Aston, Marvin, JB and Oritsé recreate their audition photo and reflect on backflips, friendships, reuniting and turkey farming
Finalists on 2008’s X Factor, JLS – short for Jack the Lad Swing – are one of the show’s most successful acts. Celebrated for their R&B-infused pop and slick dance routines, the band reached No 1 with their first single, Beat Again, while their debut album won multiple Brit and Mobo awards, and went quadruple platinum. They released three more albums and a condom range, before splitting in 2013. Oritsé Williams and Aston Merrygold went on to pursue solo careers in music, Marvin Humes is thriving as a TV and radio host, while JB Gill pivoted to turkey farming in Kent. Their new album, JLS 2.0, came out on 3 December, and they complete their comeback tour on 12 December at Capital’s Jingle Bell Ball at London’s O2.
It was Marvin’s idea to wear pastel polo shirts. We vibed it out in shorts, Converse and pulled-up socks. That first X Factor audition opened a lot of doors for JLS, fashion-wise, as it was quite forward-thinking at the time. The same thing happened later down the line with the deep V T-shirts. We were always happy to set boyband trends.