Girl groups are making a comeback
NEW YORK -- I'll tell you what you want, what you really, really want: Girl groups.
Even if you don't want them -- they're back on the scene. A new batch of pop tarts are ready to dominate the charts and fill a void since best-selling groups like Destiny's Child, TLC and the Spice Girls aren't dropping songs as fast as music fans want them.
The duo Icona Pop has one of the year's biggest hits -- and possible song of the summer -- with the anthem "I Love It." Little Mix won U.K.'s "The X Factor" in 2011 and Fifth Harmony finished third on the U.S. version of the show last year. The fivesome G.R.L. is signed to mega-hitmaker Dr. Luke (Katy Perry, Ke$ha) and The Rosso Sisters are currently in the studio with Ron Fair (Christina Aguilera).
Others are using reality TV to help establish their brands: The Saturdays, who have a dozen Top 10 hits in their native United Kingdom, launched a reality show on E! this year and are gaining buzz with their playful, electro-pop tune "What About Us"; Bruno Mars' four sisters, the Lylas, will debut on a WEtv series this fall; and Jessica Simpson's father is managing a group, The Alectrix, whose development is being documented on an MTV show.
Here are four girl groups who are rivaling One Direction and The Wanted for your attention.
Call them the female One Direction. Seriously.
Like 1D, Little Mix was formed on the U.K.'s "The X Factor," where the girls won the competition in 2011 (1D placed third in 2010.) The group is signed to the same U.S. label as the popular boy band, and the girl group is following the boys' chart-topping path: Their debut, "DNA," splashed at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart last month.
"I thought it was a joke at first," Jesy Nelson said of the album's success.
Little Mix is currently working on a second album that they will also release this year -- 1D's formula last year.
"We always look at One Direction as opening the gates for us," said Perrie Edwards, who is dating 1D's Zayn Malik. "They work really hard and we just want to follow in their footsteps."
The early twentysomethings auditioned individually on "X Factor," but were put together on the series.
"From day one we clicked," said Edwards (Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall round out the foursome). "We worked on our friendship first before we got to the singing. ... We're like sisters."
Little Mix will launch a U.S. tour in the fall. Their debut album even features a track with a girl group vet: T-Boz of TLC co-wrote and sings on "Red Planet."
"We were massive fans of TLC growing up and we love all of those girl groups from back in the day," Nelson said.
The Pussycat Dolls got a makeover.
G.R.L. was originally the new lineup of the Pussycat Dolls, but the group decided to establish a new identity after signing to Grammy-nominated producer Dr. Luke's Kemosabe Records.
"We decided that once all five of us came together and brought our different personalities and we got involved with Dr. Luke, it became something completely different from the Pussycat Dolls," said Paula Van Oppen.
The fivesome, who have been living together for the past seven months, auditioned for Dr. Luke and Max Martin, who have crafted international hits for female singers like Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson and Pink.
"I had a journal I wrote in two years ago of dream producers and songwriters I wanted to work with, and Dr. Luke and Max Martin were on the top of our list," said Emmalyn Estrada, the last member to join after she was discovered on YouTube. "They make us feel so comfortable ... You forget who you're working with."
The group also includes Simone Battle, Natasha Slayton and Lauren Bennett, who sings on LMFAO's monster smash "Party Rock Anthem." The group is working on their debut album and released their first single "Vacation" last month; it also appears on the "Smurfs 2" soundtrack.
"The single actually got released on my birthday, which was the best birthday ever," Battle said. "It's been crazy to have your friends be able to download your song."
The five-piece Fifth Harmony is prepping for their international takeover by watching one of girl groups' ultimate alums: Beyoncé.
"We're really like big fans of Destiny's Child. In fact, we went to see Beyoncé last night," said Ally Brooke, as her band mates screamed in the background.
Like Little Mix, Fifth Harmony formed on "The X Factor" -- but the U.S. version -- where they placed third last year.
"We didn't know what we to expect because none of us had known each other before," Brooke said. "It's just amazing how we all instantly bonded and connected."
The group recently released their debut single, the punchy pop jam "Miss Movin' On." They said their album will feature pop tracks like it but will also include "a throwback vibe."
The girls kick off their U.S. tour Monday in Boston and will perform on "Today" on Thursday. They said their live shows will feature more dancing than their performances on "X Factor."
"We know that we have to work really hard and that's definitely something that we're all willing to put in -- that's the only thing that's really going to set us apart," said Lauren Jauregui (Normani Hamilton, Camila Cabello and Dinah Jane Hansen round out the quintet).
"We just have to make sure that every time we go out and do our shows that we prove to everyone that we deserve that No. 1 spot and that's what we're going for."
Moms know best.
For the Laylas, the sisters of Bruno Mars, it was their mother who introduced the girls to female singers they most look up to.
"Our mom was an amazing vocalist and she introduced us to all the female R&B powerhouses, so we grew up listening to the Supremes, Aretha Franklin, En Vogue, the girl groups back in the day," said Tiara Hernandez. "That influence really comes through in our music."
Their mother, Bernadette Hernandez, died last month at age 55 in Hawaii. The group is currently filming a reality series for WEtv to debut in the fall, when they also plan to release music.
Presley calls being in a group with siblings "a nightmare!"
She's kidding. Sort of.
"It's really fun, but at the same time you can definitely see how hard it is for girl groups," she added. "The beauty of being sisters is there is no escaping each other. We have to work it out no matter what happens."
The Laylas -- rounded out by Tahiti and Jamie -- said they're inspired by Hawaii's diverse music scene and the performers in their family, including their father and ultrasuccessful, Grammy-winning brother.
Will Mars, who has written and produced for CeeLo Green, Justin Bieber and Alicia Keys, give his sisters first dibs?
"We'll definitely work with him and you'll have to watch the show to see," Jamie said.