Belfast-bound Little Mix say Get Weird World tour 'is huge for us'
IT’S hard to believe it’s just five years since Little Mix became the first group to win the X Factor.
The foursome, who were put together by Tulisa Contastavlos on the singing show, have dominated the charts, been nominated for a Brit Award and even cracked America.
The Get Weird World tour is sure to complete the girls’ transformation from reality star winners into fully-fledged pop stars.
As Jesy Nelson, 24, Jade Thirlwall, 23, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, 24, and Perrie Edwards, 22, prepare to bring their own unique brand of weirdness to Belfast’s SSE arena this week, Sunday Life caught up with them.
From the moment you meet them, they make you feel like one of their gang. It’s clear the four of them really care about each other with Jesy bringing Perrie and Leigh-Anne cookies when they get hungry after a long day of interviews.
Their unbreakable bond is clearly the key to their success. Where their predecessors, Girls Aloud, All Saints and the Spice Girls have all unravelled due to in band fighting and rivalries, Little Mix remain united as a foursome.
During the opening night of the tour in Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena, Leigh-Anne gave an emotional speech to the other girls declaring: “Thank you for supporting me through all my diva moments and sharing the stage with me. You are my three best friends and I love you.”
Speaking to Sunday Life, she explained why she decided to pay tribute to them, saying: “It felt amazing to be on the stage with your best friends.
“The journey we had is just insane. This is the biggest UK arena tour this year and it’s just huge for us. It’s the biggest one for a girl band in a decade.”
While their friendship might be unbreakable, their bodies are not and Jesy Nelson has already sprained her wrist during the rigorous set and she’s not the only one. Leigh-Ann was nearly involved in a terrifying accident when one of the pyrotechnics went off.
She said: “I think the fire is too close to me. The first time the fire came up I couldn’t do the routine because I was so scared.
“Pyros scare me and there’s a big bang after and it blinds you. When it banged after singing, I actually thought my eyelash had singed because it felt all hot and sticky. It was horrible.”
And even before the tour started, Perrie was hurt when the boiler in her flat blew up.
“The boiler literally exploded and set my arm on fire,” she said.
“It singed my eyelashes and I burnt my hand, it’s scarred a bit. It was just so lucky I didn’t burn my face. It ruined my favourite pyjamas but I’m just glad it wasn’t any worse.”
Only Jade has managed to remain unscathed, but regardless of what injuries they sustain, they always remember that the show must go on.
Leigh-Anne said: “Before the show, we have a huddle with all our dancers and we say: ‘If it goes wrong, it goes wrong’. We are all there to smash it up as much as we can.”
While nothing major has gone wrong so far, the girls have had to deal with criticism about their raunchy outfits, which include S&M latex catsuits, nude bodysuits with only diamantes covering their dignity, as well as bras and hot pants.
Leigh-Ann insists the outfits are more about empowerment than titillation.
She said: “At the moment, we all feel confident in ourselves, we feel confident in our bodies and it’s not about being overly sexy, but it’s showing off your assets.”
Perrie backs her up: “The way I see it, when I see Leigh in a bikini on holiday, I look at her and think you’ve got one of the most insane figures - ‘you rock that on the beach, because I would’.
“Girls should be like that. We need to encourage each other and if you don’t want to have your body out then you don’t have to. It’s about being comfortable and confident.
“I never used to want to get my figure out but now I’m like ‘Yes here it is.’
“We wear what we feel comfortable in. We’re not overly sexy in what we do anyway. We would always want to go for sexy/cute. We would never want to be scandalous. I think we’ve got the right kind of balance.”
Out of the four girls, Jesy has had to deal with the most criticism about her appearance.
She said: “When you’ve not grown up in the industry, it’s hard to be dropped into it and having all these people being able to judge you and - I’m not gonna lie - we’ve struggled.
“We are so lucky we are able to support each other. At the end of the day people saying negative stuff don’t have a life and are just jealous.”
There’s no doubting their sisterly love and it seems like they are bringing girl power to a whole new generation – they even have given a nod to the Spice Girls, during their set with a rendition of Wannabe.
Perrie explains: “We love all those girl bands and we are just very lucky to be doing what we are doing.”
The girls also comfort each other through highs and lows in their personal life.
When heartbroken Perrie broke down in tears on stage in New York last August, weeks after her fiance, Zayn Malik ended their relationship, the girls rallied to her side.
The other three are all loved up, Jade has recently started dating The Struts’ band member Jed Elliott, 24, while Jesy is engaged to Jake Roche, 23, from boyband Rixton. Leigh-Anne is in a long-term relationship with footballer Jordan Kiffin, 26.
Any talk of Perrie’s relationship with the One Direction star is banned but any chance of Perrie finding herself a nice Belfast lad while in the city seems unlikely - as her focus is on work not partying.
She added: “We don’t want to let anyone down but we are young girls who want to go out and party but we still need to be able to put on a good show as well.”
Little Mix play the SSE Arena in Belfast on Thursday March 31 and Tuesday April 19. Tickets available from the box office and Ticketmaster.