It’s tough to play favorites when it comes to the members of One Direction. There’s Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson — also known as the cute one, the cute one, the cute one, the cute one and the cute one.
That uniform distribution of talent and charm might explain why the British-Irish boy band is surfing a tsunami of hype. After placing third on the 2010 season of “The X Factor,” Simon Cowell’s British version of “American Idol,” One Direction’s puppy love anthems colonized the iPods of tweenage America.
The quintet bounced onto the Patriot Center stage in Fairfax on Thursday night as if its members had been shaken out of a J. Crew catalogue. Hair tousled, smiles beaming, they spent 80 minutes onstage being as likable as they could be, each member pulling the same weight, sharing the spotlight and the microphone.
But their harmonies were barely audible at first. The capacity crowd’s screaming spiked to surreal volumes, drowning out entire bars of the show-starting “Na Na Na.” According to Patriot Center staff members, the wailing clocked in at 122 decibels. That’s louder than the roar at Verizon Center after a Caps goal, louder than a heavy-metal concert, louder than an ambulance driving past a lawn mower in a thunderstorm.