Saturday, April 13, 2024

Frustration for Members of One Direction as Harry Styles Soars, Louis Tomlinson Leaves Simon Cowell’s Management at Last


Just as the other members of NSync discovered when Justin Timberlake took off on his own, the balance of One Direction is struggling.

Louis Tomlinson is part of One Direction, just as Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne are, and Zayn Malik was before he quit the band.

But their solo careers, other than Styles, have not been easy campaigns.

Today, Tomlinson announced he was finally leaving the management of Simon Cowell, who he’s been with his whole time since first appearing on “The X Factor” before One Direction existed.

Tomlinson wrote on Twitter: “Hope everyone is doing ok! Just wanted to let you know that Syco Music and I have agreed to part ways. I’m really excited for the future and to be back in the studio writing the next album. Can’t wait to finally see you all on tour!! Stay safe and see you soon, Louis x

Like Horan and Payne, not to mention Malik, Tomlinson must be frustrated. He’s made good records, done the touring, and nothing has clicked. His debut album, “Walls,” released this past January, has been a sales dud. It came out on Cowell’s Sony label Syco and the revived Sony/Arista Records, selling just 42,800 CDs and downloads, a total of 67,800 including streaming (according to Buzz Angle/Alpha Data).

Horan has had slightly better luck, not much, and same for Payne. Malik’s career right now is a disaster, with one sorta hit album and single, and then an utter bomb.

Styles, meanwhile, could not be doing better. Managed by Irving Azoff’s powerhouse group, Styles has blossomed as a pop and fashion star. He’s not even as talented a singer or songwriter as some of his bandmates– Horan is miles better– but that doesn’t matter. Through clever marketing and real attention to detail, Styles has followed Timberlake into the rare category of Rock Star, well, Pop Star with capital letters.

In the last few weeks, Styles’s second album, “Fine Line,” has jumped back into the top 10 after a so-so launch. The album has been aided by a hit single called “Watermelon Sugar” that makes “Sugar Sugar” by the Archies seem heavy. But it’s worked, as his androgynous projection of being sexually available to everyone. He wears dresses and make up, flies through the air in his videos, and smiles widely through all of it. (And the records are really, really embarrassingly awful.)

Tomlinson is now off Cowell’s label, but he can probably remain at Arista, which needs name stars as it rebuilds in its new incarnation. But will any of the One Directioners aside from Styles ever take off? That’s yet to be determined.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News