"I was slightly surprised to read that Liam signed to another label," Cowell told ET's Denny Directo at an America’s Got Talent live show taping on Tuesday. "I wasn't expecting it. But you know, that happens."
"The great thing about these boys – well, not all of them, but most of them – they are incredibly loyal and you don't always expect that," he told reporters during a recent conference call. "Niall, Harry, Louis. [It's] amazing."
While the former American Idol judge doesn't seem thrilled about Payne's new solo venture, his demeanor in life seems to have brightened since welcoming his first son, Eric, in February 2014, with Lauren Silverman. The proud papa couldn't help but gush about his little boy.
"He's doing amazing," Cowell marveled. "He loves music, loves dancing. He's going to follow me into what I'm doing, I know that."
Cowell previously opened up to ET about Eric back in May, where he said, "He does remind me of me when I was younger because he knows how to get away with things." He also admitted that he used to worry whether his infant son even liked him. Watch the video below to hear more from the music mogul about being a dad.