Will Niall Horan & Louis Tomlinson Remain In One Direction? The Future Of 1D Is Not Looking Bright

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You hear that? It's the sound of a million heartbroken tweens congregating on the interweb. Yes, Thursday it was announced that One Direction's Liam Payne signed a solo contract with Capitol Records. Payne took to Twitter to share the news, stating, "Happy to have signed to @CapitolUK. They have an amazing history of artists, I hope I can follow in their footsteps." And while the social media platform is now bursting with cyber tears and the lolz-worthy #OneDirectionIsOverParty hashtag, the universe can only wonder, will Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson stay in One Direction?

To recap, Payne's departure is only the most recent in One Direction divergences (never forget the internet firestorm when Zayn Malik first left One Direction in March of 2015). While initially the band made claims they would forge ahead as a foursome, they eventually announced an extended, indefinite hiatus this January. But then another quasi-bombshell hit when the band's veritable Justin Timberlake, Harry Styles, announced his own solo deal with Columbia Records back in June. This, to be fair, came as somewhat less of a shock considering Styles had already registered four songs with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers back in 2015.

And then there were two.

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As of right now neither Horan or Tomlinson have formally commented on whether they'll be creating music as a duo, but frankly, it wouldn't really make sense as a career move. For me, personally, that may be because the idea of a pop duo conjures up images of The Lonely Island: awkward at best. But now that the other three 1D members are doing their own solo things, it would give Horan and Tomlinson more dignity to go their own separate ways.

So many directions happening. So many.

It's also worth mentioning that Tomlinson is still in the early throws of fatherhood: in January of 2016 his first son, Freddie Reign, was born by hairstylist Briana Jungwirth. While the pair are very much not together (Tomlinson has been involved with actress Danielle Campbell), his role as dad is one that may pump the breaks on any more One Direction-ing. As for Horan, well, I guess he's not chained to anything at the moment. But with that in mind, would it be worthwhile to continue onward with Tomlinson?

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The only way it would possibly work for One Direction to continue with it's two final members is if the band builds back up with new, slightly high-profile members, and that feels like a long shot at best. To be fair, One Direction is 100 percent a manufactured band, basically put together during Season 7 of the U.K.'s version of The X Factor — you'd think that everyone is replaceable. However, hardcore fans are way too emotionally invested in the personas that built up the band; embracing three new members would change the dynamic completely, and even with that title One Direction would cease to be as it once was. All they'd be salvaging at this point is a name, not the even the brand.

So in short? While nothing's written in stone, it's not looking too good for 1D. To all my tween bbs out there, don't cry; I'm sure their VMA reunion in 10 years will be spectacular.