"Let's do an imaginary boy band, if we were to start one," Nicole Scherzinger says in never-before-seen footage of One Direction's formation, shared by "X Factor UK" on July 23. Those first six words would go on to change history, resulting in one of the biggest boy bands of all time.
The judges — Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, and Scherzinger — go on to select five boys' photos from the pile. Niall Horan is the first to be picked, followed by Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson. Then comes Liam Payne, whom Cowell describes as "the standout audition" and someone who "thinks he's better than everyone else." Zayn Malik is the last addition, and the whole process takes about two minutes.
"They are the cutest boy band ever, I love it. The little girls are going to love them," Scherzinger says upon seeing Horan, Styles, and Tomlinson's faces next to each other. "They're just too talented to get rid of, they've got the right look and charisma on stage. I think they'll be really great in a boy band together. They're like little stars. You can't get rid of little stars, so you put them all together."
The video notably contradicts an assertion made by Payne on Logan Paul's podcast in May. Payne claimed that "they stood there and picked us out . . . and from what I heard, part of the reason One Direction was made was because of Simon [Cowell's] promise to me that 'in two years I'll make it work for you.' He started with my face and then worked around the rest."
Fans also noted that while Cowell is usually credited with One Direction's formation, it was actually Scherzinger, a guest judge that week, who had the original idea and who played the largest role in shaping the band.
Watch the full video above.