JLS (an abbreviation of Jack the Lad Swing) are an English boyband, who were runners-up in the fifth series of ITV reality talent show The X Factor in 2008, coming second to Alexandra Burke. The group consists of Aston Merrygold, Marvin Humes, Jonathan "JB" Gill, and Oritsé Williams.
Following their success on The X Factor, JLS signed to Epic Records, and were given a support slot on Lemar's 2009 Spring tour. Their debut single "Beat Again" was released in the UK on 13 July 2009, and went to number-one in the UK Singles Chart on 19 July 2009, selling over 100,000 copies in its first week of release. JLS are only the second non-winning act of The X Factor to achieve a number-one single, after second series contestant Chico Slimani. The band have confirmed that their second single will be "Everybody in Love", and will be released on 2 November 2009, followed by their eponymous debut album one week later.
Before entering The X Factor in 2008, JLS performed at the Showcase:LIVE in October 2007 and June 2008 under the name of UFO (Unique Famous Outrageous).
Humes was formerly in R&B group VS set up by Simon Webbe in 2004. After the group were dropped he moved on to property sales before he was asked by Williams to join JLS. On 20 January 2009 it was announced that JLS had signed a record contract with Epic Records. Their first single "Beat Again" charted at number one on the UK Singles Chart on 19 July 2009 and remained number one the following week before being knocked off by the Black Eyed Peas.
JLS auditioned for the fifth series of The X Factor in 2008. Following the elimination of vocal groups Bad Lashes and Girlband in weeks one and two respectively, JLS were Louis Walsh's last remaining act in the competition. In week 7 JLS were in the bottom two along with Rachel Hylton. However, they survived thanks to votes from Louis Walsh, Cheryl Cole and Simon Cowell. Cowell stated when casting his deciding vote that JLS did not deserve to be in the bottom two. In week 8 JLS performed "...Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears. They received negative comments from the two of the four judges, with Simon Cowell saying "at the moment you're out". After their second performance, however, Cowell commented that they were "back in the race" and that they could "have a hit record" with that performance.
In week nine, JLS performed the second Rihanna song of the evening "Umbrella" (the first being Alexandra Burke's performance of "Don't Stop the Music"). Their second song was "I'm Already There" by Lonestar. When it was Cowell's turn to give his comments he said "I'm gonna make a prediction, you could actually win this competition". JLS gained the most votes in the semi-finals.
JLS made it to the final, after surviving the first public vote of the night in which Eoghan Quigg was voted off. They performed their own version of the winner's song, "Hallelujah", which the other finalist Alexandra Burke also performed. The public voted for the second time that night and Burke won the competition, JLS coming second. They were the fourth band to make the final (the others being G4, who came second in the first series, Journey South who came third in the second series and Same Difference who came third in the fourth series).
Following JLS's success on the The X Factor, Simon Cowell's record company, Syco, announced that they were to sign JLS with an advance payment of £75,000. The Sun later reported that Cowell had revoked this offer and JLS were to be signed to Epic Records.
The band sang at the 2008 Cheerio's ChildLine Concert at the new o2 Dublin arena. Other performers included Enrique Iglesias, Shayne Ward and Boyzone.
JLS completed the The X Factor Live Tour, alongside fellow X Factor finalists Alexandra Burke, Eoghan Quigg, Diana Vickers, Ruth Lorenzo, Rachel Hylton, Daniel Evans and Laura White.
The band were special guests at The Summer Island Festival at Quex Park on 25 July 2009, along with N-Dubz and Pussycat Dolls, and on most of Lemar's 2009 spring tour. Lemar said, "I was really impressed with JLS's performances on The X Factor, and I’m thrilled that they’ve agreed to join me on my tour".
The band were also confirmed as a permoring act at Capital's summer-time ball. They have also appeared on many radio shows as well as working with MTV UK & Ireland where they presented a 'Holiday Takeover' picking their favourite music videos. On 24 May, 2009, they were part of Chelsea football clubs charity football match (called Soccer Six) where they played with Jeff Brazier, the host for the X-Factor tour.
On 19 July 2009 they sang at T4 on the Beach in front of 49,000 people. Other performers included Alesha Dixon, Dizzee Rascal, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Calvin Harris and The Saturdays . JLS's first single "Beat Again" debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart on 19 July 2009.
On 26 July 2009 they performed at Party in the Park, (Leeds). Other artists including Booty Luv, Jade Ewen, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Dizzee Rascal, Calvin Harris, N-Dubz, Tinchy Stryder, Alesha Dixon and Pixie Lott also performed at the event.
On 15 August 2009, JLS also performed at Rock in the Park Preston . Other artists such as Peter Andre, Tinchy Stryder and Taio Cruz also performed at the event.
Play.com have recently confirmed that the album is scheduled for release on 9 November 2009. there is currently no name for their album with JLS asking fans to send in suggestions for the title. The second single entitled "Everybody in Love" will be released on 1 November on digital download and a day later on 2 November on CD. JLS will perform a 15-date tour in 2010 after the release of their debut album.
On 15 September 2009, JLS performed at the Live Lounge on Radio 1.
JLS Joined comedian Alan Carr and Radio 2 on 4 September 2009 to switch-on the world famous Illuminations in Blackpool. The Illuminations will shine until 8 November 2009.
On 30 September 2009, JLS attended the MOBO awards in Glasgow and won 2 Awards - Best Newcomers beating fellow X-Factor rival Alexandra Burke and UK Eurovision star of the Sugababes Jade Ewen . They also won Best Song for Beat Again, beating competition from Tinchy Stryder (Number 1), N-Dubz (Strong Again) and Chipmunk (Diamond Rings) .
On 9 October 2009, the band appeared on the BBC One chat show Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, where they performed an acapella version of The Killers song Somebody Told Me.