If you lived through the infamous Magcon era, then you already know where Lights Out Tour is headed.
Magcon, an acronym for “meet and greet convention,” was a live touring group made up of Vine stars—all white or white-passing teenage guys. The group grew and shrank in the few years they were active (roughly 2013-2015), but core players included influencers Nash Grier, Cameron Dallas, Matthew Espinoza, Jack Gilinsky, Jack Johnson, Carter Reynolds, and Taylor Caniff. Pop singer Shawn Mendes also toured with the group and was one of its core members before he landed his first record deal in 2014.
Magcon was wildly popular and incredibly controversial. Almost all of the members got caught up in scandals: Nash Grier posted a homophobic Vine in 2014, Nash Grier and Cameron Dallas recorded a now-deleted video with YouTuber JC Caylen about what they want girls to look and act like, and a video of Carter Reynolds coercing his then-underage girlfriend into performing oral sex on him surfaced in 2015.
And despite the scandals, the Twitter squabbles, and the casual homophobia, the Magcon boys had a huge fanbase. Across the board, the boys amassed millions of followers on Vine, Twitter, and Instagram, and brought in incredible sponsorship deals with brands like Coca-Cola, Airheads, and Aeropostale.
Magcon did eventually break apart. Cameron Dallas’ documentary series Chasing Cameron outlined the rise and immediate fall of the touring group. It’s clear in the documentary—and to anyone who was on social media at the time—that the immaturity of the influencers plus the organizers’ inability to deal with an intense and dedicated fan base resulted in the demise of the tour.
Many avid Vine users (myself included) made fun of the Magcon boys because, to us, they were a bunch of douchey guys who posted thirst traps for likes. But millions of their followers saw something else. They saw the boys with whom they went to school. They saw guys who they might have sat next to in class had they gone to the same school. They saw boyfriend material.
The main reason this group grew so popular was its members’ relatability. The other was accessibility, and the Magcon tour made these guys even more accessible to the fans who idolized them. It literally was a meet-and-greet convention where you met your idol, got a hug (or a kiss, if you were lucky), took a picture, and posted about it on Instagram and Twitter that day. Instantly gratified, fans essentially paid for a boyfriend experience. There are compilations of “Magcon meet and greet goals” on YouTube that racked up hundreds of thousands of views of the influencers hugging, picking up, and kissing girls on the forehead. Some people thought it was weird. For others, it was all they wanted.
It seems that the Lights Out Tour may just be, as YouTuber Casey Aonso puts it, “the second coming of Magcon.”
The Lights Out Tour is a social media meet-and-greet tour made up of TikTok stars including Jackson Felt, Sam Hurley, Anthony Reeves, Payton Moormeier, and more. The tour, unlike Magcon, features female TikTok users as well, even though the men outnumber the women.
One TikTok star who does not seem to be involved in the tour is the user formerly known as “kylerlovesjesus,” who used his TikTok channel to lecture his followers about how “disgusting” abortion is.
The similarities are there: there’s a step-and-repeat where you can meet and get a hug from all of the influencers; you can buy merch with the faces of the TikTokers in various colors and styles; there’s even a loosely organized live show where the group performs. Notably, Payton Moormeier released a video where he talks about what he looks for in girls. It eerily mirrors the video Nash Grier and Cameron Dallas got in trouble for, as Aonso pointed out.
Internet fame is fickle and more often than not, there are skeletons in the backlogs of our Twitter accounts that can be found and spread across the internet. No one knows this better than the Magcon boys. The question is: do the TikTok boys and girls know it? They seem to be slightly more progressive than Magcon, especially with the prominence of multiple female TikTok stars (Magcon did have one, Mahogany Lox). But the brand of influencer is the same as that of Magcon: thin, cisgender, and white-passing. Although the trend of thirst-trapping for likes on TikTok isn’t specific to one gender, getting famous and touring because of it seems to be reserved for the cisgender TikTok stars today.
In no way am I shaming those who love or who have loved following these tours. You can like what you like—there’s no issue with that. But there is something to be said about giving a platform to young people just because they’re good-looking, which is arguably the main reason all of these influencers got famous in the first place.
They’re still young and figuring things out, and they should be allowed a space to make mistakes like everyone else. But these people are influencing thousands of young fans every day, and there is a level of responsibility to which they’re going to be held. Social media stars are showing more intimate details of their lives with their followers than celebrities are, and it’s commonly known that influencers have a more significant impact than celebrities (at least from a marketing standpoint).
Most of that has to do with the proximity followers have to influencers; these people aren’t usually more talented or skilled than the average person, but they have a knack for making their lives look better than yours. So what do followers who are looking for some way to better their lives do? They try to act like or purchase the things that these social stars promote. This includes believing or following the ideas that influencers talk about. It’s a mix of wanting the approval from these influencers and wanting to be them. It’s the Regina George effect: Regina George says women who have arm hair are unclean, so I believe that women who have arm hair are unclean—and I shaved my entire body to prove it.
As with any internet trend targeted at young, impressionable, and often insecure kids, the fans will grow up and move on to the next big thing. TikTok boys, like Magcon and even the infamous Team 10, have an expiration date—they are no exception to the rule. Whether it’s an internet scandal or their audience simply gets tired of them being basic, this era of TikTok thirst traps isn’t the first and definitely won’t be the last thing that grabs the attention of internet-using teens.
Magcon boys walked so TikTok boys could run so the next group of thirst-trapping teenage boys can fly. My advice? Spread your wings wisely, boys.
By Logan Cross