Union J (the boy band that came in fourth place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2012) ate worms, scorpions, crickets and eels to raise money for Comic Relief's Red Nose Day. Red Nose Day is an annual fundraising event that takes place this year on March 15, 2013. The guys in Union J ate the dead critters as part of a dare from singer Jessie J. (Union J and Jessie J are both managed by Crown Talent & Media Group.)
In a series of videos posted online by Red Nose Day, the members of Union J (George Shelley, Jaymi Hensley, Josh Cuthbert and Jamie "JJ" Hamblett) are seen recoiling in disgust and grimacing at eating the undesirable critters. At times, it looked like Union J was in an episode of "Fear Factor," not "The X Factor."
In the first video, Union started off with with a relatively easy task: eating a plate of pickled eggs. While Hamblett had no problem eating the eggs, the other members of the group coughed, gagged or spit out the eggs.
Cuthbert exclaimed, "This is actually disgusting!" Hensley commented, "It tastes like feet!" Cuthbert added, "It tastes like poo!" Shelley winced, "This is gross." Hamblett said as he kept eating, "Does anyone know if these are fresh eggs?
When it came to eating the insects, Hensley screamed in horror after swallowing a worm, and Shelley hesitantly ate a scorpion. Before Hamblett ate a cricket, Cuthbert quipped, "It tastes like a scab that you pick off your arm!" Hamblett added, "It smells like barbecue." After Hamblett ate a cricket, he jumped back and shouted fearfully.
Shelley then fed Hamblett a spoonful of crickets, worms and scorpions. Hamblett nearly gagged after he swallowed and then frantically reached for a drink to get rid of the taste.
At the end of the video, a disclaimer message said, "These insects were dead and edible. Only eat insects specially designed for human consumption."
Before delving into plateful of jellied eels, Cuthbert said, "I love charity. I love Red Nose Day, but that is just horrific!" He then joked when he looked at the eels: "Is that rice pudding? Because I love rice pudding." Shelley added, "It smells like cat food."
The band mates frequently laughed at each other while they digested the undesirable edibles.
Union J's first album for Sony Music's RCA Records is being planned for a U.K. release sometime in 2013 on a date to be announced
Union J isn't the only "X Factor" U.K. boy band to participate in Red Nose Day fundraising. As previously reported, One Direction (third place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2010) did a Red Nose Day charity single titled "One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)" that has become a worldwide smash. The song was released worldwide in mid-February 2013, debuted at No. 1 on iTunes in several countries, and became a Top 10 hit on many countries' official singles charts.
The song is a remake mash-up of Blondie's "One Way or Another" and the Undertones' "Teenage Kicks." According to Comic Relief, One Direction's "One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)" is the biggest-selling Comic Relief/Red Nose Day single so far. One Direction also visited Ghana in January 2013 to raise awareness and funds to help alleviate poverty in Africa.