One Direction have single-handedly resurrected the boy-band phenomenon, and this week, they'll take a victory lap at their first-ever VMAs, where they are nominated for Best New Artist as well as Best Pop Video. But for first timers, the VMAs can be daunting. What do you do when you win? What if you lose? Luckily for the British-Irish dudes in 1D, 2012 Video Music Awards host Kevin Hart was on-hand to school them in proper Moonman etiquette.
It's Kevin Hart's first time hosting, but last year, his presence during the show was much larger than his diminutive stature would suggest. Hart was part of the ensemble in "Think Like a Man" (which was #1 at the box office) and plays to sold-out houses in comedy clubs, too. So it was only fitting that he took the 1D guys under his wing backstage during rehearsals for the big show, which goes down Thursday (September 6) at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
"It's my job to prepare you for what could happen," Hart said, as Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson listened closely.
"Here, in our realm of the world in the States, when people win awards, we're tough about it," he explained. "I just want to teach you guys how to be tough about winning an award, OK?" His first lesson: Use American slang. "Slang is what black people do when we win," he said. "It's how we talk."
In addition to Best New Artist and Best Pop Video (for "What Makes You Beautiful"), One Direction are major contenders for Most Share-Worthy Video. At press time, their 25 million votes put them just ahead of Justin Bieber, with Beyoncé, Carly Rae Jepsen and Gotye trailing far behind both.
So what should they do if they hear their names called on Thursday night? "When they say, 'Oh my goodness! The winner is One Direction!' " instructed Hart, physically acting out the next bit, "You walk up there, first thing you do, hit your heart. Kiss your hand. Throw that up to God.
"Then you go, 'I gotta thank Him above 'cause none of this would be possible without Him,' " he added. "You got that?"
Liam looked confused. "Can you do it backwards, though, as well?" he said. Then he demonstrated.
"But then you're pointing at the Devil!" Hart quickly said. "You don't want to do that!"
Liam considered it and agreed. "No, you don't want to do that."
He tried another variation. "I was thinking about doing this, though, you know what I mean?"
Hart next took things into more familiar territory for 1D: finger pointing at the crowd. "That thing you guys do," he said. "Always give the audience some points." The guys joined in, noting that sometimes synchronized finger-pointing is rad. A nice bend at the knees is also crucial.
"They love it when groups do that," Hart said. "Trust me. I used to be in a group myself. We didn't make it, but our looks were great."
Niall tried his hand at the chest pound, hand kiss, finger point to God maneuver. He botched it. "Do you do that if you don't win as well?" asked Harry. Kevin said absolutely not. "If you don't win, you throw something," he advised. "You pick it up and you throw it at the stage."
The comedian next quizzed the guys on whether they'd practiced their facial expressions for Thursday night.
"Here's my last thing. If you're sitting in the seat — you've got to know this — there's two faces, OK? If you win, as a group, you gotta be surprised. 'I can't believe it. Oh no!' If you lose, the camera is on you. You still gotta be happy for whoever won. So let's just go over both looks. Ready?"
The guys gave it their best "we won!" move, cheering loudly. "You can't make noises!" Hart scolded. "They can't hear you. Mime it."
The boys tried again. Much better. "That was good!" Hart said excitedly. "I feel like [you've] got it. You guys are prepared for the 2012 VMAs."