Chris Alvarado- When news broke late March that Zayn Malik of the pop sensation One Direction had decided to quit the band, fans took to social media to voice their sadness. The British boy band was formed in 2010 after the five auditioned for The X Factor and were made a group by the show’s judge Simon Cowell. From there, the band skyrocketed into one of the most successful bands of the decade. Zayn Malik, who is 22, said in a statement released on Facebook that he just wants to live a normal life.
“After five incredible years Zayn Malik has decided to leave One Direction,” the statement says.
The outcry that followed ranged from Twitter posts to Vines of fans crying upon reading the news. The top trends on Facebook and Twitter involved his split and his face graced the front of magazines, newspapers and shows like TMZ.
It was first reported days before he quit that Malik was leaving their current world tour, On the Road Again, due to stress.
“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 later goes on to say.
The band now is still continuing as a four piece. In 2013, they signed a contract with Syco Records started by Simon Cowell to release a new album every year for the following three years.
“We’re really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future,” said former bandmates, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Niall Horan, in the same statement. They later go on to say “The four of us will now continue. We’re looking forward to recording the new album and seeing all the fans on the next stage of the world tour.”
Many websites, commentators and fans have compared him to Justin Timberlake leaving the boy band NSYNC that made him go from “teen idol to pop icon,” as Buzzfeed wrote. While many have wondered who from One Direction will be the Timberlake of the group, that may still be up in the air. Malik’s departure could be explained by his stress or could be an elaborate cover up to get him in the studio working on his own music. Whatever the reason, all eyes are on him.
For now, fans and critics will wait and see what the singer does next with his career and life. Will Malik shoot to A-List stardom like Beyonce did from Destiny’s Child or is he leaving for personal reasons to settle down and start a family with his fiance?
One thing’s for sure: all eyes will be on him when all is said and done.