EXCLUSIVE: Simon Cowell says he was 'surprised' by Liam Payne signing a solo contract

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Simon Cowell 'Surprised' Liam Payne Signed with New Management: 'I Wasn't Expecting It'

Less than a week after Liam Payne signed a solo record deal with Capitol Records UK, Simon Cowell is opening up about the singer's decision not to sign with his company, Syco Music.

"I was slightly surprised to read that Liam signed to another label," Cowell told ET's Denny Directo at an America's Got Talent live show taping on Tuesday. "I wasn't expecting it. But you know, that happens."

The 56-year-old music producer and TV personality recently made comments about the how loyal "most" of the members of One Direction have been as they venture out on their own, considering Cowell was the one who brought the band together in the first place.

RELATED: Liam Payne Announces Solo Record Deal, Says One Direction Will 'Always Be My Home and Family'

"The great thing about these boys – well, not all of them, but most of them – they are incredibly loyal and you don't always expect that," he told reporters during a recent conference call. "Niall, Harry, Louis. [It's] amazing."

Notably absent from Cowell's seemingly off-the-cuff list was Payne. Former 1D bandmate Zayn Malik, who left the group in March 2015 prior to their announced hiatus, signed a solo contract with RCA last year. His first solo album, Mind of Mine, came out in March.

RELATED: One Direction through the years

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One Direction through the years
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One Direction through the years
British band One Direction arrive for the world premiere of The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, at a cinema in Leicester Square, London, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010.(AP Photo/Joel Ryan)
Niall, of musical group One Direction, performs at Nickelodeon's 25th Annual Kids' Choice Awards on Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
From left, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, of musical group One Direction, perform at Nickelodeon's 25th Annual Kids' Choice Awards on Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Liam Payne, of musical group One Direction, performs at Nickelodeon's 25th Annual Kids' Choice Awards on Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
One Direction, from left, Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, and Louis Tomlinson arrive at Nickelodeon's 25th Annual Kids' Choice Awards on Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
One Direction members Louis Tomlinson, left, Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Zayn Malik perform in concert, in New York, Saturday, May 26 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
One Direction at the Brit Awards 2012 at The O2 Arena in London, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/John Marshall JME) THIS CONTENT IS IS NOT PART OF ANY SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE AND ANY USAGE WILL CARRY A SEPARATE FEE
Members of the British band One Direction, from left, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Harry Styles and Liam Payne arrive at the MTV Video Music Awards on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
One Direction members Zayn Malik, left, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson perform in concert, in New York, Saturday, May 26 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
From left, Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, of musical group One Direction, accept the award for best pop video for "What Makes You Beautiful" at the MTV Video Music Awards on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
Louis Tomlinson from the British band One Direction, right, greets fans at the MTV Video Music Awards on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
One Direction members, from left, Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik and Liam Payne perform on NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Members of the British band One Direction, from left, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik and Harry Styles perform at the MTV Video Music Awards on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Mark J. Terrill/Invision/AP)
One Direction members, from left, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson perform on NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
From left, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Liam Payne of British band One Direction perform on stage during the BRIT Awards 2013 at the o2 Arena in London on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
British pop group One Direction arrive at the Cannes festival palace, to take part in the NRJ Music awards ceremony, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, in Cannes, southeastern France. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
One Direction perform on stage during the BRIT Awards 2013 at the o2 Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, in London. (Photo by John Marshall/Invision/AP)
Niall Horan, from left, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson of the musical group One Direction perform on stage at the Teen Choice Awards at the Gibson Amphitheater on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Musical group One Direction performs at the Teen Choice Awards at the Gibson Amphitheater on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Musical group One Direction accept the awards for choice music group, choice single by a group, choice love song and choice summer tour at the Teen Choice Awards at the Gibson Amphitheater on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
From left, Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik and Liam Payne from British band One Direction arrive for the UK Premiere of 'One Direction: This Is Us 3D' at a central London cinema, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013. (Photo by Jonathan Short/Invision/AP)
One Direction members, from left, Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson pose for a photo after performing on NBC's "Today" show on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
One Direction members, from left, Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson pose for a photo after performing on NBC's "Today" show on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
One Direction member Harry Styles poses with a gift from a fan while performing on NBC's "Today" show on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Zayn Malik, from left, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Harry Styles of One Direction speak onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
From left, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson of the musical group One Direction poses backstage with the award for Best Song of the Summer for "Best Song Ever" at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Zayn Malik, from left, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles and Niall Horan of One Direction present the award for best pop video at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
One Direction members, from left, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan perform on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
From left, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Niall Horan of the musical group One Direction arrive at the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
One Direction band members, from left Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Zayn Malik accept the Best Video Award onstage at the BRIT Awards 2014 at the O2 Arena in London on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)
One Direction, from left, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Harry Styles arrive at the BRIT Awards 2014 at the O2 Arena in London on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (Photo by Jon Furniss Photography/Invision/AP)
One Direction members, from left, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne perform on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Britain's Prince William meets boyband One Direction at the Royal Variety Performance, in support of the Entertainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund, at the Palladium Theatre in London, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Yui Mok, pool)
Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan of One Direction appear on NBC's Today Show to release their new album 'Four' at Universal City Walk At Universal Orlando on November 17, 2014 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Daly/Invision/AP)
Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik and Harry Styles of One Direction arrive at the 42nd annual American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles and Zayn Malik, components from the British band One Direction during the ceremony of the '40 Principales Awards 2014' at Palacio de los Deportes in Madrid, Spain, on Friday, December 12, 2014. (AP Photo / Abraham Caro Marin)
Harry Styles, from left, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik of the musical group One Direction accept the award for pop/rock band, duo or group on stage at the 42nd annual American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Zayn Malik components from the British band One Direction receive the prize to best music video during the ceremony of the '40 Principales Awards 2014' at Palacio de los Deportes in Madrid, Spain, on Friday, December 12, 2014. (AP Photo / Abraham Caro Marin)
English Irish pop boy band One Direction arrives at the Cannes festival palace, to take part in the NRJ Music awards ceremony, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, in Cannes, southeastern France. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
Louis Tomlinson, from left, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Harry Styles of the musical group One Direction pose in the press room with the awards for top duo/group and top touring artist at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, May 17, 2015, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Eric Jamison/Invision/AP)
Harry Styles of One Direction performs during the Honda Civic Tour at Qualcomm Stadium on Thursday, July 9, 2015, in San Diego, Calif. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)
Niall Horan of One Direction performs during the Honda Civic Tour at Qualcomm Stadium on Thursday, July 9, 2015, in San Diego, Calif. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)
Niall Horan, from left, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson of One Direction perform during the Honda Civic Tour at Qualcomm Stadium on Thursday, July 9, 2015, in San Diego, Calif. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)
SEATTLE, WA - JULY 15: (L-R) Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson of One Direction perform on stage at Century Link Field on July 15, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images)
British band One Direction member Harry Styles performs on stage as part of the apple iTunes Festival 2015, at the Camden Roundhouse in North London, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
One Direction members, from left, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan perform on ABC's "Good Morning America" at Rumsey Playfield/SummerStage on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
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While the former American Idol judge doesn't seem thrilled about Payne's new solo venture, his demeanor in life seems to have brightened since welcoming his first son, Eric, in February 2014, with Lauren Silverman. The proud papa couldn't help but gush about his little boy.

WATCH: Meet Simon Cowell's New Son Eric!

"He's doing amazing," Cowell marveled. "He loves music, loves dancing. He's going to follow me into what I'm doing, I know that."

Cowell previously opened up to ET about Eric back in May, where he said, "He does remind me of me when I was younger because he knows how to get away with things." He also admitted that he used to worry whether his infant son even liked him. Watch the video below to hear more from the music mogul about being a dad.

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