By Chuck Arnold
Updated December 24, 2012 12:00 PM


Believe it or not, One Direction actually opened for Big Time Rush—yes, Big Time Rush—at Radio City Music Hall when they first played New York City in March. Eight months—and two No. 1 albums—later, the British boy band graduated to arena headliners in Manhattan with a sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden. Instead of acting like the major pop phenoms that they are, though, they still managed to come across like the lads next door. From their relatively understated outfits to their lack of any slick dance moves, they were charmingly dorky, barely keeping the beat as they bounced around the minimal stage. The playful looseness of it all was downright endearing. But when Ed Sheeran shared Harry Styles’s mic on “Little Things”—a Take Me Home ballad that Sheeran cowrote—they scored some cool cred anyway.