Headliners at Usana Amphitheatre this summer include many household names, such as Iron Maiden, Sugarland and Journey.
But there’s one name that came as a surprise, especially in childless households: Big Time Rush.
According to kids hanging out at The Gateway food court, Big Time Rush is a quartet of good-looking boys who star in the Nickelodeon TV series of the same name.
In 2010, the show’s debut episode earned nearly 7 million viewers, making it Nickelodeon’s highest-rated live-action series debut ever. The show is now in its third season.
The series portrays the hijinks that ensure when four hockey players (all with a complete set of teeth and remarkably free from scars) from Minnesota — Kendall, James, Carlos and Logan — are selected to form a boy band. The band released its debut album, “BTR,” in 2010, and it reached No. 3 on the Billboard albums chart.
OK. That’s who they are.
Logan Henderson, 22, plays Logan Mitchell on the show. He grew up in Texas before landing a small part as a bully on “Friday Night Lights.” At age 18, he moved to California to pursue a career in show business. In a phone interview, Henderson said that when Big Time Rush performs onstage, he will be himself — not the character he plays on TV. “Onstage is the normal Logan,” he said. “You get to see the real Logan Henderson.”
Of course, there are similarities between Logan Henderson and Logan Mitchell, besides the fact that they look exactly the same. They share the same sense of humor, Henderson said.
But that’s where the congruence ends. “[Logan Mitchell] is a big thinker,” Henderson said. “He is the brains of the group. I was never a brainiac in school.”
Henderson has been to Utah before, during the 2002 Winter Olympics, when he enjoyed snowboarding on a visit with this family.
Opening for Big Time Rush is another Nickeolodeon star, Rachel Crow. Although she didn’t win the first season of “The X-Factor,” fans of the show will most likely recognize her for her bubbly, beguiling personality. The contestants who finished ahead of her – Melanie Amaro, Josh Krajcik and Chris Rene — haven’t been seen much since.
In a phone interview, the pint-sized, big-voiced singer said that right after she got booted from the televised singing competition, executives started calling her. “I was super excited and freaked out.”
Crow signed with Columbia Records and got a TV deal with Nickelodeon for her own TV show, to be aired later this year. In the meantime, she guest-starred on Nickelodeon series “Fred: The Show” and “Figure It Out,” and has already released an EP. The lead single was “Mean Girls,” which the 14-year-old co-wrote.
“It was my idea,” Crow said of the song. “They asked me about my life experiences. There were mean girls at school. I was bullied. Everyone deals with mean girls.”
Besides appearing on Nickelodeon, Crow was invited to sing the national anthem at President Barack Obama’s Easter Egg Roll at the White House in April. She was so excited to be in the presence of the president, she ran up and hugged him. “I was afraid I would get shot by snipers,” she said.
Another opener for Big Time Rush is up-and-coming singing star Cody Simpson, 15, whose debut album, “Paradise,” will be released in October. Simpson grew up in Australia and gained fame on YouTube, where his high tenor on songs by Jason Mraz and Justin Timberlake attracted millions of page views all over the globe. Now residing in Los Angeles, Simpson said in a Tribune interview that he likes to counter Americans’ misconceptions of Aussies.
“We don’t ride kangaroos to school,” he said. “We don’t have koalas as pets.”
Simpson has ascended the star ladder pretty quickly, having been romantically liked to Kim Kardashian’s younger sister Kylie Jenner and recently signed with Scooter Braun, who manages Justin Bieber. Bieber’s career is something Simpson aspires to, with Braun’s consistent golden touch (shown recently by one of his talents, Carly Rae Jepsen). “Scooter’s a great guy,” Simpson said. “He’s definitely wise. He’s been a great support. [But] as an artist, I want to establish my own image and sound.”
Big Time Rush with Cody Simpson and Rachel Crow
When • Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Where • Usana Amphitheatre, 5150 S. 6055 West, West Valley City
Tickets • $29.50-$65 at SmithsTix