“If he’s the standout, then he could be the leader.”
The footage was released to mark the 12th anniversary of One Direction – which was formed on the show after each member initially auditioned as a solo act without success. However, given Liam Payne’s recent comments on the formation of 1D, the timing is particularly relevant this year.
It is worth making some important connections here. Liam auditioned first The x factor back in 2008 and made it to the round at Simon Cowell’s house when he was just 14 years old. However, Simon didn’t think he was ready at the time – and told him to go back to school and audition for the show again in another two years.
Speaking on Logan Paul’s podcast last month, Liam said: “From what I’ve heard, part of the reason One Direction was made was because of Simon’s promise to me, ‘In two years, I’ll make that for you to walk bring. ‘ So he started with my face and then worked on the rest… I was the honorary member of One Direction. He told me this story himself in his house.”
The comments went viral, with even Lizzo chiming in on her TikTok, saying: “I don’t know who lied to that poor boy but he was Not the frontman.”
So what does this new footage show? The 2010 clip begins with the judges viewing images of a stack of male contestants and deciding which ones could be together in “imaginary” groups. We then see Nicole Scherzinger pushing a picture of Niall to the top of the table.
“We liked him,” says Louis enthusiastically of a young Harry whom Nicole suggests taking to Niall.
“They are the cutest boy band ever!” Nicole adds while Louis’ picture is added to the stack. “The little girls will love them.”
“They’re just too talented to get rid of. And they have just the right look and charisma on stage,” she continues. “They’re like little stars, so you can’t get rid of little stars – you put them all together.”
Then it comes to Liam’s photo. “He was the standout audition,” begins Simon, before pointing to the group of boys who have been chosen to advance as individuals. “You don’t think he should be over there?”
“I don’t think so,” Nicole replies. “If he’s the standout, then he could be the leader.”
To which Simon replies, “He thinks he’s better than everyone else on this list.”
“No, he does, Simon. He has the confidence. But he’s good, he’s consistent,” says Louis Walsh before all the judges marvel at how good the four boys look together.
Judge Louis then proposes Zayn for the group, to which everyone immediately agrees. In the words of Simon: “Now the is a good idea!”
“That’s the category I want, her,” he continues, which ended up coming true — Simon served as a mentor for the group category that year (and would later sign her after the show).
So what does this mean for Liam’s recent claims? Well, the idea that started One Direction [his] Face” doesn’t seem particularly accurate based on the clip – it’s Niall’s face, not Liam’s, that’s the first building block. However, I think we can still be certain of two things: 1) Simon had his back on Liam, when it came to staying at home the show, in line with his earlier “promise.” 2) It seems that Liam was originally thought of as the leader of the band.
You can watch the full clip for yourself here.