Some of the most famous X Factor contestants didn’t even win the show! One Direction, for example, might just be the biggest success story to come from the singing competition franchise, and they finished in third place during their season.

As fans know, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Niall Horan went on to take over the world, and reignite the boyband craze. However, after five albums, the group announced their indefinite hiatus in late 2015. Since then, some of the boys have reflected on their time in the group, sharing positive memories.

“I think the typical thing is to come out of a band like that and almost feel like you have to apologize for being in it,” Harry, for one, shared with Vogue in November 2020. “But I loved my time in it. It was all new to me, and I was trying to learn as much as I could. I wanted to soak it in … I think that’s probably why I like traveling now — soaking stuff up.”

While all the members have addressed a possible reunion in the past, Harry is quite possibly the former 1D member who misses the band the most.

“I feel really lucky that we always had each other to be this unit that felt like you could keep each other in check and you could just have someone else who gets it,” he said while chatting with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 in May 2022. “Because it’s impossible to not, at times I think everyone experiences this, feel like, ‘Oh, everyone else is on the other side of the glass and I’m on this side of the glass, and no one really gets it.’”

The “Watermelon Sugar” singer continued, “And I think having that is kind of priceless. I think there is very much a respect between all of us, if we did something together. And that is something that you can’t really undo. And you know, it’s like a very deep love for each other, I think.”

They’re not the only famous faces to have come from the competition series. Remember Emblem3? Wesley Stromberg, Keaton Stromberg and Drew Chadwick had some ups and downs in the public eye, but they’ve since reunited to continue making music as a group.

Click through our gallery to see which X Factor contestants have found success in the public eye following their appearance on the show. 

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