Zain Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles, aka Simon Cowell's 'next big thing', One Direction.
The X Factor finalists reveal their boss even failed to invite them to his LA home during their recent visit.
And they have been left to their own devices in the hope they can conjure up something fresh for the competitive boy band market.
Singer Harry Styles tells Metro: ‘We speak to him a little bit every now and again.’
And when they do hear from Cowell, 51, it’s usually to make sure they are working their butts off, says bandmate Louis Tomlinson.
‘Simon’s the kind of guy that just needs to check in and make sure everything is flowing right and everyone is working the hardest they can work,’ adds the 19-year-old.
‘I think Simon wants us to be the artists we want to be and develop our own sound without being too generic.’
Harry, 17, says the boys won’t be allowed a break until April but they have started ‘experimenting with some things’ during their hectic X Factor tour.
With an album due at the end of the year, Harry is confident the band can stand out – despite Cowell’s lack of input.
‘We just want to surprise people,’ he says.
The boys will play at London’s Wembley Arena on Sunday on the X Factor tour.
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