The British boy band have found popularity in the US and are among the favourites to win at next Thursday's MTV awards.
Part of The Wanted's excitement over their recent success in the US comes from being initially dissed in their native UK.
"Some radio stations in the UK who found out we were a 'boy band' refused to play our music," says Nathan Sykes, one of the band members. "They were like, 'We love the song, but we can't play boy bands because we'll lose our credibility'." Max George adds, "These are like the most uncool people in the world."
Being a boy band has somewhat haunted the UK-based quintet since their formation in 2009. People in the industry have tried to put the group in a box; at one point, they were even told they'd need to learn how to dance. "We were like, 'No! No chance!'" Sykes recalls. "And then we moved record labels very shortly afterwards."
But coming to the US - and achieving some success - is a dream come true for the group. After releasing two top-five albums and five hit singles in Europe, they've now duplicated some of that in the US with their party jam Glad You Came, which has spent eight weeks in the top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100chart. Their US manager is Scooter Braun, who also manages Justin Bieber.
"In the US, before they even questioned who we were, they were like, 'We like the song. Let's play it'," says Jay McGuiness. "And that changed things for us."
The song has peaked at third place on the charts and is the first single from the band's self-titled US debut EP, which features songwriting and production work by Diane Warren, Ryan Tedder, Claude Kelly, Steve Mac and Wayne Hector. And they almost recorded a song written by Adam Levine.
"It's difficult with someone like him, though," George says. "How are we going to record that and make it sound better?"
The Wanted are on the scene when boy bands have made an official comeback, with their fellow British group One Direction leading the pack. At the MTV Video Music Awards next Thursday, they will face off with One Direction for the Best New Artist award.
But The Wanted - whose youngest member is 18 and the oldest is 23 - says the group isn't a typical boy band, mainly because they actually play instruments: George is on bass, McGuiness plays the drums, Sykes has the piano and Tom Parker and Siva Kaneswaran play the guitar.
Still, they don't reject the label, despite some of the early predicaments it caused.
"I was nearly ill at the thought of being in a boy band," Sykes admits. "But then we sat down, had a meeting and we were like, 'No, this is how we want to do it differently. We want to have a new take on boy bands'."
"We love all our fans, but it isn't specially aimed at boy-band fans," says McGuiness. "Our music crosses over to everyone, and we really try not to cheese people out too much."