Simon Cowell caused a bit of an awkward moment at the Music Industry Trust Awards on Monday evening. Accepting the 24th MITS award in recognition of his contribution to the music and entertainment industry as well as his charity work, the ‘X-Factor’ judge thought the time was right to make a Zayn Malik joke in front of his former bandmates.

Simon CowellSimon Cowell made a Zayn Malik joke as he was honoured at the Music Industry Trusts awards.

Taking to the stage to accept the award from the One Direction boys, Cowell quipped: "Just by luck I get the award I've been wanting all my life and I'm completely hammered. Guys, who misses Zayn?”

While the audience laughed, Zayn’s former bandmates seemed a little less impressed, before Cowell added, "We all get old but I've still got charisma.” Speaking about the moment on his Radio One Breakfast show this morning, Nick Grimshaw said, ”It was a little bit awkward.”

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"There was this really moving film where everyone throughout his career talked about everything he's done. And the first thing he asked was the question about Zayn. The room was like, ‘oooh'. It was a bit awkward but he likes doing things like that,” the ‘X-Factor’ judge added.

The 56 year went on to thank the inventor of Botox during his speech, saying: "You have no idea how much money you've made me. I can't look surprised but... “ Cowell also dedicated the award to his late father and to his mother Julie, who passed away earlier this year.

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Speaking about his 20-month-old son Eric, who was named after his late father, Cowell added: "I hope he will be standing here in 23 years time as I'm being wheeled into the Grosvenor House Hotel on my second pack of cigarettes.”

The event also saw former ‘X-Factor’ judge Louis Walsh pay £20,000 during a special charity auction to rejoin the talent show for a day during rehearsals. Walsh was a judge on the ITV series for 10 years, before being replaced earlier this year by new judges Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw.