First Time, Last Time: One Direction "Torn"

One Direction was one of the most successful "manufactured" groups in pop music history.

Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik were famously pieced together by svengali Simon Cowell on The X Factor in 2010.

Or did he?

Recently unearthed footage now shows it was judge Nicole Scherzinger who planted the seed that each of the young men should be grouped together instead of pursuing solo paths.

Once the boys were assembled they needed a name which Harry provided, and a first song to convince the judges they were the real deal.

That song was "Torn" made famous by Natalie Imbruglia. The tune was written by Scott Cutler and Anne Preven for the band Ednaswap.

Anne Preven and Scott Cutler explain to Howard Stern the origin story of "Torn."

but first recorded by a Dane, then a Norwegian, and then it fell into the lap of Imbruglia for her debut and it went to #1 in many lands including the US.

One Direction used it to impress Cowell and Scherzinger in a very special episode where Louis has a slight accident in the sea and hurts his foot. The teen boys suck it up and showed the judges what they're capable of.

"They're cool, they're relevant," Simon said, but then said it would be a hard decision to put them through.

Which is a proof that even the great Simon Cowell, with One Direction right in front of him, could not foresee that those scruffy little cherubs were going to sell 70 million albums in a matter of a few years. Indeed, they didn't even win the show that year.

So that was the first time they sung it. The final time they would perform it would be five years later in London as their final tune on the BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge.

That winter would find them doing a variety of publicity appearances where they would perform one or two songs on a talk show like Jimmy Kimmel or Ellen Degeneres. They also made guest stops on the X Factor and the American Music Awards. And in December they did a Carpool Karaoke and went solo after performing a couple tunes in NYC's Times Square on New Year's Eve.

In the middle of that whirlwind, they stopped off at the the BBC studio in London and performed a half dozen songs including a Rihanna + Kanye + Paul McCartney cover, and ended with "Torn."

Though this time would be without Zayn who had already had torn himself away from the others to go it alone.

As we told you last month, Harry wrapped up his tour with a bang. But Directioners have not been completely abandoned.

Since May, Louis, the lad who had the encounter in the sea, has been out on the road supporting his sophomore LP, Faith in the Future. Currently he's in Europe with dates in Portugal, Spain and Italy coming up next.

Is "Torn" part of his set?

Not yet. Yell it out if you see him. Tickets available on his website.

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Last updated: 9 Dec 2023, 10:10 Etc/UTC