Payne returned to the show in 2010 for the seventh series. He auditioned with the Michael Bublé version of "Cry Me a River", which earned him four yeses and a standing ovation from Cowell. Payne was considered the second favourite to win the competition following his solo audition. He failed to progress to the "Boys" category at judges' houses, but after a suggestion by Nicole Scherzinger, a guest judge, Payne, along with Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik, were put together to form a five-piece boy band at Wembley Arena, during the bootcamp stage of the competition, thus qualifying for the "Groups" category. Subsequently, the group got together for two weeks to get to know each other and to practice. For their qualifying song at Judges' houses, and their first song as a group, they performed an acoustic version of "Torn". Simon Cowell later commented that the performance convinced him that the group "were confident, fun, like a gang of friends, and kind of fearless as well. " The group quickly gained popularity in the UK, ultimately coming in third place on the show.