One Direction and Big Time Rush set to tour the US; Are boy bands officially back? -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTO

One-Direction-and-Big-Time-Rush

Two weeks from today, Nickelodeon boy band Big Time Rush will launch its Better With U tour in Las Vegas, and starting one week after that (in Chicago on February 24), they will be joined by some very special guests: One Direction.

EW has obtained an exclusive photo of the two bands together and ready to tour the country. (Wishing all nine gents could be on your desktop? Click HERE for a full-size image.)

Are you by chance unfamiliar with One Direction? That’s likely to change. The British fivesome, constructed by Simon Cowell during The X-Factor UK‘s 2010 season, has already taken the motherland by storm — their first single “What Makes You Beautiful” became the most pre-ordered single in Sony Music’s history — but now they’re teaming up with Big Time Rush to launch a Stateside career.

To appease the masses of eager young females, “What Make You Beautiful” (below) will be made available on digital retailers on Valentine’s Day (a stroke of marketing genius if I’ve ever heard one), and Columbia Records says in a statement that “due to overwhelming fan demand,” their debut album Up All Night will be released one week early on March 13.

On top of that, One Direction is set to appear in an upcoming episode of Nickelodeon’s top-rated show iCarly, and their music video for “What Makes You Beautiful,” which has already racked up 47 million VEVO views, will premiere on the kids network on February 11.

Are boy bands officially back in style? Ever since the age of the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync, there have been countless attempts to launch new super-groups (Anyone remember Youngstown? Just me? Okay…), though none have really panned out.

But with Big Time Rush on a sold-out tour (and with their single “Music Sounds Better With U” out now), One Direction garnering deafening buzz, and fellow Brit-imports The Wanted racing up the pop charts with their Guetta-esque “Glad You Came,” it looks like the Beliebers and Lovatics might have some new tween fanbases to reckon with.

Tell me, readers. Are you a One Direction fan? What about Big Time Rush? Do you think boy bands are poised for a major return?

More on EW.com:
Big Time Rush to release ‘If I Ruled the World’ music video
Behind the scenes of the Big Time Rush’s ‘Boyfriend’ video with Snoop Dogg


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