Louis Tomlinson made an emotional return to the X Factor on Saturday evening (10Dec16), performing his new single Just Hold On only three days after his mom Johannah Deakin's death from leukemia.
The live audience at the show which made One Direction famous went wild as Louis launched into the new single, a project with DJ Steve Aoki who played keyboards on a raised portion of the square platform they stood on. Digital lighting behind them spelled out the name of the song, while plenty of smoke cascaded around them from fog machines during the performance. Louis was introduced by show host Dermot O'Leary as he stood center stage in a white T-shirt with a multi-colored lightning bolt design and skinny jeans.
Though the song's lyrics included the line "It's not over til your dying breath", Louis managed to stay strong through the performance though his voice cracked with emotion toward the end. He immediately earned a huge standing ovation from the audience and the X Factor's judges in turn - Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell.
Louis did not say anything to the audience though he had returned to Twitter earlier in the day (10Dec16) ahead of his performance, writing to his 25.3 million followers: "All the support has been incredible! Let's do this together tonight ."
Simon Cowell, though, had something to say immediately after the performance, addressing Louis directly with a touching tribute.
"Louis, I have to say I've known you for six years. The bravery of what you've done. I respect you as an artist, as a person and your mom was so proud of you and she was so excited for the performance. She's looking down on you tonight."
Also on Saturday, Briana Jungwirth, Louis' ex-girlfriend and the mother of his 11-month-old son Freddie, paid tribute to her ex's late mother, writing on Instagram, "My heart aches. Every time I look at Freddie, I see you in him Jay. I will always remember the times we shared and the talks we had. I looked up to you and sadly only knowing you for a short time, I aspired to be just like you in a mother to Freddie."