Popping The Question: Who Will Be The Next Big Thing?

It’s the question that every record company wants to know, so they can sign whoever it is and make back all the money they have lost from failed attempts to create the next trend. The problem is, trends are not created by record companies, and they cannot be predicted, although whenever a new one occurs you can be sure that everyone will claim to have predicted it. Here are a few possibilities of who could be the next big thing.

One way that many attempt to predict the pop future is to look at past trends, and this of course leads us to the biggest pop phenomenon of the last few years – Busted. They did what only the most powerful bands can and managed to spawn a new band, in the form of McFly, to take over when the members of Busted had had enough. Now McFly are almost at the same point in their career as Busted were when they split up, so it’s time for a new protegée. Polydor (?) tried and failed to launch a female version of the Busted/McFly style of band with the Faders, and Charlie attempted to inherit the Busted throne with his band Fightstar, but of course their rubbishness left them far from the top of the charts. However, it may not be the idea of a female Busted or Busted spin-off band that was faulty, simply the way in which it was carried out.

The second member of Busted to launch a side-project is James and his band Son of Dork. Although James was the only member of Busted I personally liked, he was probably the least popular of the boys. However, his band seem to be much more of a continuation of Busted than Fightstar were and I can see them appealing much more to the ex-Busted wannabe groupies and especially the more casual fans than Fightstar. The other boys in the group seem to have the same spirit as Busted and the first single could easily have been taken from an imaginary 3rd Busted album. As long as the Busted fans have not moved on too far, this lot should do very well, as this kind of music is absolutely what is popular with young teenage girls at the moment.

Having another try at the female Busted idea are the Lovebites. Their debut single, You Broke My Heart, is released on Monday, so by this time next week we’ll know if they have a chance at being “the next big thing”. Despite (or in fact because of) being very normal-looking girls I do think they will be more popular than some of the other wannabe female Busteds. Their normality means teenage girls, their target audience, will relate to them in the way my friends and I related to the Spice Girls in the 90s, reflecting the reason I believe Busted were so popular – because they were attainable. Young girls would probably know someone who looks like one of Busted, or if not they could easily imagine them being in the 6th form at their school and dream that one day they would catch their eye in the school canteen and it would be love at first sight. Clearly I have read too many teen novels but you must understand my point. The Lovebites are girls you could imagine being your friends – your girly gang who play tricks on boys who dump one of you and get told off in every lesson for gossiping. If the Lovebites can get enough publicity, they could be huge, but at the moment I’m quite sad to be far from sure that they’ll manage it.

Also taking this route are Frank, the girl band created through the Channel 4 series Totally Frank. The band are made up of actresses who can also sing and play instruments, which means that if the programme is successful they will release an album, on which they have been working with the fantastic Girls Aloud and Sugababes producers Xenomania. The album may be good and the concept could work, but there are several problems with this idea. They seem to believe they have come up with a very original idea, but I for one can’t see how it differs from the launches of S Club 7, North & South or Cleopatra, and only one of those was particularly successful. I’d like to hear the Frank album and new poppy girlbands never go amiss, but I wish I could be as confident about their success as they seem to be.

Also hoping that the era of gaining pop stardom through a TV programme has not ended will be the finalists of this year’s X Factor. So far we still have 12 singers or groups remaining, so the winner will certainly not be launched until the start of next year, which is of course ideal because January is the easiest time to have a hit. However, in recent years more acts have cottoned onto this and the January charts are becoming just as full as any other time of year.

Now that Trevor and James have been ousted from the competition, I can’t see any of the other solo singers selling a huge amount of singles. The ones with any ounce of coolness will soon lose it, and even Chico who could possibly have a novelty hit, will have entirely lost his comedy appeal by that point. He needs to be kicked out immediately so he can start work on his novelty Xmas single. As for the groups, they could have potential. Addictiv Ladies would be the perfect replacement for Mis-teeq, if only they could sing a bit better, and 4tune have the talent to be successful, although they are perhaps a bit too serious. Brothers Journey South are far too cheesy and the Conway Sisters have some chance of success, but are not interesting enough to be popular in the youth market. So unless any of them gets out too soon in the voting mishap that happens at least once a series, waits long enough to forgotten about, then launches themselves with a very cool and un-X Factor song, they don’t stand much chance.

So, who will be the next big thing? The only answer I can give is probably none of the above. I am quite positive that there will be a new pop phenomenon soon enough, but it wouldn’t be a phenomenon if it didn’t come out of nowhere. Personally, I can’t wait to see what it will be!

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