Simon Cowell Reacts to Zayn Malik Leaving One Direction & Gives Us Hope For The Band's Future

After Zayn Malik left One Direction, fans' hearts have been broken. But now that we have Simon Cowell's reaction to Zayn's departure, Directioners may be able to breathe a little easier. "They were surprised and shocked, but now they've got over it," the former X Factor UK judge who created 1D told Sugarscape. "Well not got over it; got used to it. They’ve been professional and they’re respecting the fans who’ve turned up to see a great show and that’s what they’re doing.”

As for his feelings about Zayn's departure, they're nothing but good thoughts for his life and career post-1D. “He’s a fantastic singer. Um, look, he’s got to get his head together a little bit,” Cowell added. "He needs some time on his own, as he said, to be a normal 22-year-old, which he’s gonna have.” Back when Zayn first auditioned for the X Factor , Cowell was actually the one to coax him into the spotlight. Although his singing auditions were never broadcast on TV — though you can watch his first one, Mario's "Let Me Love You" online — he had quite a fumble nailing some dance moves and tried to skip that try-out entirely until Cowell came in to save the day.

The X Factor UK on YouTube

In the bootcamp clip above, Zayn goes MIA and explains that he won't go onstage because he's not a good dancer. "I seriously don't want to do it because I hate dancing and I've never done it before and I just feel like an idiot on the stage," he says. "I just feel like an idiot and I'm not doing it." Cowell comes to find him and gives him a pep talk that encourages him to give it a shot. "Zayn, why aren't you out there? You can't just baffle it. You can't just hide behind here," Cowell tells him. "You're ruining this for yourself. I'm trying to help you here. If you can't do it now, you're never going to be able to do it."

Spoiler alert: Zayn does get out there and dance after Cowell notes, "don't' do that again." Unfortunately, the One Direction member did bail again, but maybe that's because he didn't have words of encouragement from his favorite judge the next time he had doubts and insecurities. Maybe Zayn will have a solo career — Cowell wouldn't say if he would sign him to his label — or maybe he'll come back and re-join the band after a break. One thing's for sure, though — One Direction isn't going anywhere.

"We’ve always hoped that One Direction would stay together for a long time and my hunch is it still will," Cowell revealed. "They’re just too good for everything to stop now … you can’t work together for this long if you’re not friends. You have little spats; everyone does." Phew. At least we still have Harry, Niall, Louis, and Liam.