The Wanted Vs. One Direction: A Boy Band Cheat Sheet

MTV News breaks down the differences between the two groups responsible for 2012's British Invasion.

Not since the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC has there been so much attention on boy bands. And a new generation of teen girls have their own ‘NSYNC and BSB in the form of two British imports, the Wanted and One Direction.

Following in the grand tradition of boy bands before them, both bands are comprised of five guys who sing catchy pop tunes about falling for pretty girls. And with pop music experiencing its biggest upsurge in quite a while, it seems now is as good a time as any for boy bands to become en vogue once again.

“It’s just a genre, and I think back in the day, it meant something really specific, and then it kind of ended because the music wasn’t relevant anymore,” the Wanted’s Jay McGuiness explained to MTV News about the current boy-band obsession. “I just think now there’s a big gap and ‘boy band’ is back, but it’s just a different meaning … essentially [it's] just a genre of music.”

“Even for a time in the U.K., there was no new boy band,” Tom Parker added. “In fact, pop music took a big dive in the U.K. It was a lot more indie and rock music, and pop’s come back in a huge way. We kind of just create music that’s a bit different.”

Sure, on the surface, the two groups seem the same (you know, being that they are both British), but before you head to your next party and the conversation turns to these two sets of guys, MTV News has compiled a handy guide to who these bands are.

One Direction
Members: Niall Horan, 18, Zayn Malik, 19, Liam Payne, 18, Harry Styles, 18, and Louis Tomlinson, 20

Country of origin: England

History: The guys met while separately competing on the 2010 season of the U.K. version of “The X Factor.” Discovering that solo careers may not be the way to go for their own success, the guys banded together and from there won the hearts of teenage girls around the world.

Manager: Of course, none of that would have been possible without the help of Simon Cowell, who actually masterminded the guys getting together and forming the group while they were on the show.

Key track/ album release: Their current U.S. single is “What Makes You Beautiful,” off their just-released album Up All Night . The debut disc has already gone double platinum in the U.K. and was poised for some chart dominance in the U.S. having already crawled up the iTunes charts on the day of its release. The band delivers sunny tunes about puppy love, and that has helped them connect to their tween and teen fanbase.

The Wanted
Members: Max George, 23, Tom Parker, 23, Siva Kaneswaran, 23, Jay McGuiness, 21, and Nathan Sykes, 18

Country of origin: England

History: The Wanted first got together in 2009 when former manager Jayne Collins discovered the five guys through a series of auditions. Group member Max George had already had a taste of success with the short-lived British boy band Avenue.

Manager: The same guy who gave us Justin Bieber, Scooter Braun, also brought the Wanted to worldwide fame after they played shows with Bieber during his My World tour in 2011.

Key track/ album release: The Wanted are currently riding high off the massive success of their track “Glad You Came.” Whereas One Direction go for sweet and sugary, the Wanted are taking cues from the Robbie Williams school of bad-boy ‘tude. They will release their U.S. debut on April 24. Their U.K. sophomore album, Battleground, went gold when it was released last year.

Which band are you crushing on? Tell us in the comments!