WATCH: Zayn Malik and Niall Horan’s Totally Awkward Encounter at the 2016 American Music Awards
What do you get when you put a member of One Direction in the same room as his former bandmate? Well, this.
On Sunday night (Nov. 20, 2016), Niall Horan and Zayn Malik, who left the popular boy band in 2015, crossed paths at the 2016 American Music Awards. Though the two were close during their time in 1D, their reunion was nothing short of awkward.
In a video captured by an attendee, Horan, who was making his way through the packed Microsoft Theater with his entourage, stretched out his hand to Malik to give him a handshake. Malik appeared to be caught off-guard and gingerly reciprocated the gesture before Horan was whisked away by his entourage.
Here’s the video of Niall and zayn shaking hands. Zayn was shook. I’m also shook pic.twitter.com/6goi6YA33h
— anne (@EverglowAnne) November 21, 2016
Needless to say, the clip went viral in the One Direction fandom. Emotions ranged from delight, since the boys had an ever-so-brief meeting, to disappointment, over Malik’s seemingly lukewarm welcome.
me: 1d is dead
Niall: says hi to zayn
me: one band one dream one direction
— pau (@cIeartyler) November 21, 2016
Niall didn’t just shake Zayn’s hand he Shook Zayn pic.twitter.com/414nSgzee9
— emily (@emilys1DAF) November 21, 2016
niall and zayn shook hands but I’m the one who’s shook
— kurtis conner (@kurtis_conner) November 21, 2016
ITS SAD HOW YEARS AGO NIALL AND ZAYN WERE MORE THAN BROTHERS THEY WERE ALWAYS TOGETHER AND NOW WHEN THEY MEET THEY ONLY SHAKE HANDS IM SAD
— ilysm zayn (@njhisart) November 21, 2016
Niall had like 30 secs to get from the stage to his seat and he stopped to shake hands with Zayn but Zayn was trying to avoid eye contact +
— leah|ia bc school (@urbansasxc) November 21, 2016
Though Horan was only at the star-studded ceremony to perform his new solo single, “This Town,” Malik nabbed the top honor for New Artist of the Year. While accepting his award, Malik quipped, “Wow. This just has my name on it, right?”
Prior to their brief encounter, Horan expressed his excitement in seeing Malik again after they both decided to pursue their respective solo projects.
“I haven’t spoken to him in a few months or whatever, and haven’t seen him in a while, so I’m looking forward to seeing him,” he told Entertainment Tonight. “This is a show that [One Direction] had success at back in previous years, and had some good performances and had some great nights at, and I’m looking forward to making a few more memories.”