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It's early days yet for the likeable bunch of good singers from X Factor

"PROUD of Union J". That's what the signs say. It looks like someone made one for everyone in the audience. Naturally, the boys are well chuffed. Squint your eyes, and Josh Cuthbert (tall fringe) might as well be Liam Payne from One Direction. Heck, George Shelley (taller fringe) could even pass for a professional Harry Styles look-alike. And guess what? Union J came from The X Factor, too. Mad.

If this was a 1D gig, the O2 wouldn't be half-empty. True, Union J's debut album didn't exactly set the world alight, but it's early days yet for a group that is still getting used to headlining their own tour. Hence, the tears (poor Josh – totes emosh, I suspect, what with this being the last night and all).

There's so much talk of achievement and so many baby photos on the screens that it almost feels like a premature farewell gig for the British boy band. But George (the favourite) can confirm "100 million per cent" that Union J will release a second record in 2014. Amazeballs, as the kids might say.

COVERS

Better than The Wanted, but not yet in the same league as Niall Horan and Co, George and his mates are a likeable bunch of young men. Good singers, too, better suited to their own frothy brand of dance-pop (Carry You, Last Goodbye) than the silly solo covers (George sings Katy Perry's Roar, Jaymi tackles Beyonce's Listen) that pad out their set. Eh, you're a group, lads – you can't have it both ways. And this isn't the X Factor live jaunt.

In fact, it's called the Magazines and TV Screens Tour. So, there's a bizarre gimmick involving a set of televisions. There's a decent live band; a deafening fan 'scream-off' (I still can't hear properly); a Taylor Swift medley (unnecessary); and the obligatory 'bring the fans on-stage' moment.

You have to admire the quartet's maturity when they discuss fatherhood (eldest member JJ became a dad before Christmas) and sexuality (openly gay member Jaymi announces he's to marry his boyfriend this year).

Now, all they need to do is abandon that bit where they ask their fans to make random animal noises and we're flying. A chart-topping second album might help, too.

Best of luck. HHHII


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