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Next stop Southend for boy band JLS
8:00am Thursday 20th December 2012 in Sound Check
JLS are set to bring some festive cheer in a Christmas TV special dedicated to their family, friends and fans – but if you want to catch them up close, they’ll be making an appearance in Southend as they touch down for Mayhem’s Christmas gig the same night the show airs.
The popular boy band will be on the decks at the club on Saturday, ready to spin their favourite tunes and lend a touch of celebrity glamour to the night.
After coming runner-up to winner Alexandra Burke in X Factor back in 2008, the foursome understand more than most it’s not the winning, but the taking part that counts.
Coming in second place didn’t stop them storming the charts, and they haven’t stopped since. For Marvin Humes, 27, the busy schedule has been especially tough as he recently married Rochelle, from girl group the Saturdays, and the pair are expecting a baby.
He says: “We’re both so busy throughout the year, especially the last three months as Rochelle’s been in America shooting a TV show, so we haven’t had a lot of time together.
“It makes you appreciate the time you spend together when you’re apart so much. We’re looking forward to Christmas especially as no phones are ringing, no e-mails are going off and we can just really relax.”
Of the Southend gig, he says: “All four of us are going to be down, so it will be a crazy night.
We look forward to seeing everyone there.”
As part of the 90-minute Christmas TV special, they will perform their biggest hits alongside some Christmas classics, throw themselves into a few festive stunts and open up about their incredible rise to fame.
Oritse Williams, 26, says: “We always wanted to do a Christmas party for our fans, as well as our family. We approached Sky and said we think this year is the year to do it as we’ve had a lot of requests from people wanting us to push the idea forward.”
Determined to do their fans justice, Oritse and bandmates, Aston Merrygold, 24, Jonathan Benjamin (JB) Gill, 26, and Marvin, took a couple of months out of their hectic schedule to focus on the details.
They were determined to get it just perfect and offer fans, who couldn’t afford or make it to a live gig, something special.
Oritse says: “We wanted to organise the collaborations, the staging, even down to the way the lights are set.”
As part of the surprise, the boys handpicked 400 of their most passionate devotees to camp out with them in festive log cabins.
“We snuck around and left presents, so it was like Christmas morning,” says Oritse with a grin. We wanted it to be a really exciting extravaganza for our fans, friends and family.”
They also embarked on a country-wide quest to reward those who’ve supported them so fervently over the past few years, surprising fans by carol singing on doorsteps, appearing at a flashmob and bursting out of a cinema screen. JB says: “We know we’ve got dedicated fans who spend thousands of pounds and many fans who haven’t been able to see us but have everything JLS-themed.”
“We surprised one girl in Preston who’d been through a bad time with her family and her father passed away.
“She saw us as an inspiration and saw us as helping her through the year, so it’s a way of thanking everyone for their dedication.”
Their families will also feature heavily in the show as the band look to reward them too for all their support over the years.
Marvin says: “We’re very fortunate, so we look after our families all year around, especially our little brothers who get all of our cast-off clothes. And I don’t mean cast-offs like hand-me-downs that we’ve worn for five years. Every three months I have a clear-out.
“I’m not joking, it’s embarrassing how many clothes we get given and we don’t wear and have to throw away or give to family or charity.”
The boys will enjoy a three-week break over Christmas and New Year and then, “It’s straight back into it”.
“It’s been five, six years now and we’re still high. It’s just mad to think we’re lucky enough to do another arena tour,” Aston says, referring to the numerous dates they’ve earmarked for next winter.
The pocket-sized pin-up may be dating one of the band’s former backing dancers but it hasn’t stopped avid fans demonstrating their adoration for Merrygold with unique and imaginative gifts.
He says: “I got sent real fish once. Don’t ask me how it got there. I just left it with my management. I was like, ‘I’m not taking that home’! “ he reveals, chuckling.
Well, that’s one gift idea fans can cross off the list this Christmas.
A Very JLS Christmas airs on Sky1 HD on Saturday, December 22, and on the same day they perform a special live DJ set at Mayhem, Warrior Square, Southend. Their new single, Give Me Life, is out the following day, Sunday.