In these austere times, even an X Factor sure thing is subject to some belt-tightening measures, so there was no theatrical moveable stage set, no dance troups to interact flirtatiously with and no lavish costume changes. The boys were simply kitted out in high street smart casual and old school uniforms.
But such embellishments would only have been mere window dressing next to the main event – Harry, Liam, Zayn, Niall and Louis (which one’s your favourite?).
Having graduated from boy band boot camp, One Direction now have a credible chemistry, the ability to project non-stop enthusiasm and surprisingly decent harmonising abilities. If only someone had remembered to write some songs for the boys.
The first half of the set – themed round a tame beach party followed by autumn term at boarding school – comprised lame heartbreak ballads and jaunty mid-tempo excuses.
These shortcomings were immaterial to their fans, who waved suggestive homemade banners and screamed incontinently at Niall’s guttural stabs at a Scottish accent, Zayn’s valiant attempts at melisma and Harry’s very existence.
Eventually, they performed a couple of McFly-style pop rockers and the Beatles-lite I Want, manifesting a possible future direction for the group, one where they sing songs which are better suited to their playful, rough-and-ready persona rather than ones which reduce them to sub-Bieber mummy’s boys.