Big Time Rush’s Carlos PenaVega Says It Was “Really Hard” Having One Direction Open Their Tour

Carlos PenaVega is looking back at his first time touring nationally with Big Time Rush and admitted that it was actually “really hard” having fellow boy band One Direction as their opening act.

The singer-actor — who makes up one-fourth of the American pop group alongside Kendall Schmidt, James Maslow and Logan Henderson — recently opened up about his experience with the British boy band as their openers on the Better With U Tour in 2012.

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“After our show, fans were outside the theater chanting for One Direction,” PenaVega recalled on the Unplanned podcast. “That was really hard for us.”

He noted that Big Time Rush’s North American tour was revealed in the fall of 2011, well before One Direction was added. However, at some point between the tour announcement and them actually hitting the stage, the British group featuring Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson catapulted in global popularity.

“Our tour was sold out before they got on. So, they were there to see us,” PenaVega explained. “But it was like The Beatles. It was like a freak of nature. They wanted these five, cute British boys.”

The Nickelodeon alum said One Direction tried to return the favor by asking them to be their opener in the U.K., but he admitted that “our egos got in the way. We were like, ‘No. Never.'”

“Probably should have done it,” PenaVega added. “We were kids. I was like 22. It’s hard to control your ego at that age.”

Big Time Rush’s Better With U Tour followed the release of their second studio album, 2011’s Elevate. It was also the group’s first time touring across the U.S. and Canada. The tour also marked One Direction’s first concerts in the U.S., as they had only previously played live in the U.K. and Ireland. Shortly after, they brought their headlining Up All Night Tour to North America.

While One Direction ultimately went on hiatus in 2016 — and have yet to return to the stage together — Big Time Rush reunited in 2021 for a string of shows and released their fourth studio album, Another Life, in 2023.

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