Louis Tomlinson and Steve Aoki performed their collaboration "Just Hold On" — which also serves as Louis's first solo effort since One Direction went on hiatus at the beginning of 2016 — on The X Factor U.K. final on December 10.
And while it was a nostalgic occasion for Tomlinson given his own meteoric rise from the talent competition's stage, it was a somber one despite the jubilant tone of the track — and even Simon Cowell felt compelled to tell the singer just how proud he was of him in such a difficult moment.
The "Just Hold On" debut was supposed to be a new beginning for Tomlinson, but tragedy overshadowed it as his mother, Johannah Deakin, lost her battle against leukemia when she died on December 7. The strength it took for Tomlinson to go on with the show just three days after her passing is mind-blowing, and Cowell, his mentor back from his own X Factor days, offered some comforting words after he and Aoki finished their EDM banger.
"I've known you now for six years," Cowell said. "What you've just done, and the bravery, I respect you as an artist. I respect you as a person. Your mum was so proud of you, Louis, and she was so looking forward to tonight. She's watching down on you now. You've done her proud."
Indeed. Listen to the studio recording of "Just Hold On" below.