Simon Cowell is up to his old tricks with all new talent -- after doing some digging and putting together a few puzzle pieces ... we're certain you're looking at the first shots of his next group of young hitmakers.
This all started when we found a trademark application Simon's company filed in January for "Pretty Much." According to the docs, the name would be used in connection with musical recordings, videos, ringtones and tons of merchandise typically associated with bands. Doesn't take a genius to know Cowell has something cooking.
Now, cut to Friday evening when we got these pics of 5 dudes showing up at Cowell's Bev Hills mansion. He clearly trusted them, since he let them take his vintage Bronco for a spin ... although he kept a watchful eye from the front passenger seat.
We know there's been industry buzz Simon's about to launch a new group to continue his ridiculous string of success -- One Direction, Fifth Harmony, Little Mix, etc -- but he's been keeping details under wraps.
Nonetheless, we've heard descriptions of the guys he's putting together -- and we'll just say this ... these pics match ... Pretty Much.