The often stoic Zayn was already hesitant to perform during his season of X Factor UK in 2010 when One Direction was formed-- so much so that he initially refused to take part in a choreographed dance to Lady Gaga's "Telephone" with other contestants.
"I seriously don't want to do it," a then 17-year-old Zayn says during one memorable episode. "'Cause I hate dancing, and I've never done it before and I just feel like an idiot."
It takes a backstage pep talk from Simon Cowell himself to get him on-stage.
"You can't just hide .. you're ruining this for yourself," Cowell tells him bluntly. "If you can't do it now, you're never going to be able to do it."
The 22-year-old singer eventually does take part in the group dance, and while it's not exactly flawless, he's obviously pretty charming despite a few nerves.
Zayn officially left the British boy band on Wednesday, after surprisingly dropping out of the One Direction tour last week.
"I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight," he said in a statement. "My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band."
The past year clearly hasn't been easy on Zayn -- he's had to face cheating rumors, dropped out of multiple shows due to "falling ill," and has had to defend himself against allegations of "substance abuse" from tabloids and Matt Lauer alike.
Watch the video below for more on Zayn's One Direction departure.