WELCOME TO THE CLUB, LIAM PAYNE.
Joining the ranks of previous Most Handsome Young Men winners Adam Scott, Joel McHale, John Cho, Harry Styles, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Niall Horan, is Harry and Niall’s bandmate Liam. (Dain’t you worry, Louis will get his turn. It’s time to start winning, after all.)
Liam’s competition – Prince Harry, Ted Danson, Donald Glover, Chris Hemsworth, Henry Golding, Lakieth Stanfield, made a valiant effort, ESPECIALLY Henry, who really gave Liam a run for his money. (Henry, you are extraordinarily handsome, and you’re just getting started. We salute you and your handsome face.)
Usually, our winners get an appreciation post in their honor. The trouble is, uhhhh, we’ve already done one for Liam. (What? It was his birthday.) So, we’re changing up the formula, and instead saluting the year in Liam thirst. He was RELENTLESS in delivering us content this year and we are drinking it up like we’ve been wandering through the desert for WEEKS.
So, thank you to everyone who voted and shared and campaigned and made this another Most Handsome Young Man era to remember. And now, without any further ado, the Top Ten Liam Thirst Moments of 2018. — Sage
1) The “For You” Video and Live Performances
The Fifty Shades trilogy didn’t give us much. Just co-star Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan’s palpable dislike of each other, and three pretty decent soundtracks. For Fifty Shades Freed (whooooo cares), Liam teamed up with Rita Ora for a sexy sexy sexy duet, and a video for said duet where they brood in a mansion in half-undone formalwear. There is A LOT of hand porn. I admit I wasn’t sure about the abundance of hand tats at first, but this video made me a believer.
It checks down the boxes of a list I didn’t know I’d mentally written: white button-down shirt rolled up to the elbow, what I’m head-canoning as a ridiculously expensive scotch in a decanter by the unmade bed he’s lounging on, lots of Liam puppy-dog-sex-eyes into the camera, and face touching.
The face touching translated into live performances of the song, which gave us a crystal-clear mental image of what it looks like when Liam is putting the moves on you. Deliberately. Intensely. (DID I ASK.) — Sage
2) The Puppy Interview
Are we cheating a little bit by including this interview since it happened in 2017? Sure. Do I really care? Not in the slightest because I think about how Pete the Puppy immediately imprinted on Liam on a daily basis.
As much as I thirst after Liam, I also call him a puppy dog on a regular basis. BECAUSE HE IS ONE. Those warm brown eyes, the way his smile takes over his whole face, his unbridled and pure enthusiasm? The man is a giant puppy. AND a 100% confirmed dog person. (Basically, if you ever want to get him to notice you, just walk around the city with your dog. He’ll find you.) Just look at his reaction to the puppies storming towards him.
MY WHOLE FUCKING HEART. Plus, I am super into his hair in this interview.
Honestly, I am still upset that Liam didn’t immediately take this dog home with him.
In conclusion, this entire interview is an attack on all sides and a very worthy bulletpoint to celebrate our new Handsome Young Man. — Kim
3) The “Flip and Twirl”
“Liam’s got moves” is one of my most used Ao3 tags, but this? This is his #1.
The thing about the mic flip is that it’s quietly devastating. It’s just a part of the show, second nature to Lime since the early days of One Direction. It’s effortless, practiced, skilled. (Try not to think about the implications of Liam being THAT good with his hands. You can’t/)
You’re just going about your business, watching Liam go off on a verse (probably with a note change or two), and then it happens: he flips the mic one-handed, catches it, then launches into the next phrase. I’ve been watching him do it for literal years, and it still makes me catch my breath every time. –Sage
Let me just say this first: I love and respect Liam Payne as an artist and human being. But I don’t know how else I am supposed to react to his Instagram other than go hnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggghhhhhhh.
Listen, Liam has been pretty candid in the past about struggles with his body and the tabloids calling him fat. The boy works hard for that body, so why SHOULDN’T he show it off? And honestly, we’re all the more blessed for it.
I think my favorite thing about the half naked instas is always the completely unrelated captions. How am I supposed to know what my favorite song on the EP is when Liam is doing shirtless yoga?
One only need to take one look at his Stories to know that Liam is massive fan of the naked in bed and “Oh look at me I’m in the shower” and “I can’t sleep so Imma smolder” selfies. It’s a constant attack of handsome and one I never want to stop. — Kim
5) Specifically, THE Vein
Again, I want to reiterate that I respect Liam very much as a person, an artist, and a businessman. But as long as he keeps giving us thirst material, I’m not going to deny myself the pleasure of loudly and proudly responding to it.
The vein in Liam’s bicep has become known between Kim and I as “THE vein.” You know the one. It’s always popping out to say hello. (Is there a doctor in the house who can tell us what it’s CALLED? Let us know in the comments if you’re smort.) It’s like an old friend at this point, and I, for one, am always delighted to become reacquainted with it. Also, Lima, if you’re ever up for taking on any personal training clients pro bono, I’m your girl. — Sage
6) The TMRW Magazine Shoot
Soooooooo this shoot dropped RIGHT after Sage and I had finalized the nominee slate for this year and our biggest reaction was “HE KNOWS AND HE WANTS TO WIN.”
We shouldn’t be surprised about the content coming from TMRW Magazine, to be honest. They are the ones that blessed us with this college professor glasses REALNESS with 2017’s Most Handsome Young Man Niall Horan after all.
SPEAKING OF GLASSES:
Liam has been pretty open about wanting to get into acting and talking about going on auditions. May I submit this photo to be considered as James Potter for the Marauders movie we all deserve?
LOOK AT THE CRINKLES I AM SUFFERING.
If this is the kind of content we can expect from Liam in 2019, we’re in for a very very very good year. — Kim
7) His Solo Show at the Beacon Theatre
This summer, we had the pleasure of seeing Liam headline a show at one of the prettiest venues in New York City. This was pre-EP, so he didn’t have enough original songs to fill a full setlist. So we got a night of his singles and collabs mashed up with some covers (P!nk’s “What About Us?”, Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” etc.) and of course, a few One Direction tracks, including “History” with the video playing behind it, because Liam is a secret demon.
It had been far too long since we’d seen this boy living his best life on stage, and SO GOOD to see him back in his element. He was beaming all night, and looked right at home. It’s physically impossible to watch Liam Payne listen to a crowd singing the lyrics back to him and NOT be moved, such is his infectious love for performing and making people happy. We screamed and sang until we were hoarse, then ended up on the subway with some girls who’d hijacked a life-size Liam standee from the lobby, and it was this beautiful, communal experience that made everyone feel just a teeny bit better about life. — Sage
One of One Direction’s biggest legacies is their REFUSAL to give into the whole “boy bands need choreography to be successful” mythos. Thus, their concerts were mainly just a group of wild hyena children flailing about on stage in the most charming way possible. Thus, when Liam embarked on his solo career, especially when it became apparent that his songs WOULD require dancing, his choreographers referred to it as movement “as not to scare him.” In those first few solo performances of “Strip That Down” in 2017, you could SEE the fear in his eyes.
WELL NO MORE.
LOOK AT HIM SHAKE THOSE HIPS. Look at him not MOVING but DANCING with confidence. LOOK AT HIM GOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
Having witnessed this in person during his show at the Beacon, I can unequivocally say that Liam’s moves will change you as a person. I’m telling you, I was weak in the knees.
And the thing is…HE KNOWS IT. Look at that lil smirk in the second gif. He can dance, he can jive, having the time of his life. Oooooooooh see that boy, watch that scene, digging the Dancin’ King. — Kim
9) His Twitter
Honestly life feels like a movie sometimes,the ups and downs and twists and turns, despite the drama choose your own genre try and make it a comedy or a romcom and when you need to bring the action ??— Liam (@LiamPayne) October 31, 2018
The emotions of my job sometimes can send me all over the place I’m sure loads of people experience the same thing in different ways… there will always be tomorrow to take the day again so heads up everyone sleep on it ??— Liam (@LiamPayne) October 26, 2018
https://t.co/pK43KBQVJV My team is full of talented, smart professional women. I find it wrong that they are reduced to being linked to me romantically in the press just for simply standing next to me. Isn’t it time we treat women with a bit more respect?— Liam (@LiamPayne) October 21, 2018
Ok I know I should be concentrating on my song right now but I’m so sad that @ChrisEvans isn’t playing captain America anymore ??♂️??♂️??♂️— Liam (@LiamPayne) October 5, 2018
This one speaks to what I like to call heart-thirst. Is there anything more endearing than Liam tweeting something pure and emotional in the middle of the day for no reason at all? No, indeed there is not.
Do you feel overwhelmed by life sometimes? So does he. Do you have to take a mental health day every once in a while? Liam supports you. Are you tired of British tabloids treating women like accessories? Same. Did Chris Evans’ tweet about being wrapped as Captain America throw you into a tailspin? You are not alone.
On top of that, Liam is great at sharing fan works and shouting out fan campaigns – a small thing that goes a long way in terms of making those fans feel appreciated and like they’re really a part of something bigger. And, because he’s everybody’s boyfriend, Liam also keeps a frequently updated Spotify playlist to keep you company when he’s away on tour.
Handsome young men should also be in touch with their emotions and considerate of others, I always say. And Liam’s social media, snake habitat tweet included, has only ever been used for good. –Sage
10) Fashion Evolution
Of the 1D boys, Liam’s style has been the most inconsistent since this “hiatus” started. You have Harry and his flamboyantly outrageous suits and the whole catalog of Gucci at his feet. Niall and his clean cut skinnies, band tees, and crisp button downs. Louis, while he changes up his style pretty much once every two years, consistently stays on brand for whatever he’s decided is his look of the moment. Liam’s style has been a bit schizophrenic, from the Payne Chains, to the mesh Gucci shirt, to flashy streetwear, to immaculately tailored suits for his big nights out. It’s a bit like fashion whiplash, if I’m being honest.
Listen, I don’t know who the HELL Liam hired as his new stylist in the back half of 2018, but JFC are they ever good at their job. They know the meaning of clean and fitted lines, of interesting patterns that don’t WEAR Liam, and the importance of ONE good statement piece in an outfit that shines. It felt like all of the sudden we could see LIAM and he carried himself completely different and with more confidence. It’s all very very very good.
THOSE PANTS THOUGH. And he’s starting to rival Louis in terms of loving good jackets.
Liam has also discovered how good a simple geometric looks on him…
In short, we here at Head Over Feels couldn’t be happier with the current state of Liam’s fashion. It’s on trend but classic. It shows him off without ever becoming the FOCUS. He looks comfortable in his own skin and more confident. And that’s the handsomest thing of all. — Kim
And, because we love you, here’s a bonus vintage thirst moment…
Once you see it, about a minute into this interview promoting Made in the AM, you’ll never be able to UNSEE IT.
I rest my case, your honor. — Kim
CONGRATS LIAM! May your reign as Handsome Young Man be as handsome as humanly possible.