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First Night: JLS

THE people beside me were far from impressed. "I could do that in my sleep," I told them, dismissing young Aston Merrygold's acrobatic flips across the stage.

"It's not a real robot," I continued, "it's just a guy inside a costume. And look, I bet those abs are painted on."

That's when the concerned mother raised her glow stick in anger and swapped seats with her crying children. Maybe I should have left out the part about pop star dreams rarely coming true.

Except, of course, if you're four

boyishly handsome lads from London and Peterborough who auditioned for a spot in a reality TV show in order to achieve megastardom.

Not that JLS actually won The X Factor. In fact, upon making their way to the final in 2008, the guys eventually lost out to the dreadful warbling of Ms Alexandra Burke.

Coming in at second place isn't always a bad thing, though. Four number one singles, two Brits, four MOBO Awards, and a gazillion record sales later, it's safe to say that Aston, Marvin, Oritse and JB have had the last laugh.

The ladyz love them, too. Not quite as much as they adore themselves, mind, but that's another story.

What's important is that their R&B sprinkled pop appears to have spread like wildfire. More fans, more money. More money, bigger show.

Which might explain why they kick things off tonight in a shiny new convertible. And did I mention that the car is hanging from the ceiling and slowly making its way into the audience?

Yep, it's that kind of concert, folks; a blinding, deafening, pop extravaganza where everyone's new favourite foursome delight their fans with catchy tunes, glitzy effects, shiny clothing, and a rather confusing theme (think Thriller meets Terminator and you'll still get lost).

Sure, the lyrics are dreadful, the banter is cheesy, and there's not an ounce of spontaneity, but it's certainly entertaining.

And whaddaya know -- it just about works. So too does Beat Again, and set closer Everybody in Love, a song no doubt written with arenas in mind. We could have done without the Backstreet Boys and NSync tribute, but the dancing robot more than made up for that.

Elsewhere, we learn that Dublin boasts the sexiest women and that these guys spend quite a fair amount of their time in the gym. It's enough to make any young man in attendance with a post-holiday gut plod on home wearing a big old frown.

But let's not get personal.

Instead, let's focus on the surprising fact that you don't necessarily need to be a teenager, or indeed, female to enjoy a couple of hours in the company of JLS. Just don't get any ideas about attempting a back flip in the privacy of your own home to prove a point.

Didn't quite work out as planned, that one ...