Eight years on Welshman Tom, who earned his living singing at weddings, got another chance when Tomlinson used his crucial voice as a judge to take him to the next round of The X Factor.
After Tom James Let Let It Go and Rag & # 39; N & # 39; Bone Man's Skin sang, Tomlinson told him, "I find that really difficult because we obviously auditioned together and there's a personal element there.
"I thought it was a good audition, but it did not feel 100% authentic, I can only say what I feel and I'm sorry.
"But here's the thing, if you get this chance, it's one thing you have to take note of, how truly original. Look Tom, I want to give a yes."
Louis asked him, "Tell me what you've done in the last eight years, nine years, ten years," and Tom joked, "I was very busy, give me money, and I'll sing."
Later, a tearful Tom told X Factor host Dermot O'Leary that his audition felt like reliving his 2010 heartbreak and promised to "pull all the stops for the next round."
He first tried to impress Judge Simon Cowell, Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Field.
But after singing Let It Go for the first time, Cowell interrupted what Tom called the greatest moment of his life and said that everything about his audition was "over-thought" and unnatural.
Tom got another opportunity, the Rag & # 39; N & # 39; Bone Man track to sing and hook up. But Cowell was unmoved and as a mentor he said he did not know what to do with his style.
Williams and Field praised Tom's desire and hunger to prevail in the competition, leaving it to Tomlinson to cast the crucial vote.
Tomlinson was also recorded with 20-year-old Georgia Burgess, who works in temporary recruiting, said her version of The Jackson 5 Who's Loving You was the best he had seen during the audition phase.
Also in the next round was the 23-year-old church singer and youth worker Armstrong Miller.
Armstrong, who said he had a difficult childhood after moving out of his family at the age of 13, inspired the judges with an acoustic reworking of Breaking Free from the hit US television series High School Musical.
Carpenter Ricky John, 37, homeless for eight years, seemed to be struggling with a throat problem and staggered with Sam Cook's A Change Is Gonna Come, but recovered and took a seat in the next round.
● The X-Factor is on ITV today at 8pm.