Many of us stash away embarrassing photos or home videos from our younger years that we’d rather forget. Think of that tap dance recital when the majority of your moves were enhanced with jazz hands or the middle school play in which you played an inconsequential role, like a stationary shrub.
For today’s generation, those videos are bound to be immortalized on YouTube one way or another. Luckily for the celebrities below, they all had pretty impressive talents that include everything from being a mini pop idol to stuffing and an obscene amount of marshmallows into one mouth.
One Direction’s Liam Payne
Looks like One Direction’s Liam Payne had a steady group of female groupies even before he was in the boy band. Here he is at 15, singing “Lost” at Merry Hill Christmas in 2008. Payne was a music technology student at City of Wolverhampton College and first auditioned for X Factor that same year. Although he made it to the judges’ houses, Simon Cowell didn’t think he was ready for the competition and asked him to come back in two years. Thankfully, he did.
“Hello again, my name is Ed Sheeran and this is How Much Can You Fit in Your Mouth? Today’s episode is Tesco’s Fat Free Marshmallows.” Sheeran chronicled his mediocre foodie adventures on YouTube around age 14 or 15. Other episodes in the series documented how many Maltesers, Jaffa Cakes and Gummy Bears he could fit in his mouth before gagging. Luckily, he had a ‘spotter’ in his aloof assistant Steve. Of course, the singer also used YouTube to promote his fantastic music and his fan base steadily grew until he rocketed to fame with “The A Team” at age 20.
The Wanted’s Nathan Sykes
Here’s an 11-year-old Nathan Sykes giving us a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Notice his cheeky wink at the beginning before turning serious and showing off some impressive snake arms with his backup dancers. His 90s muscle shirt, baggy pants and black sweatband defined my entire generation.
The Wanted’s Jay McGuiness
At the age of 13, The Wanted’s Jay McGuiness went to Charlotte Hamilton School of Dance. And FYI, the person who posted this video made clear they’re not a stalker: “So I used to go to dance class with Jay, and who doesn’t love a bit of before-they-were-famous action hey!” See if you can guess which one is him.
The Wanted’s Siva Kaneswaran
The Wanted’s Siva began his career at 16 when he was signed as a model. He aslo had a supporting role in the British drama Rock Rivals with his brother. The show followed the lives of two celebrity judges on an X Factor style show as their marriage falls apart. Sadly, the show only lasted from March to April 2008. Siva was also in one episode of Uncle Max and was eventually spotted through his modelling campaigns and recruited in the The Wanted.
One Direction’s Zayn Malik
One Direction’s Zayn Malik was in the company of a 2006 school production of Grease, though we’re not sure who he played. The video is pretty grainy but you can see the guy had style even at 13, in his cool leather jacket.
The Wanted’s Max George
Before he was in The Wanted, Max auditioned for X Factor in 2006 with his former five-person boy band Avenue. They were later disqualified from the competition because they were already signed before the show and intended to use the television exposure for publicity. Another fun fact? Before joining The Wanted Max was also a football player with Preston North End.