Sunday 25 August 2019

Simon Cowell presented with music industry award by One Direction

Simon Cowell created One Direction on The X Factor in 2010
Simon Cowell created One Direction on The X Factor in 2010

One Direction have presented Simon Cowell with the Music Industry Trusts Award at a ceremony packed with performances and tributes from famous friends.

After being called to the stage by the boy band, Cowell joked: "Just by luck I get the award I've been wanting all my life and I'm completely hammered. Guys, who misses Zayn?"

Cowell, 56, was honoured with the 24th MITS Award in recognition of his contribution to the music and entertainment industry, as well as charitable causes.

He was joined on stage by One Direction, the band he created on The X Factor in 2010 and signed to his record label, Syco.

After five years of global success, the boy band are due to take a long break after playing the final date of their On The Road Again Tour in Sheffield on Saturday. The band became four instead of five after Zayn Malik left in March to pursue a solo career.

Speaking on stage, One Direction's Liam Payne said: "When we started on X Factor we could never have image ones how Simon would change our lives."

Accepting the award, Cowell thanked the inventor of Botox, saying: "You have no idea how much money you've made me. I can't look surprised but ... "

He also dedicated the award to his late father and to his mother, who died earlier this year.

On his 20-month-old son Eric, the music mogul said: "I hope he will be standing here in 23 years' time as I'm being wheeled into the Grosvenor House Hotel on my second pack of cigarettes."

The evening featured live performances from three other artists signed to Syco: Labrinth, Il Divo, and Olly Murs. There was also a performance from Leona Lewis, who became his protege after winning The X Factor in 2006.

Prime Minister David Cameron, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Curtis, James Corden, Kevin Spacey, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Louis Walsh, Little Mix and Ella Henderson were among those who praised Cowell in a video tribute played at the gala ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Mr Cameron said: "Simon, you may be known as TV's bad guy, but for many years you've been doing good. Simon, you may not have tact but you certainly have talent."

Winfrey said: "He has turned honesty into an art form."

In the tribute, former X Factor judge Walsh, 63, recalled their first meeting, when he was the manager of Westlife.

"I'd never met a man so camp and English in my life ... I wanted to work with the little f****r," he said.

Walsh will now be back as a judge on the X Factor - but only for a day. The former talent show judge bid £20,000 at a live auction for the chance to "Be an X Factor Judge". The prize includes the chance to sit in the judges' seats for a full dress rehearsal for the live show.

Walsh was axed from the X Factor for this year's series, but is clearly keen to be back.

Cowell also won a signed music and lyric sheet to the One Direction song Story Of My Life, bidding against Topshop boss Sir Phillip Green. After a bidding war, Cowell took away the prize for £50,000.

Previous music industry figures to be recognised include Sir Elton John, Lord Lloyd-Webber, Sir Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue, Jools Holland, Gary Barlow, Annie Lennox and Michael Eavis. The evening was hosted by radio presenter Jo Whiley.

Cowell is a judge on both The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent. His television production and music publishing house Syco, a joint venture with Sony Music, has signed artists including One Direction, Little Mix, Susan Boyle, Ella Henderson, Il Divo, Labrinth, Fifth Harmony and Collabro.

More than 1,200 guests from across the music industry attended the charity event, in aid of music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins and the BRIT School.

PA Media

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