Simon stood before his new fellow “X Factor” judge and seatmate holding a large frame and asked, “Did you know, eight years ago today was the day that One Direction formed?” Louis flashed a grin and replied, “Funnily enough I do, I was in the band. Yeah, I do remember it very well, yeah.”
Season 15 judges Robbie and Ayda Williams looked on as the former 1D member stepped forward to try and see what his mentor was looking at and Simon teased him saying, “Make it sound more dramatic.” Louis changed his tack then, saying brightly, “No, I didn’t realize that Simon. Yeah, wow!”
Simon turned the frame toward Louis with a mischievous grin, proud to share his original “X Factor UK” application sheets. When Louis looked at the framed documents, he gasped at the scarf he was wearing in the photo. Apparently, it was a fashion faux-pas. Meanwhile, Robbie complimented him on his “neat writing” in the application.
Diehard Directioners probably know Louis was put together with his One Direction bandmates Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Zayn Malik after they all auditioned as solo artists but failed to make it through on their own. The date this momentous occasion occurred was July 23, 2010. Because “The X Factor” tapes in summer, Simon gifted him on the anniversary date and the exchange aired during the broadcast of the second week of season 15 auditions.
Louis has spoken of One Direction multiple times since his inaugural judging stint on the reality singing competition that launched his meteoric rise to fame as one-fifth of the pre-Zayn Malik departure five-member 1D. He’s also proven himself to be a very gracious judge, complimenting newly-formed duo Aaliyah and Acacia on delivering an amazing rendition of “Bang Bang!” after Simon spontaneously paired them. He was also moved to tears by former contender Anthony Russell’s return to the show, after having to quit to battle personal issues. Louis kindly reached out to mentor him and helped him change his life around.
Anyone auditioning this season and performing before Louis knows just how famous “The X Factor UK” helped him and the 1D boys become. They went on to sell over 50 million records worldwide and made history when they became the first band in U.S. Billboard 200 history to have their first four albums debut at the top of the chart. They’ve collected seven BRIT Awards, six Billboard Music Awards, seven American Music Awards and an astounding 28 Teen Choice Awards.
Fans can’t help but wax nostalgic watching Simon make his presentation to Louis, who is forging out his own solo career and is loving being a new dad, in the wake of One Direction’s indefinite hiatus.
Check out the entire moment in the video above and stay tuned to AXS for Louis Tomlinson updates.
“The X Factor UK” airs in the U.S. on Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on AXS TV.