One Direction rehearse for their VMA debut. And I was there. Don't hate; celebrate.
One Direction's about to play one of the biggest shows of their lives -- 20,000-seat arena, 4,900 lights, 18 cameras, and a viewership that numbers in the eight digits. (And that's millions, if you don't wanna do the math.) On LIVE TV. But if the guys were nervous, you'd never know it from their VMA rehearsal today.
Inside the Staples Center -- where One Direction rehearsed for their 2012 MTV VMAs and will perform and possibly walk away with two Moonmen -- Liam, Niall, Harry, Louis and Zayn (my personal favorite -- the hair does it for me) had that one thing (sorry, but also, not sorry) that makes them immune from preperformance anxiety: their ability radiate cool confidence without cockiness (Sigh. British boys > American boys). And the unwavering support of their fans. Wait, that's two things. You can't just reduce the biggest boy band on the planet to just one thing, as any Directioner knows. And tomorrow night, you'll see some of their most devoted, most devout, and certainly luckiest fans who'll join them during their performance.
Before the guys entered the house, the Directioners took their places onstage, where I joined them (tough job, I know!) as we waited for the boys to run through their song. Hair was patted, skirts were smoothed, hands were squeezed in mutual support. And suddenly, the boys stepped out of the wing and onto the VMA stage for the very first time. Hushes gave way to stunned gasps, and there was much fanning accompanied by shallow breathing. I want to tell you that a heavenly light illuminated them as they entered the stage, and a hazy, otherworldly fog consumed them, but, well, I MEAN IT BASICALLY DID!
Go inside of One Direction's VMA rehearsal after the jump!
Meet Charlie Kate. She hugged Harry Styles. Yep.
As the guys (Niall was in a white tee, Louis had on a crucial pair of jorts that I have nothing but respect for, and Harry had on a Rolling Stones tee I'd DIE to own, FYI) talked through the logistics of their performance with the show director downstage, the Directioners, as if joined in group prayer, quietly ran an I'm-in-the-same-room-as-One-Direction emotional play-by-play:
- "Don't faint don't faint. Don't cry, don't faint. I'm dead."
- "Don't get emotional. Don't get emotional... I'm emotional."
- "This performance is going to be the best thing ever."
- "I will tell my children about this."
But the crazy thing was, once the fans got comfortable (as comfortable as one can get breathing the same air as 1D) with the otherwise unthinkable concept of Zayn, Louis, Niall, Harry and Liam being with arm's reach, their performance became about involving the fans and almost repaying them for their support. Niall clowned around and did his best imitation of a chicken, Liam pumped up the crowd, Louis gave out high-fives and thumbs-ups, and the girl standing next to me was the extremely lucky recipient of Louis' direct eye contact as he locked in on her and smiled during the chorus. But one fan perhaps trumped them all as Harry gave her a hug. I saw it go down, and I'm pretty sure I saw her soul leave her body and ascend to heaven before returning back to Earth.
"It was beautiful. It was a beautiful moment," Charlie Kate told me. "I was like "Is this really happening?"
I can't give away much more about One Direction's VMA performance, because if I did you might not tune in (AHAHAHAH, just kidding!), but it'll be a performance that perfectly captures the essence of what Maria Reynoso, 19, told me she loves most about them: "They have so much energy, and they definitely love their fans. They're just totally committed to us. You can tell. It's literally the greatest day of my life."
Tune in tomorrow night: I'm pretty sure you'll agree.
Directioners Maria Reynoso and Nancy Castelan will join One Direction for their VMA performance. Um, I know.
+ Watch One Direction get ready for the VMAs in this behind-the-scenes video from their hotel, watch them practice winning a VMA with Kevin Hart, check out photos of One Direction rehearsing for the 2012 MTV VMAs, get the inside scoop on their perfect hair (you know you can't resist that), and watch their dreamy slow-mo promos.
Don't miss the 2012 MTV VMAs live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Thursday, Sept. 6, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Photo credit: John Shearer/Invision for MTV; Tamar Anitai