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We know who. We know when. And now we know how.
Twelve years ago, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, and Liam Payne auditioned separately on season 7 of The X Factor UK. Famously, they were grouped into a boy band and ultimately finished third.
Now, newly released footage from the show reveals a behind-the-scenes look at judges Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger, and Louis Walsh shuffling through headshots until they formed One Direction, the group that would go on to become a global phenomenon.
JAB Promotions/WireImage One Direction
The clip shows Scherzinger suggesting the judges create an imaginary boy-band lineup, and Horan's is the first headshot selected.
When Styles's photo comes up next, Scherzinger immediately says, "Oh, yes."
Tomlinson is third, with Walsh sizing up the trio and declaring, "They look good together."
At this point, Scherzinger gets real excited about the potential.
"The little girls are gonna love them," she says. "They're just too talented to get rid of. And they've got just the right look and the right charisma on stage."
She adds, "They're, like, little stars. You can't get rid of little stars, so you put them all together."
However, the three judges have a moment of disagreement when Payne's photo comes up, with Cowell motioning to a separate pile and saying, "He was the standout audition. You don't think he should be over there?"
But Scherzinger suggests that his stellar run on the show would be an upside to the group they're building. "If he's the standout, then he could be the leader," she says, pointing to the three existing headshots. "I think he would definitely shine."
Cowell still isn't convinced, warning, "He thinks he's better than anyone else in that list."
Walsh agrees, but argues for Payne's consistency. Once his photo joins the other three, Simon admits, "That looks good."
"That looks great," Walsh says, and Scherzinger croons, "That looks unbelievable."
Walsh's suggestion to add Malik clinches it.
"Now that is a good idea," Cowell declares.
As the video ends, Walsh worries about whether the five singers will gel — but 70 million records sold worldwide can't be wrong.
The newly released video both rebukes and supports Payne's recent claims on Logan Paul's Impaulsive podcast that Cowell had based One Direction around him and then worked the other four members in.
"From what I've heard, part of the reason One Direction was made was because of Simon's [Cowell] promise to me," Liam said on the podcast. "That in two years, I'll make this work for you. So, he kind of started with my face and worked out around the rest."
Watch the video of the judges launching the lads' careers below.
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