'X Factor's' Simon Cowell on Fifth Harmony: 'They Remind Me of One Direction'

X Factor finale Fifth Harmony night 1 P
Ray Mickshaw / FOX

Simon Cowell was beaming after X Factor’s performance show on Wednesday. And with good reason -- his last group standing, the pre-fab Fifth Harmony, were the talk of the night. Impressing both the judges, the studio audience and no doubt countless viewers watching at home, the five girls who were thrown together by the series’ creator had the most handicaps coming into the competition -- namely: little time to gel, form their group identity or even settle on a good name.

“I think they've had the hardest things to overcome,” said Cowell, “They worked really hard and in the last two weeks, I could feel a change -- where people suddenly got what they were about.”

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Indeed, with a three-song selection that included “Anything Could Happen” by Ellie Goulding, “Give Your Heart A Break” with and by Demi Lovato and The Beatles’ “Let It Be,” the five girls -- Allyson Brooke Hernandez, Normani Kordei Hamilton, Lauren Michelle Jauregui, Karla Camila Cabello and Dinah Jane Hansen -- swiftly moved from the back of the pack to the front. In the words of their mentor, Cowell: “To perform as they did tonight, it's incredible. They looked like proper pop stars. … I don’t think we could have done any more.”

Now the question remains: will it be a squeaker or a slam-dunk? And if they don’t win, would that be so bad? Look at One Direction. “I think there’s a gap in the market for a girl group like his,” added Cowell. “They remind me of One direction in terms of their personalities, they're fun to work with, hard-working, opinionated -- that's what you want in a group.”

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You also want that fivesome to sell, said Cowell, just as he would like to see a spike in ratings. “It's important -- I have to be standing here in a year’s time and hopefully be talking about the success of these artists. If I'm not, I've got a problem.”

Putting the cart before the horse, perhaps? After all, there’s at least one judge’s seat to fill first. Said Cowell when asked to name his dream candidates: “Normally, I wait for people to call me rather than for me to call them. And that's what normally happens.”

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