It is fascinating when a boy in a boy band does not do what he has been told, and in that regard Zayn Malik is a fascinating character. Half Pakistani, he is the hot one, and the only gesture toward diversity in what is otherwise a lily-white band. He would—or will—be the breakout star, the one with a solo career.
He is also the only one capable of doing things with his voice that go beyond an above-average high-school musical theater performance. Zayn gets the soulful-ish, croony moments that Justin Timberlake got to sing for ’N Sync—like “I don’t wanna be your fool in this game for two” in “Bye Bye Bye”—and he handles them nicely.