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Simon Cowell 'surprised' by Liam Payne's new signing

Simon Cowell 'surprised' by Liam Payne's new signing

Simon Cowell was "surprised" to hear Liam Payne had signed a solo deal with his rival Capitol Records.

The 56-year-old music mogul was a little disappointed when he found out the One Direction hunk had decided against staying with his company Syco Music following his band's decision to take an extended hiatus earlier this year.

Speaking to 'Entertainment Tonight' Simon said: "I was slightly surprised to read that Liam signed to another label. I wasn't expecting it. But you know, that happens."

The 'X Factor' boss seemingly took a swipe at the 22-year-old singer when he praised the "loyalty" of his band mates -Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles and Niall Horan - but failed to mention him.

He said earlier this week: "We're in touch with them all. The great thing about all these boys - well not all of them but most of them - they are incredibly loyal and you don't always expect that. Niall, Harry, Louis - amazing."

Liam - who is dating Cheryl Fernandez-Versini - announced the news of his new record deal last week but said One Direction would always be his "family".

He said at the time: "I'm really happy to have signed to such a prestigious label as Capitol Records UK.

"Capitol Records has an amazing history stretching right back before even Frank Sinatra and I'm really looking forward to becoming part of their story.

"One Direction will always be my family; I'm now excited to show what I can do as a solo artist."