Fri, Mar 27, 2015 - Page 6 News List

Malik leaves boy band One Direction for private time out


From left to right, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan and Harry Styles of British-Irish pop band One Direction pose on the red carpet on Feb. 20, 2013, at the BRIT Awards in London.

Photo: AFP

David Lee Roth and Van Halen. Noel Gallagher and Oasis. And now Zayn Malik and One Direction.

Malik said on Wednesday he is leaving the chart-topping British boy band “to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.”

His name immediately became a top trending topic online — #AlwaysInOurHeartsZaynMalik — as the band announced it would continue its world tour, “On the Road Again,” without Malik. Plans also remained in place for the now-foursome to record an album later this year.

“For kids now, it’s truly the equivalent of if one of the Beatles would have left at the height of their success,” Rolling Stone senior writer Brian Hiatt said of Malik’s departure.

One middle-school teacher said the day was among the toughest in her career as tween girls ran out of class in tears.

However, while it may be sad news for Malik’s fans, his departure is not necessarily bad for the band — at least not immediately. The remaining four members have concert dates scheduled through October and they promise a future for the group.

Unlike Van Halen, which started over when it replaced Roth with a new lead singer (Sammy Hagar); or Oasis, which essentially disbanded when Gallagher left, One Direction is all vocalists, making it easier to absorb a loss.

The band’s only choice now is to continue with four, Hiatt said.

“I can’t imagine, under any circumstances, them replacing him,” he said.

One Direction was formed in 2010 after five teenagers — Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Malik — auditioned individually for the British TV talent show The X Factor. Simon Cowell had the idea of putting them together as a boy band.

They did not win the competition, but they went on to score hits and win young hearts around the world with their perky pop and cheeky personalities. Each member has his own following, with Styles and Malik arguably the most popular.

Cowell said in a statement on Wednesday that One Direction fans “can rest assured that Niall, Liam, Harry and Louis are hugely excited about the future of the band.”

It is too soon to say which way One Direction, or Malik, might go, but making a clean split was a good first step, writes Jason Lipshutz, an associate editor at Billboard.

“Zayn’s exit from One Direction is painful because it means something has ended, but it would have been vastly more painful to approach the next few months with a sense of unsteadiness,” he said. “Now, Zayn is gone, and One Direction can move on.”

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