Weighing in on the surprising moment, Payne told Good Morning Britain: “I believe whatever he felt that he did, he had the right to do. I also felt there were three losers in one fight.”
Yet viewers and commenters on social media were mostly intrigued by the Wolverhampton-born One Direction star’s unfamiliar accent, likening it to a variety of countries including Ireland, the Netherlands and the US.
According to Myles Stephenson, who won The X Factor as part of group Rak-Su in 2017, this was not the first time that Payne’s used a surprising voice.
During an appearance on Capital Xtra’s Tea Time podcast, he referred to the clip from the Oscars’ red carpet and shared a memory about meeting Payne in the past.
“He’s done that to me before,” he told hosts Will Njobvu & Yewande Biala. “He changes his voice. When we [Rak-Su] were on X Factor, he was performing.
“And after, we were walking past, he said, ‘Hello’. We don’t speak with much etiquette.
“He’s come up to us and said: ‘Yes bruv, what are you saying?’”
Elsewhere in Payne’s interview at the Elton John Foundation afterparty, the singer said that he had to leave his seat after Smith’s emotional winner’s speech because “it cut me really deep”.
“It’s a very sad thing, but there was a powerful moment for me to sit and watch one of the world’s best emoters ever we’ve seen speak from the heart and I would rather take the beauty out of the situation than take the pain,” he explained.