Since their solo careers are the topic of so much speculation this week, let's take a look at which 1D member could pull it off. We'll start at the least likely and work our way to Zayn, a beacon of hope, and give them all individual assessments based on the sweet, sweet songs they've made together.
  1. Louis
    With all due respect, there is no universe in which scrappy, sharp-edged Louis Tomlinson goes on to a career as a solo artist. With a baby (A BABY!!) on the way and a vested interest in the financial success and reputation of his hometown football club the Doncaster Rovers, ol' Tommo will have enough on his plate in the coming year without entertaining the idea of hanging his reputation on the voice he never had much confidence in to begin with.
  2. Niall
    It's hard to pinpoint the kind of solo career Niall would pursue because it's not clear it's ever occurred to him to think about one. While his musical talents have dramatically improved since his teens—even more so after Zayn's absence forced him further into the spotlight vocally—he's written comparatively fewer songs than his bandmates and doesn't seem to spend much time in the studio, preferring instead a schedule of laid-back middle-aged-dude activities, like golfing with PGA professionals.
  3. Liam
    Liam has spent the past few years actively learning the ins and outs of music production, co-writing much of 1D's material with Louis, and releasing remixes under the moniker DJ Payno. These efforts would be a smart long-term strategy for him, as there's a streak of puppy-dog earnestness about him that doesn't necessarily jive with the sex appeal needed to seriously compete in the surprisingly narrow genre that is the solo male pop-star.
  4. Harry
    The easiest to notice and easiest to love, Harry was pegged as the Justin Timberlake of the group from day one and, as recently as a year ago, appeared to be laying the groundwork to go it alone. Any solo efforts would certainly be warmly received by ... well, everyone: fans who've pledged serious allegiance to him; people in the industry who've long been convinced a solo career was his destiny. But it remains unclear if those ambitions are his, or if they've just been projected onto
  5. Zayn
    Zayn's smoky 3-octave tenor and beautiful face are reason enough to justify a solo career, but launching and sustaining it will require a different set of tools that he hasn't quite mastered. With the right producers, he could be a next-level vocalist with a strong debut and a degree of immediate success as more of a force in the studio than on the road. His devoted fan base is eager to do whatever they can, and it probably wouldn't take much to win back the fans he angered by leaving 1D.