their start back in 2010, when the original band members, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik auditioned for The X Factor UK as individual acts. However, Simon Cowell had the (genius) idea to group the boys together for the duration of the show and thus, 1D was born.

If their record setting album sales and epic social media followings don’t already speak for themselves, let’s dive into their pure talent, effortless harmonies and evolution between each album release. 1D grew with their audience, offering a more mature and unique sound with each new record. Listening to the difference between tracks on “Up All Night” versus “Made in the A.M.” clearly illustrates this. This is more than BTR can say, as they continuously offered the same stuffy, bubblegum pop, autotuned sound on each track they released.

One Direction was the definition of a boy band, as the members first formed when they were in their teenage years. They related to their audience and grew up with the fans that followed them. BTR, on the other hand, featured members that were already adults when they first debuted on the music scene. By the time the band concluded, they were more of an awkwardly-aged man band, hardly relating to their teenage audience.

Moreover, even after One Direction split, each member’s solo career has been nothing short of successful, from Harry and Niall’s iconic album releases to Louis, Liam and Zayn’s catchy singles.

Where is BTR now, you ask? I couldn’t tell you (because they’re irrelevant).

-Nicole Bellford