See Liam Payne, James Corden Battle in Boy Band Sing-Off - Rolling Stone
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See Liam Payne, James Corden Battle in Boy Band Sing-Off

Former One Direction member sets out to prove that solo acts can hold their own

Liam Payne duked it out with James Corden on The Late Late Show on Wednesday to determine which group has better music: male solo artists or their boy band counterparts.

Corden began the segment talking about Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way.” “It’s just a fact: boy bands are better than solo artists,” he declared. “They got the hits, they got the choreographed dances.” Payne, who is embarking on his solo career following One Direction, burst onstage to dispute Corden’s assertion. “Don’t get me wrong,” he said. “Boy bands are great, obviously. But you can’t be slumming solo artists.”

Moments later, the two were singing in heated competition, backed by the a cappella group the Filharmonic. Corden made his case for boy bands by performing N’Sync’s “Tearin’ Up My Heart” and Hanson’s “MMMBop.” In response, Payne sang George Michael’s “Faith” – ending with an emphatic hip thrust in Corden’s direction – Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” and his own hit single “Strip That Down.” After Payne claimed victory, he joined forces with Corden to sing One Direction’s “Best Song Ever.”

Payne also sat for an interview with Corden. The Late Late Show host congratulated Payne on the birth of new boy, whose name is Bear, and Payne explained that the unusual moniker stemmed from his child’s size – “he’s humongous!” – and his penchant for noisemaking.

This week on the Hot 100, Payne’s “Strip That Down” – which features Migos’ Quavo – climbed into the Top Ten, giving Payne his first major U.S. hit as a solo act. He penned the track, which interpolates Shaggy’s Number One “It Wasn’t Me,” with Ed Sheeran and Sheeran’s “Shape of You” co-writer Steve Mac. 

“We were trying to write a song that was like, if Justin Timberlake left N’Sync now, what would he put out?” Payne explained earlier this year. “That was the concept of the song. This is what we came up with.”


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