Niall James Horan (born 13 September 1993) is an Irish singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known as a member of the boy band One Direction. In 2010, Horan auditioned as a solo artist for the seventh series of the British televised singing competition The X Factor. He failed to progress to the "Boys" category at the "judges' houses", but after guest judge Nicole Scherzinger suggested that Niall join One Direction, with Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson, the group became a reality. The five-piece band made it to the final and finished in third place. Even though they did not win, One Direction was signed by Simon Cowell to a reported £2 million Syco record contract.