It’s a decision that has sparked fury among X Factor fans and embroiled the prime-time entertainment show in yet another headline-grabbing controversy.
On Sunday night Madonna wannabe Katie Waissel was put through to the live finals of the show by her mentor Cheryl despite fluffing her audition — and not for the first time.
What has angered fans is that her ticket to the finals came at the expense of Gamu Nhengu, whose performances have been faultless.
Outraged viewers set up a Facebook group called ‘Gamu should have got through’, which over 25,000 people had joined within hours of Sunday night’s show.
Of course, the X Factor is no stranger to controversy — we’ve previously witnessed feuds between judges, the use of auto-tuning and Simon Cowell’s shock lifeline to the talentless Jedward during last year’s series, when poor Lucie Jones was sent home instead.
So, has the show lost its way as a singing competition?
Is Cowell more interested in tabloid column inches than real talent?
Cole seemed to suggest this was the case when she admitted Waissel would divide the nation. “They’ll either love her or hate her,” she told The Black Eyed Peas Will.I.Am.
She also called Waissel a “drama queen” — but still put her through and sent the talented Gamu home.
Waissel forgot her words at her first audition and begged an unconvinced Simon Cowell to give her a second chance. But she managed to make it through the Bootcamp stage with a decent performance of Etta James’s At Last.
On Sunday night, however, she seemed overcome with |emotion as she performed, and Cole looked on in horror as she messed up again.
Cole’s decision to also put through 16-year-old Cher Lloyd — her own personal favourite from the early stage auditions — has also proved contentious, with many fans saying the teen is too fragile.
It is understood Ofcom has received numerous complaints from viewers over Cole’s selection.