A recently unearthed video of Harry Styles’ first audition for “The X Factor” is offering a look back at how it all began more than a decade earlier.
Before finding fame as a solo artist, Styles was a member of boy band One Direction, and before than he was a 16-year-old with big dreams who took his first stab at stardom by auditioning before Simon Cowell and the other judges on the British TV talent competition.
In the clip, Styles takes to the stage and charmingly banters with Cowell, who asks him about his job working at a bakery, leading to an extended conversation about the popularity of various baked goods.
“Viennese fancies always a favourite,” Styles declares, while also noting that “donuts are good.”
Finally, he begins singing Train’s “Hey Soul Sister”, a somewhat shaky and slightly pitchy performance that brings a scowl to Cowell’s face before he interrupts the song.
“I dunno whether it’s the track that’s throwing you, but can I hear something that’s just you, without any music?” Cowell asks.
Styles then launches into an a cappella rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely”, with his vocals now much stronger, resulting in immediate applause from the audience.
While judge Nicole Scherzinger gives Styles an enthusiastic yes, fellow judge Louis Tomlinson frets about Styles’ age and inexperience.
Cowell disagrees. “Somebody in the audience just said ‘rubbish’ and I totally agree with them,” he says, the comments causing the audience to erupt in cheers. “I think with a bit of vocal coaching you actually could be very good.”
Walsh gives Styles a thumbs down, but yes votes from Scherzinger and Cowell send him on to the next round — and, ultimately, his destiny.