A TEEN girl hides behind a rack of postcards in the hotel gift shop, peering between the pictures of local landmarks
Three others are in the gym, pretending to work out in jeans and heavy make-up.
Another is hiding at the end of the corridor, trying to disguise herself as a plant.
We’re in Albany, about 150 miles north of New York, and One Direction are surrounded.
They have just finished their show to 3,000 delirious girls at the nearby Palace Theatre and word of their overnight stay has got out on Twitter. Hundreds of fans have swarmed to the hotel.
Many mighty British bands have tried, and failed, to break America but Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson appear to have cracked it.
One Direction have been breaking records and hearts in equal measure on their first US tour.
Debut album Up All Night is tipped to go straight to No1 on the Billboard album chart later this month.
At a publicity appearance in Toronto, Canada, last week the management had to pull the plug halfway through an interview because of safety concerns.
The number of fans at their MuchMusic performance even dwarfed the last appearance from Canada’s own Justin Bieber.
There were 17,000 requests for tickets from 1D fans, compared with 4,000 when Bieber made his last homecoming appearance on Canada’s answer to MTV.
Just over a year ago 1D were third place on The X Factor, now the Brit band are toppling Bieber Fever in his own backyard.
Speaking from his 14th floor Albany hideout while working his way through autographing 3,000 pictures, teen heart-throb Harry said: “They had to close off the streets in Toronto, it was crazy.
“There were thousands of fans and one girl was being crushed against the barrier and looked like she was going to break her leg.
“Luckily our tour manager came to the rescue and dragged her out.
“To come over here and see that so many people know all the songs on an album that isn’t even out yet is unbelievable.
“Not many people get to do what we do in England, so for us to come over here and be able to perform to crowds like this is amazing and humbling.
“There is one girl who constantly messages us on Twitter. She has been at every hotel we have been to in America so far, trying to lure us on a night out.”
A giant network of besotted girls have made One Direction surprise global stars, using fan sites and social media.
At every gig the boys have been told by venue staff that they have never seen hysteria like it.
Their fans’ older relatives are even comparing the frenzy to the Beatlemania of 1964, when the Fab Four first arrived in the US.
One Direction will only play in seated arenas because of safety concerns and security teams have their work cut out keeping girls in their seats as they strive to get to the front and catch the boys’ eyes.
I see one teenager manage to brush her fingers against Zayn’s before dropping to her knees and sobbing.
After their show the lads sprinted straight out of side door in a bid to avoid stampeding girls.
But many still made it, throwing themselves in front of the lads’ van. Liam said: “We started in Chicago and had no idea what to expect. It was mad, there were girls everywhere holding signs and screaming our names.
“There’s one girl from LA who follows us and even flew to England to go to the tour there.
“Fans from all over the world are going to gigs and meeting up with fans from other countries they have met online.
“It’s really cute that they are making friends because of us.”
Zayn said: “We thought it could be the same few hundred people tweeting us over and over again. Until we got to America we didn’t know how crazy it was.”
Niall added: “I get really claustrophobic and sometimes it’s a bit scary. I rang my dad and told him how mad it’s been. He said he’s been watching it all on YouTube.”
The following morning most of the girls have dispersed, although a handful remain gathered outside, waiting for a glimpse of the band as they set off on a three-hour journey to the next venue, a 4,000-seat arena in Connecticut. Before the show Zayn had to fly home following a death in his family. But he will be back.
The band love the long journeys between venues on the plush tour bus. The hours are spent chatting, larking about and playing football video game FIFA. Harry and Louis fight it out to be top dog.
Louis said: “We love the bus — it’s like a sleepover vibe. We sit and play PlayStation and chat. I miss the food from home though, and I have to have my Yorkshire Tea with me.” The boys seem to have a fairly equal share of American female admirers — and one thing all the girls agree on is their love for their “cute” accents.
The story for all of the fans is similar. They found the band online, told friends, tweeted some more and now they’re hooked.
Among the girls in Albany are pals Jacqueline Secor and Karina Torres, both 15.
Jacqueline — who wrote her Twitter handle on her T-shirt hoping for a direct tweet — has been a fan since watching clips of the band’s UK X Factor performances online. She said: “I love that they are from a TV show so they’re not fake. They got where they are being themselves and singing live.”
At the Connecticut show Carly Galluzo, 16, from Long Island, said: “We love British accents. They are really cute and they are so good at singing.”
Her pal Devyn Fleischhacker, also 16, summed it up: “My friend Natalie told me about the band.
“I told all my friends and they told all their friends and now we are all obsessed.”