In 2010, five young lads walked into the The X Factor competition hopeful — and left it, stars. OK, now that we’ve already started crying, let’s just begin here: One Direction quickly became a global phenomenon and we loved every second of it. And we’re ready (are we?) to revisit their legacy.
Thrust back into the competition as a fivesome selected by Simon Cowell after being eliminated from the boys’ trials, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson finished third in the English talent competition … and amassed droves of U.K. fangirls throughout their time on the series. They were immediately signed by Simon’s SYCO Records after the show ended.
The boys went on to record five studio albums — Up All Night, Take Me Home, Midnight Memories, Four and Made in the A.M. — and garnered international acclaim for their bad-boy charm that gave way to actually great vocals and undeniably catchy tunes. They toured the globe, they did a heartfelt documentary about their rise to fame and they even used their celebrity for humanitarian causes. In a few words, we stanned and still stan.
Though we wanted it to, good things such as these can’t last forever. In March 2015, the band announced that Zayn would be leaving the group — a devastating blow for fans everywhere. Though they continued on without the Bradford native for another tour and subsequent album (MITAM, which some say is their best), they officially parted ways as a band in 2016, calling it an “indefinite hiatus.”
All of the guys went on to foster successful solo careers — but the group did end up giving fans the 2020 reunion they’ve been dying for … sorta. Through an immersive fan experience website called 10 Years of One Direction, fans were able to unlock never-before-seen pieces of the band’s ~history~, including “an archive of music videos, artwork, TV performances, behind-the-scenes and rarely seen content,” as well as new musical content on Apple Music and Spotify, including “B-sides and rare songs, remixes, live recordings and acoustic versions of tracks.”
So, if you’re feeling nostalgic and you want to see how much your five favorite boys changed from the very beginning of our time with them, you only have to keep on scrolling — and wipe those tears before you ruin your keyboard. Scroll through the gallery to see Zayn, Harry, Liam, Niall and Louis then and now.
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