Simon Cowell blasts Niall Horan's 'lack of loyalty' as he claims the singer's debut track This Town would've been number one had he stayed with him
He helped nurture him during his time in One Direction.
But Simon Cowell, 56, has taken a dig at ex charge Niall Horan, 23, following the surprise release of the Irishman's debut single.
This Town has so far peaked at number nine in the charts, landing Niall his first solo top ten single.
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'Hashtag loyalty': Simon Cowell, 56, (left) has taken a playful dig at ex charge Niall Horan, 23, (right) following the surprise release of the Irishman's debut single
But Simon told the Sunday Mirror that had Niall chosen to work with his label Syco for the release instead of Capitol Records it would have been a bigger success.
The X Factor creator said: 'He probably would have had a number one single if he’d stayed with me.
'But you know who does have number this week? James Arthur. Very pleased he’s back with us with a fantastic record.'
Bold claim: Simon told the Sunday Mirror that had Niall chosen to work with him for the release instead of Capitol Records it would have been a bigger success
On top: Niall's release was no match for James Arthur's triumphant return, with his comeback track Say You Won’t Let Go notching up 85,000 combined sales and charting at number one
He then signed off with a final parting shot, adding: 'Hashtag loyalty.'
Niall released his debut solo single This Town on September 29, several months after One Direction officially began their hiatus.
However, the release was no match for James Arthur's triumphant return, with his comeback track Say You Won’t Let Go notching up 85,000 combined sales - made up of 41,000 downloads and 4.4 million streams.
Niall surprised his fans by unveiling the track on his Twitter account and making it available to listen to on all major streaming platforms, iTunes and Apple Music and music video hosting website VEVO.
His tweet read: 'Been workin in the studio, wanted to share this song I just wrote with u guys. thank you for always being there (sic).'
New release: Niall surprised fans by dropping his new single This Town on Thursday, revealing the song with a stripped down video
In a statement he confirmed he has signed to Capitol Records and told the Directioners he was 'looking forward to the next part of this journey together'.
He said: 'I'm excited to announce I have signed a record deal with Capitol Records USA and released my first solo song.
'Thank you to all the One Direction fans for your love and support as always. I'm looking forward to the next part of this journey together.'
In the accompanying black and white video Niall gives a stripped-down performance of This Town in a 1 Mic 1 Take promo that premiered today on VEVO.
Going solo: The cover art for the single features lyrics and Niall sporting a simple white T-shirt
Proud: Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson tweeted their support for Niall
The clip, which was filmed in the historic Capitol Studios in Hollywood, simply shows the pop heartthrob singing whilst playing an acoustic guitar.
Niall, 23, recorded the song with Adele's producer Greg Kurstin and he co-wrote the track with long-time One Direction collaborators Jamie Scott, Mike Needle and Daniel Bryer.
Fans first got an indication the 1D hunk had completed his first single when a tweet was sent from the official Radio Disney Twitter account announcing the title before being swiftly deleted.
Hiatus: One Direction, pictured in July, are taking a break to focus on individual projects
Meanwhile, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne tweeted their support for their One Direction bandmate.
'Good luck boss give him all your support huge day for him proud of you boss,' Liam wrote, while Louis added: 'Feeling super proud. You sound great ! Great to see you at your bday bash!!
Last year, One Direction announced they were taking a break, beginning in March.
'They are taking a hiatus so they can work on individual projects for a while but they are not splitting up,' a source told E! News last year. 'They will remain together and plan to work together in the future.'
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