Liam Payne Shines On ‘The Tonight Show’

He’s offering something a little more than just singing.

Former One Direction member and last one of the group to release a solo single, Liam Payne, visited the Tonight Show last night to show he’s more than just a singer; he’s also a secret ingredient taste-tester and a pretty good dancer.

The episodes’ first skit included Liam joining Jimmy Fallon, Ashton Kutcher, and Vanessa Hudgens with host Mario Batali introducing a 3 course meal, with each meal containing a secret and very unusual ingredient. Though none of the courses received 5 stars from any of the contestants, they did get some spit bucket action and a solid “that nasty” review from Liam.

Later on in the episode, Liam performed his debut single “Strip That Down” minus Quavo but with the addition of some back up dancers and dance moves of his own. As the fourth member of One Direction to perform on the Tonight Show (Harry has not performed on the show but instead performed on SNL with host Jimmy Fallon), Payne showed something different than the other boybanders.

Zayn’s performance on Fallon featured his stunning vocals shining through the dark stage and bright flashing lights as he remained rather stoic. Niall has chosen to go down the comfortable Ed Sheeran route with his guitar in hand and simple yet still enjoyable performances. Louis joined DJ Steve Aoki for a typical EDM style performance which involved jumping and getting the crowd excited with the support of a good beat. Despite not having performed on the Tonight Show, Harry’s classic rock style performances have been backed by his full band of women and men along with eclectic choices of suits.

Though it’s obvious all the musical styles of each member are very different from each others’, Liam not only demonstrated his favor of hip-hop style and influence but a different stage presence in general.

As a group, Liam often took the time during performances to get the crowd involved with singing as loud as they could or providing extra cheer in the middle of a song. He didn’t let that go during his first solo performance but also welcomed something the group never wanted to do during their 5 years and what made them stand out from other boybands: dance. With a small group of backup dancers Liam occasionally joined them for some synchronized moves while still effortlessly showing off his incredible vocals which were not surprisingly much better live than on the record.

With his vocal ability and new dance moves, it’s easy to see that Liam has found the path he would like to walk on. A performance style similar to Justin Bieber and Justin Timberlake is what makes Liam stand out from the other members as a full performer who offers a lot of stage presence despite not having four other boys by his side.

It’s a difficult feat for newly single members and can often be disruptive in solo performances. For example, Camila Cabello, who left Fifth Harmony this past year to pursue a solo career, showed she has some catchy tunes and an interesting voice but failed to perform her debut single “Crying in the Club” at the BBMAs without looking as if the four other girls ditched her last minute.

After all the members of One Direction have released singles and/or full albums and performed, it hardly takes effort to pick out Liam Payne and Harry Styles as the ones who show the most promise in their solo efforts. Music and performance styles are practically on opposite ends of the spectrum, but their stage presence is undeniable.

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