LOUIS-MANIA is global with fans going crazy both sides of the Atlantic for South Yorkshire’s One Direction star Louis Tomlinson, as digital editor Graham Walker found out. Listen to our audio chat.
Speaking as more than 20,000 fans prepare to give him a welcome home he will never forget next week at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena, the 19-year-old revealed the band’s debut at the venue promises to be the biggest night of his life.
And in an exclusive chat with The Star - which you can hear in full online by pressing the play button - he says security has been stepped up after he had the hoody ripped off his back as hundreds of screaming girls greeted them off a plane at Heathrow Airport.
That’s after dozens of fans turned up to see the boyband fly home from Los Angeles, where they have been working on material for their debut album with Lady Gaga producer RedOne.
“We didn’t think we would be known at all in America,’’ said Louis, from Bessacarr, Doncaster.
“And then when we got back to the UK it was absolutely crazy. I got my hoody ripped off my back and in the end we had to be escorted by police.
“It’s crazy. But it’s great when people appreciate what you do so much.”
Their debut single won’t be Forever Young, the song they would have released if they had won X Factor and the name of their first official biography, which is out now.
Louis says the track is “epic”, but it’s all over the internet and they want a big new summer hit.
An album with mentor Simon Cowell is also in the early stages.
For now, Louis, Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik and Liam Payne are concentrating on the job in hand, to entertain fans on the 38-date X Factor Live tour, showcasing the finalists from last year’s series.
Also on the tour is winner Matt Cardle, runner-up Rebecca Ferguson, Paige Richardson, Mary Byrne, Cher Lloyd, Aiden Grimshaw and Wagner.
It kicked off at Birmingham’s LG Arena last Saturday and finishes in Cardiff on April 10.Seats are like gold-dust for the two shows in Sheffield next week on Tuesday and Wednesday.
With his family and friends in the crowd, it will be the biggest night of his life.
The last time he was in the Arena was as a young schoolboy to see British punk trio Busted. Now he’s back as a member of Britain’s top new boyband.
His biggest fans will be there - parents Mark and Johannah, sisters Lottie, 12, Felicite, 10, twins Phoebe and Daisy, both six, and his grandparents.
“The Sheffield concerts are the most special dates on the tour for me because it’s so close to home. I’m really looking forward to it. I think I could get quite emotional,’’ he said.
“But it’s going to be nerve-wracking.
“There’s a lot of pressure and expectation. But that motivates you. We want to go to the top. It’s all down to the fans. We would be nowhere without them.”
* X Factor winner Matt Cardle will sign copies of his new book, Matt Cardle, My Story, at WHSmith in Meadowhall, Sheffield, on Tuesday. It’s a ticket only event, available from the store on Sunday, February 28, from 11am.
* Watch new videos of the One Direction book-signing in Birmingham and see them performing on the X Factor Tour on their new YouTube Channel, at http://www.youtube.com/onedirectionchannel - or click on the External Links on the column on the right.