KARL QUINN April 12, 2012
Jemma Mahoney (left) and her sister Tara at home in Wangaratta would give almost anything to see their heroes live. Photo: Kylie Esler/The Border Mail
ORGANISERS of the Logie awards have urged fans of One Direction to stay away from Crown on Sunday night.
This follows the scenes of mass hysteria that greeted the UK boy band's appearances in Sydney yesterday.
''Our main priority is to deliver a successful major event and to ensure the safety of the fans, the invited guests and Crown's customers as well as the boys themselves,'' said Nine's head of publicity, Victoria Buchan. Only the winners of a TV Week competition will be allowed into the red carpet seating area outside the entrance to Crown Towers.
One fan who is likely to heed those words, albeit reluctantly, is Jemma Mahoney, 15, of Wangaratta. She would dearly love to be there but soccer commitments and the first day back at school on Monday mean she almost certainly won't make it.
In fact, this whistle-stop tour by the hottest pop act in the world right now is a bitter-sweet experience all round for Jemma.
She set up the One Direction Australia Facebook page last October, and has attracted about 2500 likes.
But that has not helped her get what she most desperately wanted - a ticket to see them live. On the day tickets to the band's four Australian shows went on sale, Jemma was at the computer by 7.30am.
Three minutes after they went on sale at 9am, they were all gone - none to her.
''I ended up going to school crying,'' she said.
She admitted she would buy a scalped ticket, but not at any price. ''No more than $1000," she said, adding she had no idea where she would find such an amount.
One Direction is far from the first act to prompt such devotion and hysteria in a teenaged (and largely female) audience, but the scale of the local response to the group formed by Simon Cowell on the UK edition of The X Factor in 2010 appears to have taken many by surprise.
Including, it must be said, the boys themselves.
Speaking on Nine's Today show yesterday, Harry Styles lamented the restrictions.
''Since we've been over here, the fans, it's been absolutely crazy,'' the shaggy-haired 18-year-old Englishman said. Added Louis Tomlinson, 20: ''The only time we might not go out to see people is when their safety is at risk. We don't want anything to happen to you guys.'' Soon after, One Direction moved to Seven's Sydney studio for Sunrise, where they were greeted by a crowd of thousands of screaming girls.
Host David Koch told them people had been camping out since 4am the day before.
''It is actually crazy out there,'' said band member Liam Payne, 18. ''It's mad, how many people. Stay safe. It's mental. Absolutely incredible. We can't believe it. Thank you, guys.''
Koch raised the inevitable comparison with the hysteria that greeted the Beatles in their day. ''When people say that to us we kind of like brush it off because it seems such a wild statement to be compared to the Beatles and stuff,'' replied Irishman Niall Horan, also 18.
That sort of level-headedness, though, is scarce among fans. Little wonder, then, that details of the band's Melbourne itinerary are being closely guarded.
Three hundred screaming fans makes for a great TV news grab, but 30,000 screaming fans is just a security nightmare.
The band is likely to arrive in Melbourne late on Saturday, following two Sydney concerts on Friday. Radio interviews are probable, but in-store appearances are off the agenda.
Karl Quinn is on Twitter: @karlkwin