Simon Cowell Says Zayn Malik Needs to “Get His Head Together” After One Direction Exit, Is Coy About Solo Career

Simon Cowell has offered his first on-camera, professional analysis of Zayn Malik‘s recent departure from One Direction and it’s very Simon Cowell.

At an event celebrating the upcoming ninth season of his show Britain’s Got Talent on Thursday, the 55-year-old TV personality spoke to the U.K. outlet Sugarscape and was asked during the interview what he thought about 1D’s future and the pop star’s solo career prospects.

“He’s a fantastic singer. Um, look, he’s got get his head together a little bit,” Cowell said. “He needs some time on his own, as he said, to be a normal 22-year-old, which he’s gonna have.”

Malik has not responded to Cowell’s comments.

The fan favorite, former American Idol judge, known for his acerbic onscreen remarks, helped form the boy band on another one of his shows, The X Factor. He also heads Syco Music, the record label that signed the group after they placed third during the series’ seventh season in 2010.

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Simon Cowell, Zayn Malik

Simon Cowell, Zayn MalikGetty Images

At the event, the ITN Productions-owned outlet Ode asked Cowell if he would sign Zayn as a solo artist.

“I can’t give anything away,” he replied.

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Malik had announced in mid-March that he would take a hiatus from the group’s On the Road Again tour, citing stress. The following week, the band, now made up of Niall HoranHarry StylesLouis Tomlinson and Liam Payne, announced Malik had left the group. Cowell had said in a statement after the singer’s departure that he “was “truly sorry to see him leave.”

“I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight,” Malik had said in an official statement, released just after the band’s announcement about his exit.

The singer later told The Sun newspaper after his departure that he wants to “kind of be myself for a bit.” He has not confirmed a solo career, despite recent rumors and after being spotted near a recording studio after his exit. The Sun had reported that Malik “has been working on a range of new sounds, including trying his hand at rapping.” Producer Naughty Boy has said he has worked with Malik on new music.

VIDEO: John Stamos wants to replace Zayn in 1D?!

One DirectionCal Aurand

The remaining One Direction members recently gave their first interview as a foursome, also speaking to The Sun, and posed for their first official photos as a foursome. Payne said they were “gutted” that Malik “chose to leave” and felt determined to continue their work. Styles added that the group was excited about working on their fifth album.

They’ve also continued their tour, whose official videos now omit Malik. The group is on a scheduled hiatus from the concert series and will resume touring in June.

“We’ve always hoped that One Direction would stay together for a long time and my hunch is it still will,” Cowell told Sugarscape. “They’re just too good for everything to stop now.”

PHOTOS: Look back at 1D’s pics


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