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