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Class of 2018: Are these the pop icons of the future?

By Alim Kheraj, 24 September 2018

Radio 1's Teen Awards 2018 take place on 21 October at Wembley's SSE Arena in London, with some of pop's biggest acts performing live and battling it out for awards on the day.

The Teen Awards celebrate the best in music, TV, film, gaming and more; but they're also about the stars of the future.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the biggest artists on the night, both performing live as well as those nominated, while getting out our crystal ball and picking some stars that could be ruling the Teen Awards in years to come.

BBC Radio 1's Teen Awards, 2018 - Ticket Information

The next big girl group

After their epic 2016 performance, Little Mix return to the Teen Awards for 2018, hoping they take home the Best British Group award on the night. They'll be performing live too, showing us just why they're so brilliant!

What's more, Jade, Perrie, Jesy and Leigh-Anne have started to tease music from their upcoming fifth album, so could they even perform a new song live at the Teen Awards? We can only hope!

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We all know that Little Mix are pretty much the biggest girl group around, but who could be the next big thing?

Former X Factor contestants Four of Diamonds, whose debut video was shot in a chicken shop, are definite contenders, as are South Korea's BlackPink. The latter's music blends hip hop, pop and EDM to create a sound that's completely unique and utterly irresistible. With support from Radio 1's own Niki and Sammy, the group made history this year by becoming the first female K-pop group to ever enter the UK's Official Singles Chart. The future is definitely bright for BlackPink.

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Big boy band of the future

Speaking of K-pop, arguably the biggest boy band in the world right now is BTS. Having become the first South Korean act to dominate the charts in both the UK and US, the seven-piece pop powerhouse are pretty much a cultural phenomenon - as are their fanatical following, the self-named BTS Army, a fandom that rivals even the likes of Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber in size.

BTS Exclusive Interview #BTSonBBCR1

Adele Roberts is in South Korea to meet biggest band on the K-pop scene, BTS.

Thanks to their huge songs, enviable dance routines and collaborations with the likes of Nicki Minaj (on their Idol remix), 2018 has seen BTS reach stratospheric levels.

But who are some of their most promising predecessors emerging? Alongside The Vamps protégés New Hope Club and the Simon Cowell-approved PRETTYMUCH, there's Why Don't We, in many ways leading the pack.

Each of the group's five members - Daniel Seavey, Jack Avery, Corbyn Besson, Zach Herron, and Jonah Marais - began their musical careers on YouTube as soloists before coming together to form Why Don't We, which is like a modern equivalent of One Direction, also formed by five solo performers.

There's a true sense of identity about the group, too. Our expectation of boy bands are changing and, likewise, there's nothing about Why Don't We that feels contrived, with the identities of each member distinct and shining when they sing. All you have to do is listen to Talk, their standout bop to date, to hear what we're talking about. With plays on Radio 1's Best New Pop and with their debut album just released, you can sense the growing hysteria building around this lot.

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Next big male solo artist

Anyone heading to Teen Awards will be familiar already with Liam Payne. All of the One Direction stars have enjoyed impressive solo careers since the band’s hiatus in 2017, and Liam is no exception. Each ex-1Der has gone in a different stylistic direction and Payne has wholeheartedly embraced the sonic worlds of pop, RnB and EDM. He isn't afraid to bust out the dance moves either, which should make his Teen Awards performance one to particularly look forward to.

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While Payne is dominating the charts and airwaves right now, who could follow in his footsteps in the future? Perhaps 24-year-old singer-songwriter Lauv, the newcomer behind I Like Me Better, the huge track he originally released in 2017 but which really started to grab attentions this summer.

If you've not heard Lauv yet, the Californian sounds a bit like if Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber decided to start writing songs together (which obviously sounds amazing); and his tunes are equally as emotive. Take his new number Superhero, inspired by random thoughts and feelings written down by his fans, which they left in a box at the merch stand during his recent tour. Clearly, Lauv already has this whole pop star thing nailed down; now he simply needs the bigger audience to match it.

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The next pop mavericks

The 1975 are among the most interesting acts in pop at the moment. In fact, they've kept us guessing for the past six months or so with their enigma-filled build-up to upcoming third album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, set to be released on 30 November. Matty and co have been playing around with the definitions and conventions of pop for a while now, proving that guitar bands can still dominate the zeitgeist, and we can't wait to see what they have in store for the Teen Awards, where they're worthily nominated for Best British Group. Maybe we'll even get a peek of Matty's new hairdo.

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If The 1975 are rewriting the rules of pop, then Brockhampton have completely ripped up the rulebook altogether. They proclaim themselves to be "best boy band since One Direction" (yes, quite the bold claim) and are led by the charismatic Kevin Abstract; blending pop and hip hop and blurring the parameters of both genres. Like many of their peers today, they’re totally altering what a boy band can be: they're self-produced, their lyrics tackle topics like sexuality and self-love and they can sound raw as anything. Their first few records have earned them legions of fans, with Radio 1's Scott Mills and Chris Stark being among their biggest supporters. But even more simply, just try listening to the opening of BOOGIE without wanting to do exactly what it says in the song title.

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BROCKHAMPTON and Jaden Smith in the studio

BROCKHAMPTON and Jaden Smith drop in to chat Reading, Pharrell and new music plans

Female pop star of the future

The past year in pop has truly belonged to Dua Lipa, and it's no wonder she's nominated for Best British Solo Artist. Her new rules have become gospel (seriously, don't pick up the phone) and with Calvin Harris collab One Kiss and, more recently, the infectious Electricity (with Mark Ronson and Diplo's new group Silk City), Dua isn't stopping with the bang

While Dua has proven herself to be the one, taking Lipa's lead are a whole bunch of other forward-thinking female stars, among them Rina Sawayama, whose take on 00s pop is brimming with intelligence and commentary about our digital society. Then there's Hayley Kiyoko, whose songs Curious and Kehlani collaboration What I Need flip the stereotypical narrative of girl-meets-boy, placing same-sex relationship front and centre. She's called the 'Lesbian Jesus' by her fans, and it's easy to see so many more worshipping at Kiyoko’s altar in years to come.

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Viral star of the future

The internet has taught us many things, like how we will grow tired of funny cat videos. But it's also been a prime place for budding singers to make it on their own and platforms like YouTube have given us some great pop stars over the years - from Justin Bieber to Shawn Mendes (who was discovered on the now-defunct Vine). The latest in this long line of acts coming through on viral stardom is HRVY, who first found fame after posting videos to Facebook. The Kent-born star's single Personal is one of the catchiest songs this year, and we definitely hope to hear it when he performs at the Teen Awards.

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Another YouTube sensation who looks set to make the leap from online fame to actual IRL stardom is fresh-faced Canadian teen Johnny Orlando. The 15-year-old started out by uploading covers of Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars and has since signed a record deal and garnered support from Radio 1's Adele Roberts. His recent duet What If, recorded with fellow social media star Mackenzie Ziegler, is assured beyond Orlando's years - catchy, emotional and filled with personality. He has quite the future ahead of him.

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The next EDM stars

Jonas Blue has spent the last couple of years steadily becoming one of dance music's newest superstars, notching up four Top 10 UK singles, including the 2016 smash hit Fast Car (a tropical house cover of the Tracy Chapman song featuring British singer Dakota). During August he wowed us in the Live Lounge with a stunning rendition of Rise (bringing Jack & Jack along), and you can guarantee that the Essex DJ will get everyone moving at the Teen Awards too.

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Just like Jonas Blue, Loud Luxury also have knack for making infectious hits with choruses you won't be able to get out of your head. The Canadian duo, made up of Andrew Fedyk and Joe Depace, scored a Top 5 single with their Brando-featuring summer jam Body, and don't be surprised if their next song is even bigger.

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Next Latin pop sensation

It's a great time for Latin pop, thanks to hits like Despacito and acts like J Balvin and Bad Bunny crossing over in the UK and US charts, and this is very much reflected at this year's Teen Awards, where the likes of Camila Cabello and Cardi B are both nominated for awards on the night (Cabello even treated us to an impeccable rendition of Havana at last year's event).

The Latin takeover shows no signs of slowing down either, with acts like Brazil's Anitta (who is conquering the South American market with her take on reggaetón, carioca, dance-pop and RnB) and Spain's ROSALÍA. The latter, who hails from Catalonia, is offering up a fresh, modern take on Flamenco that very much sounds like the past meeting the future. She's found a fan in Radio 1’s Annie Mac and has even been nominated for a Latin Grammy. World domination is surely next for both of these stars.

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Britain's next hip hop star

Not3s has been busy over the last two years, bringing Afro bashment into the mainstream and managing to have a hit named after a taxi company (Addison Lee). Performing at the Teen Awards, Not3s will be just a short cab ride from his home in Hackney, East London; and perhaps we'll even see him link up with Mabel, also set to appear on the night, having previously teamed up for Fine Line and My Lover. That would be a highlight for many, we're sure.

Not3s is one of many young stars spearheading an exciting time in UK hip hop. Like Not3s, Manchester-born IAMDDB featured on the BBC Sound of 2018 longlist and impressed earlier this summer at Reading + Leeds. The 21-year-old calls her sound "urban jazz", a melting pot of trap-like beats, ambient-like synths and straight-up soul. Her rhymes meander between singing and spoken word with a rare fluidity; and has seen her gain fans like Bryson Tiller and Jorja Smith. "I'm just a vessel to make people feel better," she recently said in a recent interview. "If my music can help somebody get through something, then my job's done." Job well and truly done.

IAMDDB is Hot For 2018

Get to know IAMDDB, the Mancunian singer-songwriter who is Hot For 2018.

BBC Radio 1's Teen Awards, 2018 - Ticket Information

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