Apparently, Liam Payne is the Tom Holland of One Direction, because once again, he blabbed about the potential 1D reunion that everyone has been freaking out about over the past week. If you remember, first the boys all followed Zayn on Twitter (though he hasn’t followed them back yet), then Liam spoke about doing something special for the tenth anniversary to The Sun, and again on The Late Late Show with James Corden. (Apparently Louis chided him for this in their group chat, which I absolutely love the idea of. Imagine the group chat!)
In the latest instance of Liam Payne Talks Too Much, he hinted that Zayn would not be part of the reunion plans during an Instagram live with DJ Alesso. (In this day and age, Insta lives are now just forums for people to say sh-t that they shouldn’t.)
Are we surprised? Take off your 1D, rose-coloured glasses (@Kathleen), look deep into your heart, and ask yourself, do you really think Zayn would have showed up for any sort of reunion? He’s hugely successful. He’s back with his hot, super model gf who claps back for him. His fans love him. 1D fans already blame him for breaking up the group. So, what does he have to gain?
Zayn will forever be tied to both the group and his shocking departure no matter how hard he tries to distance himself. But that breakup wasn’t amicable, despite any Facebook post that tries to convince us otherwise. And the Twitter beef between Louis, Zayn, and Naughty Boy (ugh) only exposed what had likely been brewing for a while.
Over the years, we’ve learned more about the reasons behind Zayn’s departure. He was creatively stifled. He didn’t make any friends and felt like an outsider. Snide comments were made. On top of that, the Boy Band Schedule and Lifestyle just didn’t gel with Zayn’s chill, expressionless vibe. Time heals all wounds sure, but I’m not sure five years is enough to recover from all of that.
It seems like the others are trying to do their part and make amends. They followed Zayn on Twitter, presumably as a show of goodwill. They’ve also changed his position on Google from “ex-member” to “vocalist”, and the band’s banner image on Apple Music now features an older image with all five.
This is what confuses me. If you’re trying to build a bridge to the “Island of Zayn”, why would you ask (even jokingly) someone to replace him on an Instagram live? Did they already ask Zayn and he rejected? Was it just Liam’s stupid mistake? Or was it for the optics?
By optics I mean this. Extending a Twitter olive branch makes 1D seem like the bigger people in this situation. I’m sure they know that he wouldn’t be game for it. Liam even admits this on The Jonathan Ross Show:
“I don't think [Zayn re-joining] will ever happen. When he left, it wasn't on great terms... if he didn't want to be here, then he shouldn't be here. Which is fine, and he's doing really well, so I don't want to mess with his stuff."
The whole narrative of whether Zayn will be present or not puts the ball in his court. It also means we can blame him if he’s not there. “The others tried, but Zayn didn’t want to” will likely be the story, which absolves the other four of any responsibility. But there’s always more sh-t underneath the surface that we don’t see. If Zayn isn’t part of this event, whose fault is it actually?
When Lainey first wrote about the reunion, she made the bold statement: five or nothing! It’s looking less likely that we’ll get five. Do we care as much about four? It’s exciting for sure, but a 1D reunion without Zayn will always live in the shadow of what could’ve been. Plus, it depends on what they choose to do. A group Instagram live is different from a new album – unlikely, I know!
Not much is known except that they’re trying to schedule a group FaceTime call this week. According to a source for The Sun, “they are back in touch but talks between them are only about something small to mark the anniversary.” And while quarantine provides people with a good excuse to reconnect, it also makes planning events harder, meaning anything they plan is probably not going to be very elaborate right now. A small event with only 4/5 of the original band? I won’t lie, my expectations are definitely lowered.