“It opened up a new world of followers”

“It opened up a new world of followers”

On TikTok, parents and non-parents alike have been thirsting for a member of one of the biggest kids bands on the planet – the new purple Wiggle from The Wiggles.

John Pearce, 31, has been a member of the Australian children’s entertainment group since 2021, but in the past week he’s faced a surge of attention that’s earned him the title of TikTok heartthrob.

Newfound attention has focused on Pearce – who sings lullabies and originals like “I’m John, I’m Strong!” — likely stems from a video Pearce posted this week of himself participating in a trend taken from the movie Zoolander.

John Pearce of The Wiggles performs on stage during The Big Show Tour!  at Spark Arena on August 21, 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand.
John Pearce of The Wiggles performs on stage on August 21, 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand.Dave Simpson / WireImage file

The trend is played out by two different people or personas meeting each other.

Pearce originally wanted to shoot the clip with original purple Wiggle, Jeff Fatt, while the two have recently been touring together. When Pearce returned home to find he forgot to film the clip, he decided to go it alone.

In the clip, Pearce’s purple Wiggle persona bumps into his everyday self in a cut-off t-shirt, revealing his toned and tattooed arms.

The comments on the video all share a similar sentiment.

“Bro I’m going to start watching the wobbles and I don’t even have a kid,” read one reply.

Pearce’s “Zoolander” video had more than 4.1 million views as of Friday afternoon. Pearce’s videos other than the purple wiggle have also garnered millions of views, and the hashtag “#purplewiggle” had more than 1.2 million views across the platform as of Friday.

Pearce said he was flattered by the attention during a Zoom interview with NBC News.

“The last few days – it’s definitely updated me online on my demographics. It’s great,” Pearce said, laughing.

Pearce rose to fame as a member of the song and dance group Justice Crew, which won season four of Australia’s Got Talent in 2010.

While Justice Crew has been banned from touring during the pandemic, Pearce had a stroke of luck when he ran into Anthony Field, who has been with The Wiggles since the group’s formation in 1991.

Pearce said that a chat about the music industry in a pizza shop led to a friendship with Field, who invited him to The Wiggles’ headquarters. They embarked on a project that resulted in Fruit Salad TV, a YouTube exclusive series featuring a diverse cast of eight Wiggles.

Eventually, Pearce was asked to come full-time.

“It’s a very rewarding job … They impact the lives of these families in different ways and you see that at meet-and-greets and at the shows from Australia to Canada,” Pearce said. “I love it.”

One of his favorite things about The Wiggles is incorporating the dance skills and physicality he honed during his time on Justice Crew into his performances as purple Wiggle.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 21: Tsehay Hawkins, John Pearce and Simon Pryce of The Wiggles perform on stage during The Big Show Tour!  at Spark Arena on August 21, 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand.
From left: Tsehay Hawkins, John Pearce and Simon Pryce of The Wiggles perform in Auckland, New Zealand on August 21, 2022.Dave Simpson / WireImage file

“It’s really exciting, and for little kids, especially little boys, they really take on the breakdancing and athletics that I’m trying to bring to The Wiggles and it’s kind of cool that they call me ‘Spider-Man ‘ or see the superhero from The Wiggles,” Pearce said.

After the past week, one thing is clear: not only boys are interested in Pearce.

“It definitely opened up a whole new world of followers,” Pearce said.

Many of the videos about Pearce posted on social media feature young wives and mothers expressing shock that their new celebrity crush happens to be a member of a decades-old children’s group.

In one video, Evelien Langeveld, 36 and a mother of one, fans herself as she looks at Pearce during a Wiggles performance. Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” accompanies the clip and sets the mood, while Langeveld seems to be falling in love.

Langeveld, who lives in Sydney, said she discovered Pearce after her 21-month-old son Archie asked to see the Christmas version of The Wiggles’ song ‘Baby Shark’. On repeat.

“That’s when I was like, ‘Ohhh, helloooo John! Mom actually doesn’t mind seeing that either,’ LOL!” Langeveld said in an email.

In another video, a TikToker suggested following The Wiggles on their tour. The group is scheduled to tour the United States this fall, the group’s spokesman said.

“Back to my Wiggles era who wants to follow the rest of the tour with me,” wrote TikToker @onetoomanytwizzlers.

TikTok user @KaylaMichelleFisher explained that her entire “For You” page is filled with videos from The Wiggles.

“I really fell for the purple Wiggles’ thirst traps,” @KaylaMichelleFisher said in the video. “I’m not mad about it. Keep it up, Wiggles. Keep it up.”

TikTok love for Pearce has been a slow burn, according to some of his fans. TikToker Daphne Flack, 22, said she remembered seeing Pearce on her For You page last year when people started calling him “hot” Wiggle. But Flack, who is from Australia but lives in New York City, said Pearce’s new videos have created a new wave of attention, and he’s once again all over her “For You” page.

“He’s so precious and so healthy and I just love him,” Flack said.

Pearce said he’s been moved by all the attention on TikTok, which he says has only been positive.

He added that he’s looking forward to meeting his newest fans when The Wiggles tour later this year.

“It’s really cool and some of the followers don’t even have kids and they say it gave them a reason to start families because they want to see The Wiggles, which is all great,” Pearce said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *