Louis Walsh to unveil new boy band on the Late Late Show this weekend
Walsh says Next in Line will appeal to a much younger audience than Westlife
This Friday on The Late Late Show, music mogul Louis Walsh will finally unveil his new boyband, who we can reveal is called Next In Line.
Unlike the hilarious appearance on the same show 29 years ago of his first creation, Boyzone, it won’t be car crash TV.
And when Next In Line give their first public performance by busking on Dublin’s Grafton Street on Saturday at 4pm, they are expected to attract swarms of young female fans.
“Next In Line will have a younger audience than Westlife,” Louis told the Sunday World.
The five lads – Conor O’Farrell (20) from Meath, Harry O’Connell (19) and Conor David (19) from Dublin, Neung Kelly (20) from Carlow and Joshua Regala (17) from Navan – were chosen from 1,000 wannabes last year and since then they’ve have been rehearsed, choreographed and styled to within an inch of their lives.
Back in 1993, Boyzone had just been formed from a final audition two days earlier when they landed a spot to strut their stuff on the Late Late.
The line-up then included Dickie Rock’s son, Richard, and Mark Walton – both later dropped from the group – did some cringey freestyle dancing on the show that night.
A bemused host, Gay Byrne, sounded a cynical note about their future as he bid them farewell, wished them the best of luck and asked them to come back when they’d hit the big time.
However, for the then little-known Louis Walsh it had been a major coup getting his new boyband on the biggest TV show in Ireland – and he knew that they had won the hearts that night of the people that matter…hordes of young female fans.
Under Walsh’s guidance, Boyzone would go on to have major-league success and prove the critics and cynics wrong.
The Mayo-born music manager with the Midas touch, would later have even greater success with his follow-up boyband Westlife, who have sold more than 55 million records worldwide and are the only band to have had their first seven singles enter the UK chart at number one.
Now the former X Factor judge feels the time is right to launch a new group – and he has found five talented newcomers who can all sing and play instruments.
“I’ve never been more excited or confident about a group and I just can’t wait for people to hear and see what they have to offer,” Louis says.
“They all have amazing voices and they are talented musicians. They have been recording with British pop producer Brian Higgins, who worked with Sugababes and Girls Aloud. He has been writing and co-writing their original songs, and he’s the best in the business.
“We also brought in Steve Garrigan of Kodaline to write some songs and work with the boys in the studio, and he has been brilliant with them. At this stage, they are already fully formed pop stars before they’ve done their first public performance or TV appearance.”
One of the Next In Line members, Neung Kelly from Carlow, recently revealed how he was adopted from an orphanage in Bangkok by his Irish family when he was just a year old.
The Kellys had been trying to adopt a baby for five years before finally realising their dream when Neung came into their lives.
“Every three or four years we go back to the baby home I was adopted from and make a donation,” Neung said.
“It’s emotional when I’m back there. You see all the kids there, and some of them are my age and they don’t have a family and have never been adopted.”
Fellow member, Joshua Regala from Navan, Co. Meath, who was born in Ireland to parents from the Philippines, reached the semi-finals of The Voice Kids two years ago, where he was mentored by Pixie Lott.
Conor O’Farrell grew up in a family steeped in music as his father, Sean, was a country music star in the 1990s before leaving to pursue his business interests.
Sean and his wife, Paula, gave Conor their blessing to join Walsh’s new boyband and live his dream. “When I heard Louis was involved I had absolutely zero reservations,” Sean says.
“I said at the time, ‘If Louis is involved fire ahead, you won’t meet better and you won’t get better looked after.’ Once Louis was at the helm we were happy to say, ‘go for it and give it your all.’”
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