One Direction has been a global phenomenon for their 5 years of performing together. The chart-topping boy band got their start on the reality show, The X-Factor.
Before One Direction went on an indefinite hiatus in 2016, the boys in the band were propelled to international stardom as a result of their appearance on the show in 2010.
It’s well known in 1D canon that Simon Cowell is credited with creating the group – the music mogul even said so himself.
He acted as the man behind the curtain, organizing Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik into a squad.
However, the 1D origin story doesn’t seem to have been Cowell’s original idea at all.
It was Nicole Scherzinger who actually formed One Direction – not Simon Cowell.
According to behind-the-scenes footage of the casting process, Nicole Scherzinger’s original idea was to put the one-dimensional boys in a band together.
In July 2022, X-Factor UK released a never-before-seen video to celebrate One Direction’s 12th anniversary.
In this video, the three judges, Nicole Scherzinger, Louis Walsh, and Cowell are seen analyzing photos of the X-Factor contestants.
“Let’s create an imaginary boy band if we want to start one,” says Scherzinger.
Move Niall Horan’s photo to the top of the table as a starting point.
Then the judges unanimously approved Harry Styles.
“We loved it,” Walsh said, taking a picture of Styles. “Yeah, put him down,” Scherzinger said, pointing to a photo of Niall.
Looking at side-by-side photos of Niall and Harry, Scherzinger exclaims, “This is the best boy band ever!”
He went on to add the Louis Tomlinson image “Young Girls Will Love It”, anticipating the massive success of the band.
Scherzinger goes on to say that the boys are “too talented to pull off. They’ve got the right looks and the right stage charisma.”
“I think they would be really cool in a boy band together,” says Scherzinger. “They’re like little stars, you can’t throw away little stars, so you put them all together.”
Liam Payne is the fourth boy added to the group, with Walsh claiming his performance was “a great audition”.
When Cowell questions Payne’s inclusion, Scherzinger claims, “I think he could definitely shine. I think he could actually be the leader.”
“That looks good,” Cowell praised, pointing to photos of the four boys.
After adding a photo of Zayn Malik to finish off the set, Cowell approved of the set, saying, “That’s the category I want, just them.”
Simon Cowell previously took the composition credit for One Direction.
In 2013, during a 1D Day webcast, Cowell claimed he was the mastermind behind the formation and has the footage to prove it – although he kept the video to himself.
When asked by Styles, “Who was the idea actually?” Cowell replied, “It was my idea.”
It even doubled down when Tomlinson and Horan joked that Scherzinger and another X Factor judge, Louis Walsh, would have a different opinion.
“I realized on the show that we had no difference… I just said, ‘Why don’t we put these guys in a group? ‘” “It took about 10 minutes!” he added.
“I was disappointed because I thought you all would pass as solo artists.”
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Scherzinger has confirmed that she was the mastermind behind the formation of One Direction.
During an appearance on Sherri Shepherd’s talk show in September 2022, Scherzinger discussed the footage that surfaced.
“It’s kind of crazy. Honestly, I never thought this footage would see the light of day,” said Scherzinger.
“I thought Simon burned it,” she laughed.
“It’s really cool that it came out because what people actually see is me putting them together, the way my brain works,” explained Scherzinger.
Referring to her time as part of the Pussycat Dolls, Scherzinger said that she “just came out of a girl group, I know how successful they are and how strong they can be as a group”, which is why she had the idea of the boys unite.
She goes on to say she’s “very proud of it [she] You should play a small or big part” in how pop history is made.
Alexandra Blogier is a writer on the news and entertainment team at YourTango. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and everything related to the entertainment industry.