Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images, Ben Hider/Getty Images

Wait…Is Zayn Malik In The Studio With The Vamps?!

NOT A COOL JOKE, GUYS.

We already know that estranged One Directioner Zayn Malik has been holing up in the studio with producer Naughty Boy. They’ve even released a song already, proving Z’s solo train is chugging along at warp speed. But is it possible that the real reason he peaced out of 1D is because he secretly wants to join another hot boy band?

DUN DUN DUN!

Despite the fact that April Fools Day has come and gone, Brit boy banders The Vamps decided it would be TOTALLY FUNNY AND NOT CRUEL AT ALL to give us heart palpitations with this pic of a freakishly convincing Zayn Malik lookalike in their studio.

Go ahead — pull out a microscope, squint your eyes as narrowly as you can, and just admit it: from the all-black ensemble to the the big hair and scruffy facial hair, the dude totally passes for one Zayn Malik.

Naturally, fans of both bands promptly started freaking the f—k out at the possibility that Z had jumped ship to another boy band.

But others saw the potential silver lining here. Could Zayn bring some much-needed, R&B-flavored ~edge~ to the “Somebody Like You” babes? Would he start taking guitar or keyboard lessons to fit in with the Vamps (remember, these are guys who play their own instruments, thankyouverymuch). Oh, the possibilities!

As you’ve probably figured out already, that’s not *really* Zayn in The Vamps’ studio pic. It’s actually the band’s manager and resident practical joker, Joe O’Neill, who may have had a little too much fun basking in the outrage and retweeting a bunch of fans’ frenzied responses.

Whew! That was a close one, guys.