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A Month After Liam Payne Said That One Direction Was Formed Around Him, "The X Factor" UK Released Footage Of How It Actually Went Down

"If he's the standout, then he could be the leader."

The X Factor UK released previously unseen footage of One Direction being formed, and it's veeeeeery interesting.

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The X Factor UK / Via youtube.com

The footage was released to mark the 12-year anniversary of One Direction — which was formed on the show after each member initially auditioned unsuccessfully as a solo act. However, the timing is especially relevant this year given Liam Payne's recent comments about the formation of 1D.

Closeup of Liam Payne

It's worth bringing in some important context here. Liam first auditioned for The X Factor back in 2008 and made it as far as the round in Simon Cowell's house when he was just 14. However, Simon didn't believe he was ready at the time — and told him to go back to school and re-audition for the show in another two years.

Young Liam Payne

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 that, 'In two years, I'll make this work for you.' So he started with my face, and then worked around the rest...I was the honorary member of One Direction. He told me that story himself at his house."

One Direction

The comments went viral, with even Lizzo chiming in on her TikTok by saying, "I don't know who lied to that poor boy, but he was not the frontman."

One Direction

So, what does this new footage show? The 2010 clip starts with the judges sifting through a stack of male contestants' images, deciding which ones could be in "imaginary" groups together. Subsequently, we see Nicole Scherzinger move a picture of Niall to the top of the table.

Still from "The X Factor"

"We liked him," Louis enthusiastically says of a young Harry, to which Nicole suggests he be put with Niall.

Screen shot from "The X Factor"

"They're the cutest boyband ever!" Nicole adds, as Louis' picture is added to the pile. "The little girls are going to love them."

Pics of One Direction

"They're just too talented to get rid of. And they've got just the right look and the right charisma on stage," she continues. "They're like little stars, so you can't get rid of little stars — you put them all together."

Screen shot from "The X Factor"

Then it comes to Liam's photo. "He was the standout audition," Simon begins, before pointing over at the group of boys selected to move forward as individuals. "You don't think he should be over there?"

Screen shot from "The X Factor"

"I don't think so," Nicole replies. "If he's the standout, then he could be the leader."

Screen shot from "The X Factor"

To this, Simon responds, "He thinks he's better than anyone else in that list."

Screen shot from "The X Factor"

"No, he does, Simon. He has the confidence. But he's good, he's consistent," Louis Walsh says in turn, before all the judges marvel at how good the four boys look together.

Screen shot from "The X Factor"

Judge Louis then suggests Zayn for the group, which everyone immediately agrees with. In the words of Simon: "Now that is a good idea!"

Screen shot from "The X Factor"

"That's the category I want, them," he continues, which would end up being true — Simon acted as a mentor to the groups category that year (and would later sign them after the show).

Screen shot from "The X Factor"

So, what's this mean for Liam's recent claims? Well, the idea that One Direction "started with [his] face" doesn't seem terribly accurate based on the clip — it's Niall's face, not Liam's that's the initial building block. However, I think we can still safely gauge two things: 1) Simon did have Liam's back when it came to staying in the show, as per his earlier "promise." 2) It appears that Liam was initially thought of as the band's leader.

Screen shot from "The X Factor"

You can watch the full clip for yourself here.