We talked to Aston, Ortise, JB and Marvin about what makes the perfect Christmas as they prepare for A Very JLS Christmas on Sky1HD on Saturday, December 22 at 6pm... This Christmas Special sounds exciting. What have you got planned? Marvin: "We wanted to put together the biggest, most magical Christmas event ever, so we invited 400 of our fans from around the world to party with us in this winter wonderland. Choosing which fans would come wasn't easy because obviously it’s only a handful of our following. Our friends and family came as well, so everyone stayed over with us in teepees and we were giving out presents, doing loads of Christmassy stuff, before we put on a massive show. It was an amazing couple of days. "There were fans from Romania, Canada, Japan, all over the world. We also went to different locations to give them the invites. For example we went to see a girl who was a massive JLS fan, who lives in Preston and lost her father this year. When we knocked on her door she completely lost her mind. We spent the evening with her in her house, gave her the invite and she came along with her family and friends. We did that for loads of people and hopefully we made this Christmas extra special for a lot of people." Where was this magical location? Aston: "It's top secret!" How did you choose the 400 fans? JB: "It wasn't easy, but there are some of our fans who have unusual circumstances or have been through tough times and have shown their dedication in many different ways. We've got some fans we invited who literally came to every date on tour and spent thousands of pounds to follow us around the country. "Sometimes they've met us and sometimes they haven't, but there are plenty we’ve invited who've never met us. It's not just the fans that we see all the time or the ones who are most vocal on Twitter or Facebook who are our most dedicated, so it was difficult to make the decision, but we made an effort to invite people who were deserving - not that other fans aren't deserving! - but people that we wanted to surprise and thank for their dedication." It sounds like a nice return to the old school Christmas specials... Ortise: "It's something like that, but it's a lot bigger. We wanted to do something for Christmas that's never been done before so rather than copy old formulas we decided to bring our own individuality to the process. "Also, we were all instrumental in creating the show and all the events, we had clear ideas about what we wanted to do. We know our friends, family and fans better than anybody, so it was important that we had a big say in everything, from where it all took place to how the stage should look, what kind of songs and collaborations we wanted to do, what kind of presents we wanted to give out. The planning took a lot of time, but the result was worth it." What's your favourite thing about Christmas? Marvin: "It's just sense of family and love. We're very fortunate, we've had a great five years and our Christmases have been extra special because you celebrate the year don't you? We haven't been able to spend a lot of time with our families over the last couple of years so it's just a good chance to do that without the phone ringing all the time. You can just switch off and it takes you back to when you were younger." What's the best present you got for Christmas when you were a kid? JB: "Probably my Thundercats sword. I remember that present very well, I was sad when I had to give it up." Aston: "One year I got this awesome Star Wars kit. I’ve still got it – I’m never giving that up!" JB: "I also got a Mr Men set. You can't buy them as a collection any more!" Do you do a JLS Secret Santa every year? Martin: "Yes we do, but something went wrong last year didn’t it Ortise? He forgot to buy his secret santa present, so JB didn’t get one!" Ortise: "I didn't forget!" Marvin: "Anyway, we all had our presents and JB was like 'Where's mine?' and Ortise just said 'Sorry JB I forgot your present I'll have to get it in the New Year'." JB: "It was quite a way into the new year before I got it, but it was just as well!" Do you have any Christmas traditions in your family? Aston: "I love meeting up with old school friends on Christmas Eve. People that I've known since I was 5 or 6. You know that everyone's off, no matter what they're up to. Whether they're at university or working abroad. Everyone's there for Christmas Eve." JB: "I like driving down Oxford Street to see the lights at some point over Christmas. They’re so good this year. My mum used to work in Harley Street and I used to go and pick her up with my dad and my brother and go via Oxford Street. It was awesome." Marvin: "I used to love going to Hamley's. It reminds me of Home Alone 2. Now I have nieces and nephews, I have an excuse to go in there again which is great. I must have looked very strange wandering around there a few years ago!" Ortise: "My brothers and sisters always put on a performance, doing a Jacksons or Boys II Men song. They’re doing one this year I think. I’ll probably have to save them when they forget the words!" Can you tell us what songs you'll be performing in your Christmas show? Aston: "All will be revealed! But it's going to be all the hits, some stuff from our new album and some special Christmas surprises." Have you thought about doing a Christmas album? Marvin: "Someone suggested it yesterday and it's something we might think about in the future. Michael Buble's Christmas album is back in the charts again, so it's something that people seem to love." You guys are going husky racing on the show. Who won? Aston: I can't tell you who won, but I can tell you that it was much scarier than I thought it would be. Those dogs were huge!" JB: "Husky racing was funny man, I don't think we realised how intense it was going to be and how fast they were going to go. Those huskys aren't small I tell you! It takes a while to get the hang of it." Have you been watching this year's X Factor? Ortise: "Yeah it's amazing. Another year of great talent discovered. It's the show that allows everyday people to have a shot at the big time. There are some amazing artists on this year and it's the only UK Show that produces solid artists with solid careers." One Direction have followed in your footsteps after the show, are you guys good friends? Marvin: "We first met the boys when they were on the show and we went back and performed Love You More. They’ve always looked up to us in a way because we had two years on them in the industry, but they're great lads and they've been very successful. In the summer we did a golf day together with them and Olly Murs. Aston went out partying with Harry that night. We have the same management company so we get on well." What's the best piece of advice that you've been given about surviving in the industry? JB "Just enjoy it! A lot of artists before us have said that they wished they'd lived in the moment a lot more, so we try to have fun as every day." Who do you guys look up to? Ortise: "Collectively I'd say Michael Jackson. He was a great artist and a great humanitarian. But we've all got different inspirations from far and wide." Marvin: "I look up to Gary Barlow a lot, I think he's going to be the Sir Elton John of our generation. He's a great writer and a great artist – a real music person. You look at his career and what he's achieved and it's amazing." Who would you most like to collaborate with? Marvin: "Apart from Gary? Rhianna, Jay-Z, Justine Timberlake. Loads of people..." Aston’s one of the judges on this year’s Got To Dance. Are you guys looking forward to watching him on the series? Ortise: "We can't wait to see Aston being a judge in his little seat!" JB: "He started off by putting loads of people through, but on the day I went down to the studio, there were little girls dancing their hearts out and he was giving them Red Stars! I take my hat off to him though because it must be the hardest thing to do. In X Factor they're 16 so it's not too bad, but to tell a little girl or boy No? That's hard." How have you found Got To Dance Aston? Aston: "Auditions are hard for everyone. From the age of 12, when I was doing my first audition ever, until now, you still get nervous, no matter how old or experienced you are. So for me being on the other side of the panel, I was nervous to audition people because it's a lot of responsibility. From that person's point of view, this is their whole dream and their 90 seconds of show time." Have you been surprised by the amount of talent? Aston: "This year is the best year yet. It's beyond all the other series I can safely say."
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