Westlife

Westlife makes things right in China after 44 million live streams

Westlife landed another number one position – this time in China.

The band’s original hit, My Love, topped the charts 23 years after their first number one hit. The four-man band – Nicky Byrne, Shane Filan, Kian Egan and Mark Feehily – are gearing up for their two sold-out shows at Aviva Stadium next weekend before the Westlife juggernaut hit the road on a tour that will take them from the west of Ireland to the east of Asia.

Westlife’s manager, pop Svengali Louis Walsh, said the group has gained a large following in China.

“They did a show in China last week. They were in Dublin and they linked up with the Backstreet Boys who were in Los Angeles, and they broadcast live in China. Over 44 million people watched. It was amazing,” he said.

Westlife’s manager, pop Svengali Louis Walsh, said the group has gained a large following in China. Photography: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

During the online concert on Chinese app WeChat, the two groups collaborated on two songs.

Nostalgia was a big theme on the show, with many viewers reliving their youth in the comments.

“I almost cried when the music started; it took me back to my youthful days,” one person said.

Mr Walsh said that while the members of the boy band are now two decades older than when they started, their latest show, the Wild Dreams Tour, is nothing short of sensational.

“It’s an amazing show; everything from staging to choreography. I think it’s their best show yet,” he said.

Westlife China
Westlife formed in 1998 when Mayo’s musical director, Mr. Walsh, spotted potential in budding singers. Photography: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Westlife formed in 1998 when Mayo’s musical director, Mr. Walsh, spotted potential in budding singers.

After securing a lucrative deal with producer Simon Cowell, the then-fresh-faced quartet began their career as Westlife, becoming one of the most successful bands of all time with 14 number one hits.

Former member Bryan McFadden left the band in 2004, and they disbanded in 2012, after leaving Simon Cowell’s Syco Music label. They reunited in 2018 and released a new album, Spectrum.

Mr Walsh said he ‘couldn’t believe how good they all looked’ after all this time.

Westlife China
Photo: The X Factor US/Fox

He said: “I mean Westlife is over 20 years old now and they all still look and sound fantastic.”

“They really want this show to be really great, to be amazing. They will sing all their hits; all the songs that everybody knows and loves and rocks everybody,” he said.

“They’re the best pop show ever and I think the problem is that everything – every single, song, album – shows their commitment. They also have Sugababes and Soulé as supporting acts. They will bring the stadium,” Walsh added.

Ahead of the gig, Westlife’s Nicky Byrne struck up a friendly banter with Ronan Keating and Boyzone’s Keith Duffy online when he spotted a local cafe pitting Irish bands against each other.

The singer was enjoying a holiday when he spotted two tip jars side by side on a counter. One was labeled Boyzone, while the other was labeled Westlife.

The tip jars came with a note on top: “Choose wisely. Vote below.’

Sharing the fun moment on Instagram, the Dublin native said, “Interesting ‘tip jar’ in @coffeeworkseire today!” Nicky then tagged Boyzone’s Ronan Keating in the post.

Ronan replied: ‘Ahhh you have changed. I remember when BZ was your number one.