This week we see a world divided. No, not between Obama and Romney. Justin Bieber and One Direction are not only both scheduled to perform at the MTV Video Music Awards, they're up against each other for Most Share-Worthy Video, a neck-and-neck competition that has garnered 52 million votes cast thus far.
Fans are being forced to make a choice. Will they rally around pop's golden boy, or get behind the new Fab Five? Will the Beliebers prevail, or will it come to a dance-off? Realistically, they both win because the genre's big enough for everybody -- you can have your "Boyfriend" and "What Makes You Beautiful," too.
And for all the haters, if having liked boy bands is wrong, I don't want to be right.
Let's face it: pop music is great. Pop music gets you through angst and through hormones and through all of those terrible factors that define "turbulent teens," but pop music by boy bands does a little bit more.
My personal experiences have shown that Nick Carter singing "I Need You Tonight" will nurse you through heartbreak after grade eight graduation, and *NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye" will allow for countless debates on whether J.C. is really driving that car. "Mmmbop" teaches the merits of instruments, while learning the steps to "Backstreet's Back" will unify teens in even the most tumultuous school dance settings.
According to my own experiences, like I said.
Like every other pre-teen in the world (except that one pre-teen we all knew), I wasn't a cool kid. And instead of facing that antisocial reality (whatever, I had Titanic), I chose to focus on a world built on croons, promises and Kevin Federline beginning most songs with, "Baby...I know you're hurting..."
How did he know?!? Probably because the boy band formula is as tried-and-true as the magic of Davy Jones showing up to Marcia Brady's school dance. Girl plus boy band equals the stuff of dreams. And since ages between 11 and 18-ish are ripe for self-esteem plummeting, you -- as a North American girl named Anne Donahue -- choose to follow in the footsteps of millions other girls who pledge allegiance to The Beatles, The Monkees, New Kids On The Block, Hanson, Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, One Direction and The Wanted because these guys probably won't hurt you (and will lead you in song).
And what's wrong with that? Absolutely nothing. We sit around as adults slamming the up-and-commence of today's biggest boy bands, but that's only because we forget -- intentionally or not -- how much our versions of the same meant to us.
Obviously I say this from a standpoint of someone who once clung to boy bands like my own personal Jack Dawson, but according to the millions of dollars in album, ticket and paraphernalia sales, I'm not alone. To some, boy bands are first crushes, modern-day poets, prophets and whatever else prompts young ladies (and gents) to write the name "Justin" on his or her faces. And I say let them. Let them have Justin and Joey and Harry and that guy who's got really great blonde hair, because growing up is crappy enough.
Why would we want to make someone endure it without being able to scream-sing to "What Make You Beautiful" if they really want to?
Follow Anne T. Donahue on Twitter: www.twitter.com/annetdonahue