On Sunday night on the fourth floor of the Irving Convention Center, about 300 tween to early-teen girls stood, eyes buried in their cellphones, anxiously awaiting their favorite social media stars. You know, the ones they've seen on Youtube. Think #AlexfromTarget and the like.
It's the new era of fame. You don't need radio or TV, or even an agent to get you thousands and millions of adoring fans. All you really need is some sort of talent, a social media platform to display it, and of course, a face 12-year-old girls will fawn over. The event that served as the bridge between the social media stars and their fans was MAGCON, a sort of variety show/meet-and-greet that features these Internet celebrities.
And yes, while there were quite a few teenage girls -- old enough to be there without supervision, yet still too young to drive there themselves, causing the drop-off lane to be packed -- this was not Beatlemania or anywhere near it. Before everyone was let into the show, the girls (no teenaged boy in sight) were hooked to their phones -- the thing that led them to these stars in the first place. And when one of the stars emerged to walk through the waiting crowd, they screamed and snatched pictures and videos, but did not attack or attempt to rip off any clothing. In fact, a security guard led the guys through the crowd -- a guy three teenaged girls could have easily taken down.
These stars use platforms ranging from Vine to Twitter to Instagram. Lancifer -- an electro-pop musician -- emceed the show. He was a complete ham, with lines like "It's hot in here. Are y'all hot? Of course y'all are. I'm looking right at you" and he also performed his own music. Other acts like Fly Away Hero and Reed Deming also got their chance to play.
Deming was actually the one redeeming factor of the show. An X-Factor alumnus, he might actually have a successful career in music one day. With parents and chaperones sitting in chairs along the back wall, wondering what they did to deserve the torture of a social media variety show, 15-year-old Deming performed both original and cover songs and he sounded good.
As far as the other Internet sensations go, who are known for pranks on grandma (Lance210 with 4 million Vine followers), inspirational tweets (Morgan Santurri with 323K Twitter followers) or hot Instagram pictures (Blake Perry with 288K Instagram followers), they didn't do much in the variety show except answer a few questions from the audience -- a segment that summed up the entire night. Questions from fans ranged from "Can we be best friends" to "Can I have your babies" -- that last one left the parents feeling uneasy. Then all of the guys took off their shirts and danced around, while the girls in the audience lost their minds.
Once the show ended, the attendees filed out of the ballroom to begin lining up to meet their social media heroes, talk with them, get an autograph and snap selfies, so all of their middle schooler friends would know what they did on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.