Former teen heartthrobs James Maslow, Logan Henderson, Kendall Schmidt and Carlos PenaVega say they’re taking in every “pinch-me moment,” reconnecting with fans on the TODAY plaza after their stardom took off over a decade ago.
By Becca Wood
June 2, 2023

Polaroid of Kendall Schmidt making a 'shhh' hand motion, while Logan Henderson relaxes backstage before their performance for the Citi Concert Series on the TODAY show.

Big Time Rush is big-time back with a new album, and though it’s a return nearly a decade in the making, there’s one thing that’s been there all along: the fans.

James Maslow, 32, Logan Henderson, 33, Kendall Schmidt, 32, and Carlos PenaVega, 33, who make up the pop boy band that originated on Nickelodeon in 2009, are gearing up to take the stage before devoted fans lining Rockefeller Plaza, anxiously anticipating the second performance in TODAY’s Citi Concert Series. Temperatures are expected to reach record highs in New York City on this Friday after Memorial Day, but that hasn’t stopped their loyal base from jamming out in the heat. 

As the clock strikes 6:30 a.m., the four bandmates burst through the revolving doors to the plaza and are met with screaming – and some crying – people in the crowd. Just when I thought the high-pitched screeches couldn’t get louder, the band breaks into the initial chords of their 2010 track “Worldwide.” It’s only soundcheck, but the group already has boundless energy, breaking into full choreography and gracing the catwalk to interact with fans.

Big Time Rush energizes the crowd on the 30 Rock plaza during their Citi Concert Series performance on the TODAY show.

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Looking around, I see one young woman standing beside the stage with tears streaming down her face as she listens to the band. Her friend, smiling, gives her a hug as they both begin to laugh and cry. 

In the back, more colorful signs are held high, showing just how committed these fans are to Big Time Rush.  

One reads, “We skipped graduation for this,” while the neighboring poster declares, “We love you more than our diplomas.” Another says, “Hey BTR, I am looking for a boyfriend!” referring to the title of one of the songs they later play on TODAY, along with “Waves” and a mashup of “Paralyzed” and “‘Til I Forget About You.” 

When TODAY’s Craig Melvin approaches the two women who say they missed their graduation from a Long Island high school to attend the concert, he asks, “Was it worth it?” Without hesitation, one responds, “Absolutely.”

When Big Time Rush returns to the plaza for their 30-minute performance, the group is decked out in a myriad of colorful shirts. Carlos is in bright pink, while Kendall dons green, James wears blue and Logan sports red. The energy is electric as the screaming and crying crowd sings along to every word. As the four head down the catwalk, now on live television, fans are reaching for their arms and throwing cell phones in the air to capture every moment. 

The fandom’s devotion isn’t lost on James, Logan, Kendall and Carlos, either. They seem to light up when hugging fans, constantly holding out their microphones for people to sing along and giving away memorable items, like the sunglasses on their heads. “We have these pinch-me moments all the time,” Logan says later in an interview on the 3rd Hour of TODAY.

Polaroid showcasing the members of Big Time Rush inside Studio 1A as they gear up to ignite the stage for the Citi Concert Series on the TODAY show.
Polaroid featuring James Maslow in the green room, preparing to deliver a performance for the Citi Concert Series on the TODAY show.
Polaroid capturing Big Time Rush's performance at the Citi Concert Series on the TODAY Show.
Big Time Rush joins the entire crowd in an unforgettable picture on the 30 Rock plaza during their Citi Concert Series performance on the TODAY show.

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

When their set wraps, the band is quickly rushed up the stairs of Studio 1A, where they’ll tape another video interview. Despite the commotion, all four band members keep morale high among one another, their team and each one of us standing around on set. Having fun with the questions, they joke about how much they’ve changed since their careers began as teens. They tease Kendall about losing his hair and give each other a hard time about who spends the most, and least, time in the gym.

In true Big Time Rush fashion, their last moments inside 30 Rockefeller Center were focused on the fans. It happens to be National Donut Day, so James, Logan, Kendall and Carlos pass out dozens of frosted treats to the remaining crowd outside the entrance on 48th Street, repping tons of smiles along the way. 

Looking back at the last decade, Logan says that the group finds those “pinch-me moments” everyday, but can appreciate it more deeply now that they’re older. 

“I think whenever we were younger, it didn’t really sink in,” he says. “I think now that we have this again and we’re doing it again, it’s so much more special.”